Well, if you live in the Pacific Northwest, sometimes it does last all day, but I like to trick myself into believing that it won’t… why, for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it helps me keep a sunny perspective, even when the times aren’t that sunny.
I’ve been working on an article about how yoga impacts our energetic system, our emotions and in turn how it helps us balance. And the big realization I had while researching this piece, is how funny life is, in that we often need our own medicine the most. Which for me, like so many of us, is balance.
After all, who doesn’t have a million things on their to do lists, who isn’t inundated with Facebook and work and social obligations and how many of are juggling all that with the demands of relationships and kids.
We took the ferry across from Vancouver Island to Vancouver yesterday. It’s a 4 1/2 hour journey to the city, mostly because my husband has mastered every curve on the windy road to the ferry terminal. I hoped, oh how i hoped, that baby Ananda would be sleeping when we got to the ferry so I could relax, because, I was tired after having been up (like so many other moms who work) late to focus on writing that piece on yoga and balance. So there I was, depleted and a bit grumpy and hoping to sleep. I asked my husband if he would take our baby in the carrier, and he said yes, very sweetly, which meant that he would actually carry our baby in his arms until I insisted that he put him in the carrier as that is one of the sure ways to get him to nap.
And so we proceeded to the passenger deck of the ferry, to our favorite spot i.e. the bookstore, where in the pre-baby days, i would peruse the magazine stand for long enough to be raised eyebrows at by the staff person who I knew wanted to remind me that this wasn’t a library, it was a store . But there we were, with our baby running around, until I asked my husband to put him in the carrier (see above ) and wanting to pick up the new Dwell magazine, when someone said “hello Insiya.” I looked up and it was a yoga teacher, i knew sort of well… who does a lot of traveling and teaching as my husband and I do and specializes in teaching yoga teachers how to work with pregnant and post-natal women. She was just returning from a retreat on one of the gulf islands and we got to talking about life, babies, natural birth and a bunch of other things. My husband took the baby for a walk and all of a sudden, here i was with the opportunity to have a chat with this really interesting, wise woman. So i suggested we get a tea. And we sat down by the ferry window with our teas and continued our conversation. I was exhausted, yet I couldn’t resist having my intellect stimulated. How often do I get adult conversation these days? It’s a welcome respite.
I’m not sure how we got there, but one of the things that she said that really stayed with me was that in order to not be resentful of things in our life, we have to create really strong boundaries and be able to apply them skillfully. This was the result of some research on the subject of happiness and resentment. She gave me an example, say you were a mother and the teacher of your son’s grade school class asked you to bake 40 brownies for a class function. You agreed, because you wanted your son to be in the teacher’s good books, but in truth, you actually hate baking and didn’t really have the time for it. You would resent the action but do it anyway. Instead, you could have said, Oh, baking isn’t my thing, but how about i help with taking pictures at the event instead, or (insert your skill here…). It’s easy, but again so hard to do sometimes because we get caught up in the, “Oh, I should do this, because so and so would want me to do it and …” etc. etc.
As a mom, I understand my boundaries so much more. I am learning to say no and not feel guilty about it, I’m learning to push back because frankly, i have such a limited amount of time, I can no longer do everything.
And research has shown, that we do risk so much by trying to do everything and be everything. We risk our health. We risk finding that tenuous balance, because we are trying to balance way too much.
So, that’s my thought for today, say NO. Don’t be guilty, switch your perspective from the “I should because…” to “I really don’t want to do this, but I’d rather do this…” and find a graceful way to regain your center. i consider boundaries to be permeable. In my life, they are not rigid, my life is too unroutine for that, but hey once in a while, I like strong boundaries and maybe that time is now.
I’d love to know what strategies you have for maintaining your balance.