Finding balance. In my opinion, that is such a loaded phrase.
Think about it, break it apart. “Finding.” This means, by definition, that you have been searching for something, a place or state of being that you have not been able to locate. And when you arrive at your destination, it presents itself as a present tense verb, “finding.” It’s not about how you have “found” balance, it is about how you are “finding” balance, which means it is an ongoing, never ending process. And for me, I think that is about right, because just when you think you have found a place where you can stand on firm footing and breathe just a bit, the sands shift beneath you and you begin searching again.
“Balance.” What is that really? It’s not about finding peace, or finding grace, or finding perfection. It’s all about BALANCE. To me that means that almost every single day I am faced with a series of choices, some very easy to make, others quite hard. And I don’t have to be perfect every single time, I have to acknowledge that I won’t always make the “right” choice or find the graceful path. What I really have to do is make enough good choices that they will balance out the (unintentional) bad choices that I make, which are many. I don’t strive for perfection…I aspire to find balance.
My contribution for Balanced, Healthy, & Gluten Free, a month-long blog carnival created to celebrate a great new website called The Balanced Platter (see below for more info), is not a quick tip, recipe or even a push for you to make radical changes in a new direction.
You will find many recipes and tips on my blog (remember, I’m still on this journey too) and on the websites of my fellow bloggers. We have all been seeking our own balance for some time, and the resources we have now absolutely dwarf the resources we had when we all began. Every single idea and suggestion that you have read about in this blog series is invaluable. We all strive (and struggle) to incorporate healthy living into our daily lifestyles.
But some times we all fall short…we lose our balance. And it is at those moments that we must find it again.
I would like everyone to try a simple exercise. I want you to look around your immediate surroundings right now and try to identify the heaviest object you can see. It could be your sofa, or television, or slightly over-weight husband. Once you have done so, I would like you to approach that object, muster all of your strength, physically lift that item off of the ground (no dragging), and place it in a different spot at least ten feet away. Go ahead and try…I’ll wait.
Now after you have worked out the kink in your back and caught your breath again, I want you to consider why that task not only seemed impossible, but WAS impossible. Any ideas?
Of course it’s obvious. You were not prepared to tackle such a daunting feat as that. Your body was not ready, your strength was inadequate, and your will power was telling you before you started that this was impossible. You were off-balance from the beginning because you simply were not prepared. You tried to do too much, too soon.
For all of the wonderful recommendations that have been offered about finding balance and getting healthy in 2012, I will offer you this one suggestion, my contribution to this thread: GO SLOW.
There are so many ideas here and so many amazing results that have been achieved by following the recommendations shared. But (there is always a “but”), I can tell you that if you try to incorporate all of the ideas into your lifestyle simultaneously and with tremendous gusto (trust me here), you will most likely fail. It’s not your fault, no more so than you failed to lift and re-locate your five hundred pound television. It is simply not possible to do it all at once…you have to “find” the proper perspective to achieve the proper “balance.”
What do I mean by the “proper perspective?” I would ask everyone to identify one or two areas of their life that they know are out of balance and seek a solution among these ideas. For most of us (I think) there are probably dozens of things we could be doing better. But if you focus on everything, all at once, you will fail. Just ask my husband, I’ve been “failing with gusto” for years! Instead, find one or two things that seem easiest or cheapest…the low hanging fruit. Spend a couple of months focusing on truly changing those two things. I promise, after a few weeks you will feel better.
Then use that newfound energy and success to take on the next challenge, the next easiest and cheapest thing. After all, we are talking about using the entire year of 2012 to find balance, so why not use the whole year?
I am reminded of one of the iconic films of my 1980’s upbringing, The Karate Kid. As Daniel is marveling at the beauty of Mr. Miyagi’s Crane technique, he is intrigued. Mr. Miyagi tells him that if he does it right, there is no defense. When Daniel asks if he will teach him, Mr. Miyagi says,
“First learn stand, then learn fly.”
If you are feeling down and believe a change is necessary, then all I can say to you is this, “First learn stand.” Healthy living is not always easy, and in fact sometimes can be very, very hard. While we can all lament the fact that it shouldn’t be “this hard” to become healthy, it is. It is expensive and time consuming. It is intrusive and exclusionary at the same time. You will have to reevaluate many of your relationships, including those within your own family. And you will slowly be compelled to challenge almost every assumption you have made thus far.
Make your own small changes; be your own best example. Your family will eventually come around when they begin to see your increased energy and vigor. But remember, start SMALL! Baby Steps are okay as long as you are moving in the right direction. Find the easy changes and make those changes first. Then go from there and watch the amazing snowball effect!
And when you are feeling like it makes no sense whatsoever, just remember…
The Balanced Platter was created by my dear friend Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake and Amy of Simply Sugar & Gluten Free. Their mission is to be a one-stop shop for balanced, healthy, gluten-free living tips and ideas. You can keep in touch with Maggie and Amy by following @BalancedPlatter on Twitter or through their Facebook page.
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