January 11

Today's quotation:

Are you balanced?  Do you share your time, your energy,
your life, as much with yourself as you do with those
around you?. . . . Know your limits.  You are one of the
most important people you need to look after and love.
Balance your time, your energy, your life with those
around you.  You'll be able to give more freely and joyfully
as a result, and you'll be more open to the gifts of
the universe.  It's not wrong to give to others.
But it's okay to say yes to ourselves, too.

Melody Beattie

Today's Meditation:

I once knew someone who really had no idea what balance was.  She spent so much time working and studying and running about here and there that she never had time for herself, never gave herself a chance to sit back and relax for more than a few minutes at a time--and those times were very rare.  As a result, she burned herself out--several times, as a matter of fact, in the few years that I knew her.  In her case, she kept herself going in order to keep her mind off of other things in her life (a relationship gone bad and an impending divorce), and she made herself suffer significantly because of it.

The balance that Melody is talking about is the balance that allows us to see ourselves of worthy of our own attention and love.  The woman I knew gave at work and gave at church and gave in other places, but I never saw her consider her own needs and then give herself what she needed.  Because of this, what she gave to others almost never was her best because it came from a person who wasn't giving with her whole heart--she couldn't give with her whole heart because she had so greatly diminished herself.

As a teacher, it's important that I give all that I can to my students--in my class preparations, in my presentation, in the grading of tests and papers, in dealing with individuals and their problems and successes with the subject of the class.  But have you ever had one of those teachers who seems to be run-down and disinterested?  The teacher who sees his or her job as drudgery?  I avoid reaching that point by resting myself, by treating myself well and making sure that when I do my work, I'm able to do it well because I've spent time recharging my spirit and my energy levels by resting and taking part in recreation that I really like.

Spirit and material.  Family relationships and others.  Work and rest.  Play and rest.  Our lives are full of elements that have their own extremes, but it's completely up to us to decide whether or not we're going to visit those extremes or find a healthy balance between them.  Finding the balance benefits us ourselves, but it also benefits all the people we touch in life because we're able to touch them more effectively when we're coming from a balanced position ourselves.

Questions to consider:

In which elements of your life do you go to extremes?  Why?

What types of things might motivate people to go to extremes in some areas and neglect the idea of balancing their lives?

How might we go about finding a balance
where there might be none now?

For further thought:

We in the West don't think much in terms of balance,
and obviously we should.  Even the very thought of an exquisite union and balance of all our forces, both physical and mental, has a gentle, hopeful ring
to it. . . . All of us must find a bridge between our physical and spiritual parts.  When that balance is achieved, what a happy comfort for ourselves!

Edward J. Lavin

  

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