Do you ever feel that you are a bear at a circus trying to juggle multiple balls in the air?
If you have ever watched a bear do this, then you know it’s for a short time. As busy people, we are often throwing many balls into the air and then vigorously working to keep them all continuously in the air. We cannot do this day in and day out without falling to the floor with the balls crashing around us.
Really there is no way that anyone can juggle all of those balls indefinitely. This is life. Unfortunately, we feel that everyone around us is doing life better than we are. It appears that everyone has as many balls as us in the air and doing it with flair, beauty, and an undying smile on their face.
False! It may appear this way from our vantage point, but we cannot possibly see everything inside another person’s life. I guarantee you that nobody has it easy.
Live with ease
First thing – forget about trying to keep the balls in the air. You will need to put some down, take a break, and not become delusional that you can do it all. It is a mirage in the distance forever calling you to a falsehood of water.
Next, there is no way to balance all the things. If the balance is your focus you will rack yourself with guilt and countless energy will be spent on constantly moving things from one side of the scale to the next to seek an ever-elusive balance. Sure, you could put some items (or balls if we continue with the metaphor) down and have more to give to the few that you continue to keep in the air, but eventually, even a few things will seem defeating.
Lastly, are you spending time, energy, effort, and money on the things in life that match your values? Do you find yourself angry when you are doing something because you’ve been talked into it or were told to do it by someone you respect or is in a position to give you direction and you realize it doesn’t match your values? If so, being able to let go of these things will open up space for activities that do match your values. Sometimes we think we have to do something and talk ourselves into it, but if it is something that you realize bumps up against your comfort zone [or a boundary] then this needs to be voiced.
Now that you know that you can’t juggle indefinitely, balance is an illusion, and your values are worth honoring, what are some action steps to handle life’s busyness with grace, humility, and dare I say sanity?
Find your center
Provide yourself the love and care that you so easily pass out to others. I am sure that you have family and friends in your life that you go out of your way for or show up at a moment’s notice when they express a need. If you have children, this happens on a daily basis. However, how often do we show up for ourselves? I’m talking about deeply appreciating and caring for your soul, at the center of your being. Some people find this by going to church, gathering with others in religious ceremonies, or silently praying. While I believe that this could be an avenue of connecting deeply with yourself, I also believe that it could lead to a focus on others. We cannot focus on others until we’ve given genuine time and energy to focusing on ourselves.
I find daily meditation to be the path to centering myself. Whether I sit in silence with a candle and focus on my breath or the sensations in my body or listen to a guided meditation, I am able to put thinking on the shelf. Did you know that up to 90% or more of our thoughts are recycled every day? We often think the same things over and over again. Meditating gives you a break from your thinking. I believe thinking is when we are doing all that juggling and planning for balance. You have to get into the experience of being at your center, calm and unwavering, to truly get in touch with yourself. I do want to remind you though that this time of centering really is a personal experience and while it can certainly be done in the presence of others, it is a diligent focus on your state of being.
In becoming centered you will be able to find deep gratitude for who you are and when you are grateful, love runs through your veins. Come back to your self-love every day and you will find all the strength necessary to live your life with ease.
Christina Sticka-Jacobs is a mother of three, a school psychologist, and an enthusiast of wellbeing. She lives in Moorhead, practices yoga and mindfulness, and writes at www.theeaseofbeing.com.
Editor’s note: This story was written and originally published in the June/July 2019 magazine. Forum Communications Company is re-publishing these stories as On the Minds of Moms staff members develop a new online community.