I struggle with balance.
No, not balancing poses, everyone struggles with those! I’m talking about life balance. I tend toward extremes. It’s kind of like my yoga practice: extreme range of motion in flexion / forward folds and extreme lack of motion in extension / back bends. All or nothing.
Two summers ago I was preparing to open the new location of my physical yoga studio Peace Monkey Yoga. I spent all day every day in a basement. Painting. Sanding. Painting some more. Planning. Teaching. All the while, above ground, the sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, but I wasn’t seeing it. I wasn’t hiking in the badlands. I wasn’t walking beside the lake. I wasn’t even sitting on my deck with a beer in my hand!
Last summer, I sold the studio and spent every possible moment outdoors. Laundry? Forgotten. Teaching? Barely. Responsibilities of any kind? What are those?
Neither is good. There needed to be a balance between the two. I know that sometimes life requires extra work and limited play, and sometimes it provides more time and space for playtime and less necessity for grindstone work and those times have to be taken advantage of or they will be lost. But even in those times, there needs to be some balance!
Hindsight says that even when I was forced to spend a large amount of time in a windowless basement, I should have carved out some time to put my face in the sun. I need the sun. I mean I really need the sun. I didn’t realize how much I needed it until I moved to a place where it goes away for extended periods of time! And looking out of a window doesn’t count. I wish it did, but it doesn’t. I need to feel the warmth on my face. I need to breathe deeply and fully in outside air.
What happens when I don’t make the time to play in the sun (even if I have to wrap myself up like the kid from A Christmas Story?)? I burn out. Hard.
I’m not a big fan of “shoulding” on myself. But I am a fan of learning from my mistakes. I made a mistake by allowing myself to get consumed by my studio project and not allowing myself permission to step away for short periods to recharge. Being outdoors is what does this for me.
It’s one thing to find the lesson, it’s another thing altogether to change your behavior.
Once again I find myself consumed by a project. A good one! A project with deadlines and paying customers who expect to get what they paid for! And I find myself in a rare “warm” sunny week during winter in North Dakota! I need to get out in the sunshine. I need to go to my basement studio and film. How do I balance these needs?
How do I schedule both things in a way that works? I haven’t figured it out just yet, but it’s supposed to be a sunny almost 40 degree F day in January, so I sincerely hope that at some point today you find me outside, walking the dogs or snow shoeing in the park, and I also hope that you find me inside, filming in the basement.
Wish me luck!