May 15

To live in a harmonious
balance of commitments
and pleasures is
what I strive for.

Jane Rule


Today's Meditation:

I'm all for taking responsibility and making and keeping commitments; I think one of the most important things that we can do to make our lives more positive is to be someone that other people can trust and depend on.  But I also really enjoy the pleasures in life--the long walks on a nice day, the picnics by the lake, the peaceful morning spent at home doing nothing, watching good movies and reading good books.  I know far too many people who are so buried in commitments that they never really have any time to do anything fun with their friends, and they burn out so quickly when they live like that.

While I kind of wish that it would be possible to live an unbalanced life with the pleasure side outweighing the commitment side, I also know that that wouldn't be such a good thing--one of the things that makes the pleasures so enjoyable is the knowledge that we have lived up to our commitments in order to be able to spend time on a pleasure or two.

Commitments are extremely important.  A life without commitment is empty indeed, devoid of purpose or direction.  But far too often we see commitment as the main purpose of our life, or we fall into the trap of over-committing ourselves so that we lose out on many of the pleasures.  Too many people have come to the end of their days with tons of regrets for having spent too much time at the office and too little time with their families.  And those pleasures are the things that recharge our energy, that refresh us and re-invigorate us so that we can come back at our commitments with new energy and more staying power.

Life is about balance.  It always has been, and it always will be.  One of the most important balances that we can find is that between our commitments and our enjoyment, because either one without the other simply results in diminished returns and little satisfaction.

Questions to consider:

What kind of balance do you maintain between commitments and pleasures?

How does it feel when you start to run low on the pleasures and too high on the commitments?  How about the other way around?

How can you make sure that you're getting enough pleasure to balance out your focus on commitments?

For further thought:

Learning not to grapple with every little thing that comes along
is quite a struggle for many of us.  The eggs are too runny;
the coffee is not hot enough; the clothes donít fit exactly perfectly.
Some of us have so fashioned our lives around perfecting the details
of the small stuff that we never catch a glimpse of the bigger picture.
We so distract our lives with details and convincing ourselves that
everything matters that we live out of harmony and out of balance.

Anne Wilson Schaef

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