The past week and a half I have been struggling with a nasty sinus infection / cold that completely knocked me off kilter. Although I had previously been working on a schedule of writing projects that I was steadily completing, I felt so sick and depleted that I couldn’t even think straight, and therefore, my schedule was out the window. It certainly reminded me of the delicate balance of life and health and how quickly momentum can change. I started to think of all the little things in life that can change our course – for good or bad, up or down.
The Good / Ups
It just takes one….
- Compliment to boost your confidence
- Smile to brighten your day
- Yoga class to strengthen your body and mind
- Facebook “like” to feel validated and understood
- Paycheck to empower you
- Rainbow to make you appreciate nature
- Hug to make you feel loved
- Good hair day to feel pretty
- Meeting to change your career
- Purr or wag of a tail to feel appreciated
- Meditation to clear your mind
- Laugh to make you forget your troubles
- Nutritious meal to set yourself on a healthy path
- Email message to know someone cares
- Good book to change your perspective
- Friend to remind us we are all connected
The power of one reminds me of a conversation I had with my 8-year-old nephew many months ago. I briefly mentioned it before in Just Show Up, but it definitely deserves a more thorough explanation. I was volunteering as a “helper” at his field day and noticed that one of the girls in his class didn’t seem to be interacting with the other kids. It made me really sad, so I asked my nephew if she had any friends. Quite alarmed he replied quickly with, “Yes we are all her friends.” In relief I told him that I was just worried that she didn’t seem to be having a good time. He shot back with the sweetest question, which showed me his young heart understood the nature of my worry -“because everyone should have at least one friend, right?” I had to fight back tears as he ran off to play with all his friends (which was naturally the entire class). The innocence and purity of his question was a much-needed reminder that it really only takes one friend who understands and appreciates us to help us get by. In a time when self-worth seems to be measured more frequently in quantity over quality (i.e. Facebook friends or Twitter followers), it is still true that having just one person (or animal) in our lives concerned about our well-being can contribute to all the aforementioned “one things” that keep us on a positive path.
The Bad / Downs
The flipside of things is unfortunately also true. I don’t want to harp on the bad with a lengthy list, because it’s depressing to acknowledge that the opposite of any of the above can send us into a downward spiral if we let it. We all have experienced how one illness, criticism, negative news story, bad boss, or stormy day can dampen spirits and hinder productivity – again, if we let it (or them).
The Art of Balance
The key to avoiding the capacity for one thing to shift you off balance is to stack the good so that in the Jenga game of life, you are poised to stand tall. A better analogy comes from my Qigong teacher, Pat Bolger. In explaining the concept of balance, a basis for health in Chinese Medicine, she noted how if we sit on the ends of a seesaw our swings are much more severe – either too high or too low. Yet, if we stay at the center of the seesaw, there is very little movement or change at all. That is why we always hear how important it is to live a balanced life. If we are able to maintain a steady even pace, avoiding the swings of too much good or too much bad, we stay healthy. I should note here too, that Pat would remind me that there is no good or bad. Those notions only come in when we opt to judge our situation, another concept of Chinese Medicine that I obviously find difficult to fully grasp. Still, in the seesaw of life, the reality is that when we are up or down it generally only takes one thing to push us back into balance. What is your one thing?