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February 1, 2011

Life is a balancing act, and I’m always finding new scales. Because when I’m unjoyful, something inside me is tilted too much someplace.

Discovering, identifying what’s tilted tells me what’s been missing, and therefore what I need to do.

Take today, for instance. I leave the office in a cranky mood (cancelled sessions and someone who never sent me the check they owe me). It’s so easy for me to get lost there in Crankytown! But the universe conspired to wake me up out of it. On the cab ride back home I’m scrolling through my phone and come across the  two very old songs that I’d downloaded just yesterday. The first one, hey – how can I listen to Taj Mahal singing Cakewalk Into Town without cracking a smile? (Can you?) And then Ruby and the Romantics singing Our Day Will Come. (Yes it’s sappy; it’s also gorgeous). I hadn’t heard either song in like 30 years or more. Wo! Good music can sure arouse those old sleeping pleasure cells in the brain!

Then I get home and see this “Don’t Postpone Joy” button that I keep on my dresser.

It sometimes makes me smile; sometimes even makes me come to: Ah, that’s what I’m stuck in tonight! Because of some irritating people, I’m thinking that this isn’t it! Thinking that, when I have a day that goes smoothly, then I can feel good!

It’s a loss of perspective, and forgetting that, in reality, with my life and all I’ve been given, I’m sitting on top of the world!

So this is the scale that balances between being down in the day’s trenches, and peering up and gaining a little perspective. It would be as if you found yourself waiting in line for the bathroom and cursing under your breath at the person spending too much time in there….as you then remember that you’re standing in the aisle…on a jumbo jet…that’s taking you to Bali for a month’s vacation!

Another balancing act lately is I’ve been teetering between yearning for a new adventure or goal on the one hand, and feeling a need on the other hand to slow down and savor the life I’ve built and all I’ve got. It’s the tug between forging a new direction, and pausing for some reflection. Enjoying the view before resuming the climb.

I need both sides: to do, and to have. To work, and to rest. To accomplish, and to celebrate. After the harvest, the festival. Too much of either is no good for me.

Here’s another one I’m discovering: Weighing in on the Silly Scale! “Seriousness,” one old friend who sometimes comments on these posts assures me, “is a disease.” What helps is a quote I keep on my door by Oscar Wilde :

                      Life is too important to be taken seriously!

(…and was Oscar Wilde his given name?)

So laughing at myself helps. When I do, I wake and wonder, “How long have I been gone?”

In my men’s tribe, we have a saying, “We’re just a bunch of jerks!’ Which is simply meant to encourage us to lighten up! Take yourself off the hook, because God is having far too good a time being entertained by you to be judging you.

Here are a few other examples:

Balancing between being in my head (“Always a dangerous neighborhood! Don’t go there alone!” I once heard someone say) – and being in my breathing body. Or, as Fritz Perls said, “Lose your mind and come to your senses!”

Another one I’ve come to notice – my need to balance daily life in this town of subways and sirens — with silence. They tell me as I grow older my hearing may diminish. This won’t be all bad.

One last thought: This past week on the news we’ve heard of a nation of people half a world away rising up after being ground down for too long. Humanity — the world itself — is also seeking balance. It’s the nature of things. Sooner or later, things even out.

Today’s Joygasm: Find the balance between the way things are, and… that other place.

As Trudy The Bag Lady (in The Search For Intelligent Life In The Universe) said, “I can take [reality] in small doses, but as a lifestyle I found it too confining.”

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Stealth bY Bomber permalink
    February 1, 2011 1:50 pm

    It sounds to me like you need a mindless vacation, or respite.Why don’t you try a week in, say, Disneyworld.Nothing serious, just lots of fun.

  2. ernst Mohamed permalink
    February 1, 2011 2:13 pm

    Thank you this was what I needed this morning ,to remember that it is all fleeting and I must not get hung up on the up or the down but to take it in as it comes along use what I need and let the rest go.Thank you Charlie.

  3. Niseema permalink
    February 1, 2011 2:54 pm

    Love this one Charlie, such a good lesson, I’ve been balancing what I’m feeling physically, which is exhausted on some level and my thought’s and resistance to all I ‘should’ be doing to create my success, it’s been quite a negotiation….listening to what’s happening now and letting go of the should’s, the internal pressure. This is a depressing place to be in the middle of a heavy thank you for reminding me to relax, stop negotiating and trust that this is what is happening….I finally have some space to be lazy so maybe I’ll just enjoy the harvest in the midddle of winter….
    see you soon!

  4. Jeff Kelton permalink
    February 1, 2011 7:05 pm

    Here’s another one: “We are all Bozos on this bus” Fire Sign Theater

    • February 4, 2011 4:09 pm

      All I know is that anyone who remembers Fire Sign Theater is someone I can call a friend!

  5. February 2, 2011 2:45 am

    But what if you’re not on an airliner to Bali but just spending your life waiting on line doing absolutely nothing of interest? Then maybe the blues is a signal that you’re out of balance and need to get off the line. But what if you can’t get off the line? Agreed, though, that how you frame your experience can make all the difference. Most of the things that get us down get us down only because we take them too seriously. All you need is some distance, even if it’s just an imagined invisible shield. It really doesn’t matter. On the line or off, you’re still you.

    • February 4, 2011 4:13 pm

      I’ve found lately the best way to get some distance is to simply remember I’m currently in the thick of things, lost amonst the trees, and to literally “take a breather”. Even 20 seconds can be enough to see the forest.

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