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Fumbling for balance

February 7, 2010

Probably at least once a week, I remind my staff that we take a “wholistic approach” in our work. Some of them are fundraisers and others are educators (and some of us bridge the gap), and yet when we approach the people who support our organization, we invite them to give, to advocate, to see justice, to volunteer, to pray, and to consider how their lifestyles contribute to global hunger. We invite them through any or all doorways they are prepared to enter because the needs are complex, the reasons for hunger are complex, and people around the world are complex. Just one of those actions alone will not end hunger without some balance of the other actions. True transformation comes from wholistic commitment.

It’s ironic then, that I so often forget to take a wholistic approach in my own life. I focus solely on one area of my life or another, and then I wonder why I feel out of balance or I don’t accomplish what I feel I should be able to.

Sometimes I read a lot of books and feed my intellectual side. Sometimes I focus on exercise and/or rest and look after the physical side. Sometimes I spend time in a spiritual practice (prayer, yoga, meditation, etc.) and my spiritual side gets fed. Sometimes I seek out community and look after the part of me that needs connection and relationships. And sometimes? Well, let’s face it – sometimes I ignore everything and just indulge in all of the things that I know are unhealthy because I just can’t seem to get myself out of a rut.

At rare times, I make sure I seek balance in all of the areas of my life that need to be fed. I’m a slow learner. Or – more accurately – I forget easily and have to re-learn so many things.

Today I was totally out of whack – cranky, tired, over-stimulated, and downright miserable to be around. And forget about accomplishing anything meaningful – it just wasn’t happening. I could blame it on my hormones, but I knew there was something deeper going on. I was out of balance. I haven’t looked after myself well lately – not my physical side and not my spiritual side. I’ve let both exercise and spiritual practice slip from my day-to-day routines, I’ve been eating poorly and not making any real effort to connect with the God of my understanding. I haven’t really even worked on the relationships that help me find balance in my life.

Something’s got to change. I’m setting my alarm for a little earlier tomorrow. A little yoga, some time in prayer & meditation, and a healthy breakfast – maybe if I start my day off right, things will begin to shift.

If only we could figure these things out once and for all and we wouldn’t have to go back over the same territory time and time again. But day after day, we keep on fumbling and hoping that perhaps one day we’ll be a little bit closer to transformation.


As a side note, tonight my spiritual practice consisted of an hour or two in the studio, making another attempt at a self portrait. The first experience was so meaningful that I decided to try again. This time, I went from a photo because I wanted to attempt a picture with a smile on my face. Like I said to my friend Stephanie when she interviewed me last week, “art has become one of the most meaningful ways that I connect with God.” It doesn’t even matter if it’s bad art, because it’s in the doing, not in the result.

Updated to add: I did it! I made it out of bed for yoga, prayer, and a healthy breakfast! Taking it one day at a time and celebrating small steps. 🙂

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Dovelily permalink
    February 8, 2010 8:24 am

    Yep, I’m totally there, too. My whole life feels out of balance and out of control most of the time lately. Thanks for another great post! Your self-portrait looks terrific!

  2. February 8, 2010 10:53 am

    There is no such thing as bad art, Heather. Bad art is an oxymoron! Beautiful! xo, O

  3. February 8, 2010 11:21 am

    Ahh…It just hit me this morning that a lot of my “crank” has to do with a lack of magic and wonder and awe and, as a fellow tweeter puts it, “fairy dust.”

    Dancing is very much my path — in all the ways that it can be, including the largest part of my spiritual path. BUT it is easy to get off balance even when we have found this path. I realized this morning that with my Dance path, I have gotten way too focused on the mundane — learning steps, getting stronger, etc.

    Though I enjoy every minute of the mundane, it is dangerously close to turning these things into chores.

    So I am on a quest to add Fairy Dust back into it…

  4. February 8, 2010 11:22 am

    And Heather, of course, now you have me thinking about writing a post about this… 🙂

  5. February 8, 2010 1:45 pm

    Congratulations with getting up early and doing yoga. And I love this portrait.

  6. February 8, 2010 4:59 pm

    love it! i have been doing yoga every morning and evening for 15 days now and i am amazed at the difference it is making… i am floating through my days in a bubble of bliss.

    our main priority really has to be fueling ourselves. then there is so much more space for us to be effective out in the world.

  7. February 9, 2010 7:33 am

    I think drawing is an excellent spiritual practice. Anything that puts you in this moment. Wonderful drawing!

    After years and years of struggling with religion/spirituality (as in most of my life, since childhood) and making myself absolutely miserable in the process, on my 40th birthday I gave up the fight, leaving “god” and religion to themselves. Now I would have to say that the sum total of my “spirituality” is creativity and beauty — expressing/developing my own, appreciating others’, recognizing it in the natural world.

    Sometimes I miss the beauty of religion, but I am so much happier now and realize for me that those feelings of transcendence I experienced in religious settings came at great cost to me (doubts, fears, confusion, frustration), and the feelings of transcendence I experience in nature or reading a great novel or looking at a beautiful photograph or painting, or even making a postcard or a drawing or a piece of papier mache or embroidery, or making a tasty treat in the kitchen… those things don’t cost me a thing.

  8. February 10, 2010 5:55 am

    I think we all do the re-learning thing, and I think I’m impressed with all the things that you do to achieve balance.

  9. February 10, 2010 6:11 pm

    That’s the hardest thing for me too; trying to remember that it’s better to get little bits of everything done everyday than it is to put all my energy and focus on one thing each day.

    I have started to form a theory in progress (i.e. it’s still in my head and not yet on the page… except, now it is on a page…) and the theory is something along the lines like: We keep coming back to the same things because it is part of our journey, our growth, to go around again. For some reason our soul must benefit more from needing to learn through the pattern than it would from just figuring it out and moving on to some other aspect in life. OR, maybe that’s because THIS is the real lesson, this art of balance and holistic self-nurturing, and all the things we more easily learn are just the details…

    Thank for more meat for thought!


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