Good-bye balance, it was nice knowing you, but you’re not helping me live the kind of life I want to live. If you’re here, reading The Messy Middle, I think you know the Siren singing the values of balance are not calling you to life, but death. At least death of your heart.
The last two weeks have been wildly unbalanced and instead of feeling bad about it and trying to “get back to normal life,” let me share why this is the new way I’m going to live. On Saturday I attended a workshop at Writers On the Rock conference and Allen Arnold said, “Live a wildly unbalanced life towards what matters and feeds your heart.” And one of those life pieces fell into place.
Balance, though the idea sounds wise, is foolishness.
If your life is anything like mine, it goes in waves. As a plugged in, engaged adult I have three responsibilities towards the waves.
1. Don’t pack so much into my life, the waves hit non-stop. And wildly unbalanced becomes consistently foolish.
2. Don’t live as if I can do everything.
3. Enjoy fun waves.
So, in the last two weeks I have gone to a member care conference in Minnesota, spent time with my friend Joann, spent a wonderful day with my sister Laura (and Sue and their sweet animals. Poe, I love your bent ear!).
I flew back to Denver and a week with friends from my Beijing life. Remember Mr. Only God is Awesome? Well he’s now four, his sister is two and speaks far more Chinese than English, and his parents are still dear friends. To have a week where my blood family and my China family got to know and love each other, is a rare gift for those of us who live overseas and I was not going to miss it.
And in the midst of it, Connection Groups launched for Velvet Ashes! So, so exciting and important.
Here’s what I got with my wildly unbalanced life: a new found appreciate of icicles. Because the sun usually comes out, icicles are short lived in Colorado so I have to admit, I haven’t really paid them much attention. Until now.
Nathan is taken with icicles. As in pointing out every single one. He plucked two off of some surface (who care where), commanding I eat one. I don’t slow down often enough to see the beauty of an icicle, let alone suck on one. If you haven’t eaten one in years with dining company of a 4-year-old, try one.
I mentioned the writer’s conference, what I didn’t mention is that I’ve been on the planning committee for months. To see something you’ve invested in, and written email after email and thought of details and contacted speakers and dreamed big … to see that come to life and be even better than you hoped or dreamed?! The word used over and over by attendees, “Magical.”
Niece #1 attended and after a poetry workshop hugged and hugged me. Giggling and bubbling, “Aunt Amy, I met my people! It was like being in an AA meeting for poets! I am a poet. Those are my people.” Hug, hug, hug.
Yesterday I wrote a post for Velvet Ashes called When the Crisis is In You. Here’s a snippet:
Here’s what I learned after walking with people – men, women, children, singles, married, families – through crisis. Overt crises are better supported than inner ones. We know what to do with a broken body or a death in the family or a visa problem. We might not like them and I do not mean to minimize the pain and heartache of any situation. A crisis is a crisis after all.
But what do we do with those internal crises?
Next week will be a different slice of life. But I am refusing to call it “normal.” What matters in my life is God, people, connection, health overseas, books, the Broncos, my family, my friends, Zumba, good stories, and math patterns. Oh, more than that, but you get the point. Instead of aiming for balance, my new standard is going to be: am I investing my time towards what matters? Is my soul being fed?
And in the spirit of being unbalanced, guess what next week is? The week building up to The Ultimate Pi Day! There will be daily posts flat out enjoying math, music, humor, and all things Pi.
Isn’t the phrase Wildly Unbalanced Toward What Matters life giving? Thank you Allen for such wisdom. Where have you been wildly unbalanced recently?