… have you been??? I know, I know, and I’m sorry. Some things have had to give, you know? I am thinking through a great many things the past couple of weeks.
On doing too much: In my small Mussar learning group, we discussed equanimity last week. Mussar’s definition is along the lines of having peace of mind, something I’ve long strived for and that my dad always says is important. Imagine the image of being atop a surfboard, but not being tossed this way and that. You can ride the waves calmly, moving with the water but not being thrown off balance. You have a sense of safety and wisdom that things will work out for you no matter what. Trust, faith, order… equanimity is interwoven with those. It’s like having the perspective to observe your life impartially as you live it.
So I started recording in little notes (admittedly, using my phone’s microphone function in Notes because I was driving… always rushing) exactly which moments I felt I was lacking in equanimity. Turns out that Notes function can hold A LOT! I will spare you the rambling, but what I learned, besides that I want much less of the panicky feeling of rushing from one thing to the next, always behind, is that I have equanimity and calmness when there is space in my schedule. However, I have set up my days to where that rarely happens.
One problem is being reactive rather than proactive. When I set a few tasks and appointments and go about getting them done, all is well. I have time for that phone call or sure, I can stop and chat for a few minutes. Most days, I am rushing from one place to another with much to do. “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date! Oh my, oh gee, I’m late you see. I’m late. I’m late. I’m late!” That is a terrible feeling to carry around all the time.
So. What to do about it?
That’s one angle. Looking at all my responsibilities and commitments and seeing what I can let slide for now.
Another angle (speaking of being proactive) is to think about what it is I want to fill my time with. I need to take some steps back (or up… for larger perspective) and look at my highest values and begin from there. Why exactly am I serving on this board? What is it I care about so much that I am doing these tasks or taking on this responsibility? Is it still valuable to me? What if I could wander off the road a little and add in some gloriously free art time? Ah, now we’re talking.
So that’s what I’m pondering. Well, sort of. Really I am rushing from one meeting to another and to the store and the school and the girl scout cookie cupboard and the library and the well, everything… trying to save the world. But eventually, I’m going to burn out and then what? Sounds to me like it’s self-care time, right? I must be doing ok if I can at least recognize that lack of balance. 🙂
How do you do it all? (I know, I know. You don’t. I still can’t admit that!) Do you think it is a function of time and perspective? With life comes the wisdom to know your limits? I’m curious.