My body is giving me hints. It's good at giving me hints. It's been giving me hints for nearly 44 years now. But I'm bad at listening.
My whole life my body has told me when something was wrong. Sometimes it tries to tell me for decades and I don't notice. If I'm lucky, it tries to tell me for a few hours or days and I notice.
It is my personal belief that our bodies tell us about our mental and physical health with small hints long before we get a full-blown disease. And I believe that most people don't listen until it's critical.
Well the past couple of weeks my body's been telling me something. My back has been having muscle spasms it's never had before. I translate this as "Hey! You're out of balance and you've neglected your body. You haven't been doing yoga. You said you were going to do yoga 3 days a week. you haven't been doing it at all. So I'm going to hurt until you get back on it." ("back" on it - my body isn't even all that subtle).
So why haven't I been doing yoga? And why am I not listening? And why am I feeling stressed out? And why is my husband feeling stressed out? (I include him here because it indicates that the household is out of balance - probably because I am).
These are all subtle hints. Little things build up and suddenly I put them all together and realize that something is out of balance. I've mentioned here before that I am not good at balance. As a matter of fact, I've come to the conclusion that balance is impossible for me. Rocking back and forth from one extreme to another is more my style. Maintaining a semblance of balance is, I think, impossible. Probably because once I find a place of balance, I feel like I can load more on ... causing a disruption.
I'm not sure what started this pattern. Perhaps it was influence from adults when I was a kid. Maybe it is the Protestant work ethic that we tend to believe in here in the Western world.
All I know is that I constantly add new things to my "routine" (which really doesn't exist). And that begs the question: "why?". Maybe it's a fear of what I see the future bringing and the need I feel to get prepared (on whatever level) for that. Or perhaps my over-developed sense of environmental guilt that adds a great number of tasks to my daily list. Or my concern with food adds tasks, too (see this blogger's post for a really good, funny description of what it's like to be overly concerned about food - I related to a LOT of it). Or maybe my anxiety over being bored just keeps me adding things to my lists until I break.
Whatever the answers to these questions, I constantly need to remind myself that balance is at least to be strived for. I need to balance work and rest ... something that I am really NOT very good at. I also need to keep the mental and physical health of my household in mind and try to maintain structure for that ... I think I'm a bit better at that. And this year I need to work a little more to help pay to take down the 90-foot-tall tree in the back yard (because every time we get a wind storm, my heart is in my throat thinking that dendric monster will come down on the house, or the neighbour's house, or the brand new fence we just built).
Summer is a strange time to find balance for me. There is a rather large garden to tend. There is a child to entertain (or feel guilty about NOT entertaining). There is food to be preserved and prepared. There is laundry to be hung and an incredible guilt that comes from using the drier if I'm just too busy (an excuse I don't let myself use - am I really too busy to help conserve energy and lighten the load on the planet?). There is a new season of work coming in that needs to get organized and on the go. And there is the inevitable pinch of money in September when activity and school fees put a crunch on the budget (just a week after going on vacation).
So why am I even writing all this down in my blog?? I'm a little sensitive now after I had that commentor tell me I was self-centered and on my high horse. So let me state this again. I write on my blog for mostly two reasons - either I'm coming to a realization about myself or my world that I think is interesting and I want to share it in case I can help someone else realize something about themselves, or I'm passing along information. In this case it is the former. I realize there is an unbalance in my life. Other people are likely unbalanced and if they aren't aware, maybe this will help them become aware. But it also helps me sort things out. When I put something into words, I understand it better ... and sometimes realize that I don't understand it very well.
Today it's a reminder that I need to focus on priorities. I hope you all have your priorities in perfect order, but I suspect not all of you do. And I suspect that most of us need to reflect regularly on what's important to each of us.
So ... if you have everything in order - huzzah! I'm so happy for you - and I mean that sincerely. To have it all in order would be so relaxing.
If you don't have everything in order ... well, I hope that SOMETHING I wrote here might help you get to work on it. After all, we're all just here living our lives and trying our best.