A Stranger to Moderation
“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” -Rumi
Finding balance is a quest on which I have been traveling for years, and I am realizing how there really is no end, but instead simply progress on this journey. I was not gifted with a personality that innately gravitates toward the middle ground. I have a natural tendency toward absolutes – (no coffee or too much coffee, I am the worst parent or I am the best parent, etc.) So, to manage like a normal person in the world, I have had to retrain my thinking.
When I examine my need for more or less of something, some extreme end of the spectrum, I see my desire to escape. I want to run from my feelings, from feelings of fear to simple discomfort in whatever situation I am in the present moment. I want to flee average happiness and raise the level to bliss, because that is the “right” way to truly live. I want to escape mediocrity, because otherwise how do I know if I’m succeeding, if I’m on the right track? How do I know if I’m OK? If I am not the best or the worst, what am I? Where do I belong?
More is always better, right?
If I have one piece of chocolate and it tastes good, then another will be even better. If I feel calm from an hour of yoga, then yoga all the time will make me super Zen. If ‘x’ makes me happy, then more of ‘x’ will make me happier. Often when we focus on a single element, our vision becomes myopic and we lose sight of the initial goal of balance, and we end up right back where we started, just at the other end of the spectrum.
So, how do we keep that balance amidst a world of seemingly extremes; all or nothing, right or wrong? When we stop running to or from something, we can stop right where we are and find what we need at the moment. It may be to feel the hurt, the joy, or the stillness in the quiet moment of mundane – even processing the double fudge brownie we just consumed. Whatever it is, it allows us to just be.
Getting to know ourselves.
It was not until I stopped listening to the external definitions of what was right from others, and started using my own definitions, that I have managed to create my internal scale of balance. And I have gotten to know myself a little better; what I like, what I don’t.
I know what is too much and what is not enough (food, activity, exercise, sleep, etc.). I have learned what I feel like when I am sad, happy, uncomfortable or scared. I can feel my feelings and even if they don’t feel warm and fuzzy. I know they are right because they are my own.
Someone else’s definition of health, happiness, success and excitement is not mine. And I have to constantly remind myself of this simple fact. My definitions may change, and they may not, but ultimately, I am the one who lives with me. I need to be aware of times when I am living by someone else’s rules of what right and wrong should be, and know I am OK just where I am, even if it’s somewhere in the middle.