Picture this: You have been served your favorite coffee (or preferred hot beverage) in a cup and saucer and it is filled to the brim. The coffee house is jammed packed and your table is located in the farthest corner of the room. Your goal? To get to your table and enjoy your coffee without burning anyone (including small children and/or yourself) as you make your way through the crowd. Is there leeway? Yes. You have that little saucer in case there is mild spillage, but beyond that-it’s all on you (or worse, someone else). What would you do? (Note: leaving the coffee shop and abandoning the mission is not an option).
I’ll tell you what I think you would do: You would tread lightly. You would slow down. You would take all your energy and focus it into your every step, taking deep breaths as needed, moving slowly and cautiously, being cognizant of others in your path, stopping for a break when required, and resuming carefully. You would look at your end point and envision yourself sitting there, with good company, enjoying this perfectly crafted drink. This vision would twinkle in your mind's horizon as you inch forward slow and steady. You would shift your attention to your center, focusing fully on your balance. Time would stand still. Balance would become your new time clock.
Ironically, balance is something we don’t really call our attention to as we tornado our way through responsibilities and to-do lists on a day to day. We literally race months at a clip towards vacations and summer repose for a few moments of, “Ah, yes, this!” and then swiftly default back for the next race period. Hustle we do. Balance we do not.
True balance requires a channeling of both ‘being’ AND ‘doing’. It involves tuning in to all that is around you and viewing all in your periphery as a part of your mosaic; an interconnected chain. Balance is exactly what we are called to do right now.
So friends, here we are in this very coffee house of life--glaring in to our fully steaming, fully full cups and wondering how we will make it from A to B without injury. Our cups are filled to the capacity as we juggle school closings, remote learning, remote working, caring for loved ones, and our humble attempt to keep the waters calm for those ones who love and depend upon us. This is life. For now.
But, take a deep break and lean into your center knowing the following:
1. We will get across this crowded coffee house.
2. We will inevitably spill some of our coffee on the saucer and perhaps even mildly sting a finger or two. This is okay. This will serve as a gentle reminder that we are human and that what we are doing is hard.
3. We will need to abandon our expectation of “live" time. Live time is no longer at play. The only concept of time at play is YOUR time. We need to accomplish what we need to on a daily basis on our own time and this time is different for everyone.
4. We will need to make concessions. This is not about perfectionism. This is about grit. There is a difference.
5. And, lastly, we will need to choose to mercifully ignore select behaviors--of our children, our spouses, our loved ones, our colleagues--behaviors that aggravate or annoy us as we all deal with this temporary frustration to the best of our ability. I call this mindful and merciful overlooking-- knowing that everyone is doing their best to cope and allowing for things to naturally reorder instead of attending to the noise.
Yes, there is a gift in all of this should you dare to embrace it. It is the gift of mindful balance. And this balancing act is like nothing you have ever known because for the first time in your life-- time is not of the essence. You are of the essence. You relationships are of the essence. Compassion is of the essence. Safety is of the essence. Wellness is of the essence. Love is of essence. So don't be afraid to lean in, friends! Lean in to anything and everything that promotes your balance.