Finding Balance and Breath in the Breezes of Life

I’ve had a pretty busy March, and for the most part, busy is a really nice thing. When I think about my past two Marches I’m really quite ecstatic that I have had so much to do, AND so much energy to get it all done. Yet crazy, busy months like this one remind me there is a balance that must be attained in life. A balance between trying to shove as much as you can into each day and being able to let go and savor the moment.

This entire week has been one of constant appointments, obligations and just plain running crazy. Since chemo I try not to fill my life with too many things that I don’t really love; but to be honest, there are very few things that I find to be really offensive…except maybe wasting time in traffic. And being so busy that I can’t seem to enjoy the things I AM doing.

A sample of this past week: paying bills, cooking meals, doing laundry, running errands, taking child to physical, working the reception desk at church, mid-week prep for the church’s children’s program, work out program every day, helping son create astronaut costume, etc.

At one point in the week, I was trying to do so many things at one time, that my ability to actually DO any of them became seriously impaired. I was unable to make basic calculations to sew the costume (something I have been able to do for over 20 years!) Went to run an errand and forgot where I was going and had to turn around. Was unable to focus on the numbers on the screen while paying the bills and inadvertantly deleted the auto-pay for the mortgage, causing it to have a late fee (ouch!) And to top it all off, I inadvertantly deleted the blog post I created on Tuesday.

I am allowed to work on personal things when the church phones aren’t busy…which they weren’t on Tuesday. So I decided it would be a great time to work on my latest blog post. Efficient use of time, perfect multi-tasking…I’m breezing through my busy day, right? Wrong.

I spent a good portion of the four hours of reception duty working on the post. Had it perfectly laid out, just needed to put some final touches to it, all I needed to do was save it. Except I accidentally hit POST instead of SAVE DRAFT. And the afternoon receptionist was waiting to take over. Not a problem, I’ll just turn off my computer, and pull it up on my smartphone app and fix it, right? Wrong.

Instead of opening it, I inadvertantly hit DELETE (it’s much more difficult to multi-task while walking to your car than it is while sitting at a desk!) So my four hours of hard work disappeared in an instant. Whoosh…gone.

It is now Friday afternoon, a full three days after the fatal deletion, and it is the first time I’ve had to sit down and try to recover my thoughts. Which are fatally deleted from my mind, as well as the computer…the lingering effects of chemo brain or just middle-aged mommy brain, I’m not certain, but I know the thoughts are no longer retrievable.

And then Wednesday evening I found out that my book was going “public” today. What an incredibly exhilirating feeling, right? Wrong.

I was so overwhelmed with fear and excitement and anxiety and…and…and…that I ended up literally sick all day yesterday. Way too much excitement for one person, apparently!

So now, I sit here thinking about the gift of having your days filled with everyday activities and not collapsing in a heap of utter exhaustion at the end of the day…a blessing you never truly understand until you’ve gone through something like chemo where the everyday activities become fatigue-enhancing mountains you just can’t climb.

It’s important to slow down and ENJOY the everyday activities, not just blow through them as fast as you can. I believe that part of the reason the “good news” about my book affected me so negatively…the reason I could not longer do basic mental calculations or focus on numbers on a screen…was precisely because I was blowing through my March without time to catch my breath. My body was telling me to “slow down.”

March is supposedly a windy month: “March winds and April showers…” and I believe that you can approach the activities in your life alot like a windy day. Sometimes life is a gale-force wind…blowing hurricanes of activity your way. There’s so much going on that if you stop even for an instant it will blow your feet right out from under you.

But some days–the days I’m trying to create for myself and my family–are the days, I believe we are able to get the most out of, where there is a balance between the nice fresh breezes with a little bit of calm air in between. Nothing overwhelming, nothing irritating, just a nice spring day with gentle activity to freshen up your life.

When the hurricane winds of activity assault your life, it’s difficult to catch your breath, difficult to keep your balance. I believe sometimes we have to learn to let go and choose the BEST over ALL, in order to maintain balance in our lives. It’s important to breathe–just ask any yoga or Pilates instructor–a good deep breathing cleanses the entire body. And when we’re rushing frantically from activity to activity, to the point of being unable to keep everything straight, it’s time to slow down and take a deep breath. A cleansing breath. A breath to restore balance.

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