Balance.... Gonna Fake It 'Til I Make It!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

B A letter L A City Carpet Letter N C letter E

A dear friend asked me the following question via email... And a lot of the reply I wrote her really goes along with the posts I've been posting here as I work on getting back to my "happy place". So I thought I'd share. Consider it another "freewrite" or journaling exercise... :)

"Do you ever feel like, in order to do all of the crap you are supposed to do to keep yourself healthy, you have to sacrifice things (like family time) that you really can't stand to sacrifice?"

LORDY this is such a timely question. Truly. Last Wednesday I had an evening of self-pity/frustration with others/exhaustion from being stressed, and at the end, even after a long, fruitful talk with my sister Beckie, I was just..... OVER it. The key problem I kept circling back around to, all week? (including my whiny blog post)-- balance. How to manage to do the fundamentals (eating right, sleeping enough, exercise, prayer, scriptures, temple, date night, FHE) and still juggle this insane life... And I've been feeling like I'm beating against a wall as I try to find the answer... And I've been feeling really sorry for myself when I can't get it right.

So after my night of wallowing, despairing, frustrating, tiptoeing up to the answer I needed, but then stepping back to complain some more, I finally stopped crying and headed to bed and pulled that massive Oprah book Genny sent me onto my lap. I know, Oprah. Cheezy, but DANG her magazine has some amazing stuff in it, and the book compiles the best in one book... So I opened it and just happened to open in on the happiness section. Read all three articles... and it was exactly what I needed to hear. Martha Beck, in particular, wrote an amazing article:
"Yes, It Was Awful--Now Please Shut Up" ... and it was perfect. The answer I've been tiptoeing around is that there IS no ideal. I have GOT to stop wishing for a "normal" that simply isn't going to happen, ever. THIS is my life. Today. Stress, imbalance, and all. So I need to MAKE joyful things happen, even in the middle of the storm. Which sucks. But it is what it is. So if I am going to sew a project, I cannot wait for a free week. I just.... need to push the world away for two hours and sew it. And be careful not to do that too often and upset the precarious balance of things. Just.... trust that if I allow myself the time to pray... to go for a brisk walk, to make a crafty or gift, that the universe will absorb the shock and all will be well in spite of my taking time away from the frenzy to do so.

The other half of the epiphany is from the article-- that to a point, indulging in complaining and self-pity has been very comforting... and I've had a free pass to do it in spades since miscarrying. But. Eventually, all that self-wallowing stops being comforting and simply starts bringing me around to the gross feelings I had already been having. Keeping me down. And basically, it is time to SNAP OUT OF IT. Get over it. And re-train myself to skew my view to the positive. I used to be SO good at it... at being grateful, at seeing the miraculous in the ordinary... And I have lost that ability more and more as I feel sorry for myself. And so it's time to stretch the gratitude muscle again and see where it gets me.

So those two things: Making myself do the "extras" (which are really the essentials) in spite of my hectic life, and "shutting up" about the crap for a while.

And I practiced yesterday... and ya know what? It was a great day. So I'm going to try it again today.

Which isn't to say I went and worked out. But for the first time in weeks, I DID consider it. LOL!

So, not to keep going on and on about MY journey... But I guess what I'm getting at by sharing it is that the dilemma-- the "how do I manage to do the good stuff without losing other stuff??" is a poignant, immediate issue in my life and, I suspect, in many others' lives as well. I REALLLLY understand how it feels to have complete bafflement as to how to resolve that dilemma. The bottom line, for me, is that I'm NOT going to be able to resolve it. I am just going to have to force it a bit. Which stinks. But... It'll do, for now.


And a report, a week after writing this? I am happy to say, my efforts to be POSITIVE and stop whining have been largely successful. I am feeling SO MUCH BETTER. Tomorrow is Sunday... my day of rest from work and the world, and I am so ready to go to church and sing and learn... So happy I get a day with my little family... And ready to take on the new week, with new plans in place and a refreshed attitude. I am feeling good, folks!

Coming up, a photo-report of the surprise camping trip I gave Joe for his birthday... A few fun sessions to share... maybe even a crafty pic or two. Good times ahead! Life is good!


  1. I love the update here! I think we all could benefit from such a thing...let yourself realize the struggles you're facing at the moment, and give vows to resolve them, then--most importantly--check back in later to see how far you've come.

  2. Thank you for sharing, for your stark honesty. I think most of us, whether we are willing to admit it nor not, feel the same way. I think perhaps finding balance really just means we learn how to deal with all the imbalance that is so prevalent in our lives... What helps me is to remember that 1) it is okay to fail sometimes. 2)the Lord gives us strength to succeed, even if the success comes in unexpected places or in unexpected ways. 3) whether I succeed or fail, I have an amazing network of family and friends that keep me going in the right direction.

    If I may share briefly a passage that I recently shared with a friend who has been battling all kinds of stressful issues: "And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind....And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters..."

    Whatever the source of our struggles (and sometimes they do come from the Lord), He is always blowing us towards the promised land. We can have His light with us continually, guiding us even when we feel overwhelmed by the darkness of the world around us.

    I love you.

  3. I love your blog! Real as always.

  4. Emily- I do love reading your thoughts through your blog. You have a gift for expression and writing (does this surprise me from a woman who taught English?!).

    You are handling this all so well. Do be patient with yourself too as you so vigilantly push on and up. Remember that your body does have to cycle through a lot of hormones after a miscarriage. That is a real thing and may leave the normally perky Emily a little down. But I love that you are always so proactive!

  5. Thank you for sharing this :) So true, and good for people to hear!

  6. thanks! that was refreshing just reading about being positive! now i'll give it a whirl:) glad you're working through things and feeling better.

  7. Good comments on your part and on Elise's. And, I feel sorry for people who don't use Sundays as a day of rest from work and the world. Ditto for Monday night Family Home Evening!

  8. Your talk about balance reminded me of a great book my husband and I listened to on a long road trip once. It's called Life Matters and the authors say that talking about balance as if we are dividing our life like a pie is a mistaken way to look at things. Instead, it's like navigating the rapids, life keeps coming at you and you keep responding as best you can in each moment.
    I miscarried twice--both times at about 13 weeks and along with the grief, felt that it must be some kind of judgement that I couldn't handle being a mother to those babies. I know now that that was ridiculous and if I could go back to the me then, I would be very very gentle with her because the whole thing truly sucks.
    Thanks for the blog.

  9. Love this post...sent it to several friends. I like the reminder that our lives right now are what they are--no need to wait for them to get "less busy" (HA! Like that will ever happen!) or more centered. We have to deal with what we've got now and make the most of it. What a wonderful reminder!


CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan