It’s all about balance – Jennifer Doyle

Lately I’ve been thinking about balance. This isn’t unusual. I often think about balance. I think about balance in relationships, studies, teaching, and environment. I think about it in relation to art, to musical composition, to food (both aesthetically and nutritionally). I would say I consider balance on a regular basis.

As the attentive reader has no doubt noticed, I’ve been thinking, I often think, I think about, and I consider. I have yet to use a word denoting the kind of action required to achieve a state of being in balance and for good reason – balance is something I strive for in theory. In practice it is less clear what I accomplish.

I’m writing about this because I suspect I’m not alone. I have a plethora of versions of myself that come into play depending on the crowd, activities I love to participate in when I give myself time, research I’m excited about, places I want to go, people I want to see and care I want to give. I’m engaged in using the word “busy” as a catch-all for everything I negate under the pretences of other things being more important. Ultimately what I’m saying is that every time I eschew balance other things are more important than well-being (for self, family, friends, co-workers, planet, etc). Something to ponder for a moment…

Now, that that is confessed, I’d like to move on, in fact, I’d like to act on this commitment to balance. Bear with me on this brief tangent (I love tangents). I was listening to a CBC interview the other day. Those who know me know that I’m a devoted listener to CBC radio 1. Its a rare day that I miss Q, or Matt Galloway’s morning show, and it would be unusual to go through the week without catching Quirks and Quarks, Spark, In the Age of Persuasion, Ed Lawrence’s Gardening show, Conrad Edgebeck’s wine advice and The House. I can say with certainty that the CBC offers me great opportunities to learn about new and interesting things. Now, the idea I’m interested in discussing here was about actions, ideas and emotions (tangent closed).

While listening to the CBC I heard an interview about how our emotions follow our actions. I’ve been working under an ill-conceived concept for a long time. I thought that when I felt a certain way then I could accomplish particular tasks. Little did I know that in fact, my emotions follow my actions. This may sound simple enough, but dear readers, believe me when I say, I sighed a deep sigh of relief and joy. I felt in that moment the answer to a nagging question that has been a perennial  problem for me. How do I begin to get ahead on things, so I can stop feeling so behind and start living a balanced, present-tense existence (or something proximate)? Well, I can attest to one thing: I have been getting up in the morning, imagining the things I want to accomplish in a day and the spaces I’d like to eke out for whatever I want to put in. I have been feeling better. I have been catching up, finding a little free time and I can see some semblance of balance on the horizon.

On this beautiful fall morning, I’d like to say: Thank you CBC for giving me this free education. I am painting again, I’m researching better, I’ve got better ideas, my work is still dominating my life but I’m striking something towards balance. To balance…


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