I’m thinking plates. Electrical outlets. Suitcases. You know: anything we have the tendency to overload. Keep putting more on/in and before you know it: boom! A seam splits. The current is cut. The airline charges you an extra $100 overweight fee.
A few months ago I was meeting a nun for a spiritual direction session that was to be followed by body work. I told her all about the painting I started. The book I began writing. The blog to which I tried to post each week. Not to mention, in those very moments, I was preparing to attend the first of six spiritual direction training intensives followed by three months of beginning to work dreams in a clergy dream group. I was like a kid in a candy shop who finally found her professional life manageable enough that personal pursuits were once again possible. I had taken up yoga. I got back to working out each day. I even started juicing fruits and vegetables for breakfast every morning. The sister and I had a wonderful conversation about all the amazing ways life was opening up before me. Then, I got on the massage table to have my energy read as the first part of a healing touch exercise. After our conversation, she was more than a bit puzzled that my creative energy was closed.
I wasn’t. It was a gentle wake up call. A reminder to re-prioritize. You see, I finally am in professional work that allows enough energy and time to put towards personal, creative endeavors. And little by little, it all had become a chore. Not something to look forward to each week when my regular day of Sabbath rest rolled around; but tasks on a list that I have to accomplish by certain, set deadlines. I was starting to dread Sabbath instead of welcoming it as the blessed gift of renewal it is meant to be.
We might be able to pull a fast-one on a nun who really doesn’t know us well, but the instrument in which we live our daily lives – our bodies, minds, and spirits – cannot be fooled. My personal life, with all the possible creative pursuits, has become overloaded.
I admit: I’ve felt guilty about it. There are so many wonderful things I want to do these days. So much I want to undertake in hopes of putting something beautiful and inspiring and helpful out into the world. And then I remember all the over-stuffed suit cases with which I’ve tried to travel the world. The mounded plates from buffet tables I’ve done my best to consume. Balance remains my life-long struggle.
I’ve put down the paint brush, at least for now. I think words are more my gift than acrylics. The dream work commitment soon will come to an end and I am re-thinking how I might use that time instead. Perhaps for more journaling and blogging or getting on with chapter ten of the book. Finally I’ve decided that if I have to do as much reading as I must for spiritual direction training, I will NOT choose to read the 500 page Jungian analysis book just because I already own it. I ordered Thomas Merton instead today. And Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Keating. Only one of the three is required, but how can one resist the beautiful insights of such iconic, spiritual gurus?!
The balancing act continues.
How about you: how are you doing on NOT overloading?
Keep in mind the wisdom from one of my favorite refrigerator magnets: Only a field that lies fallow will produce great fruit!
In other words, pick one or two favorites and remember to rest really well too!