Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.
Balance. The mourning doves demonstrate it's importance. And they make it look so effortless.
I've been consciously welcoming balance into my life for over seven years. It started when I joined Weight Watchers in 2001 and lost over 40 pounds in a year. Losing weight is one type of effort; maintaining weight loss is a whole different game. One I haven't really been playing for a while. It's funny, but I don't think I was living in balance while I was losing that weight. This isn't the way it has to be on WW, but now I laugh at all the weird "food" substitutions I came to know through the WW meetings. Like by using Cool Whip Free instead of Cool Whip Lite, I could save 1 point. . . blah, blah, blah. And why was Cool Whip and all the chemicals that create it all of a sudden an integral part of my diet anyway? Perhaps because I didn't want to use 3-4 points on a spoonful or two of real ice cream, even though that's what I really wanted, and what would have likely brought balance into my pleasure of eating. Too bad Cool Whip really isn't food in the nutritional sense, yet I can so remember all the time I spent contemplating sticking to an talking about my 24 daily points. I believe in the ideas WW is created from, but some of the tactics I used to lose the weight were really ridiculous. It's really about moderation and balance.
Last year I started a more conscious journey of inviting balance in my relationships. I let a long-time friendship shift to "inactive" in my life. It was both a wonderful and difficult choice for me. Sometimes people no longer provide the meaning they once did - and worse, sometimes they suck the life right out of you. Stepping away from that friend, and into the lives of people brand new to me took a lot of courage. I think it's difficult to meet new friends as an adult, especially in Minnesota. I tell people not from here all the time that I whole-heartedly believe it's true that Minnesotans typically stick to the tribes they grew up with - friends from grade and high school and college - and find it hard to truly include new friends in their tribes.
But taking that scary step was so worth it. I welcomed more people into my life that have lives that look a bit more like mine does at this point - something I felt was really out of balance for me. Finding that balance has helped me be a better friend, daughter, and sibling overall.
What I've learned from both of these journeys is that balance is so individual. Just as my yoga instructor says every week, our ability to phyically balance our bodies changes each day and it's like a fingerprint - different for everyone. It's up to me to define and honor what balance is for me. Then live it. And enjoy how it ripples goodness from me out into the world.