Monthly Archives: August 2010

Making Peace With the Out-of-Balance Paradox

With the world spinning as fast as it does these days it’s easy to end up feeling a little like a kid stepping off a merry-go-round, dizzy, disoriented, and pulled off kilter.   As kids we loved that dizzy spun-out feeling, as responsible grown ups we don’t have time for such nonsense.  We want to be in control, have more focus, feel more calm and collected, and remain centered and grounded.  And we’d prefer it all wrapped up in a tidy bow call work/life balance.

Here at our house we’re in the midst of remodeling and reorganizing our life and our space.  So it’s not surprising to note that the crazy chaos connected with these projects has caused me to feel a little off kilter.

From experience I’ve learned this chaotic phase is often an essential part of the creative process. I’ve learned that holding on too tightly and trying to white knuckle my way through these periods is counter productive. I’ve learned getting there is easier when I point my feet downstream and let the creative current carry me where it will.  I’ve learned it’s useful to reframe my experience from frustrating, scary, and uncomfortable to exciting, fun, and exhilarating. I’ve learned to call it an adventure.

It may seem counter-intuitive and a bit of a paradox, but true-life balance contains both the messy and the tidy.  With this perspective I’ve found it easier to deal with the temporary discomfort of that all too familiar out-of-balance feeling.  Do I get caught up sometimes in the tornado? Sure, I still find myself in the struggle sometimes.  But I now know how to say, “Whoa! Stop!”  I can then gently remind myself to take a deep breath and point my feet back down stream.

Kitchen Sink Enlightenment

I used to hate doing dishes. It was such a dreaded chore.  To be honest there are still some days where I am less than enthusiastic about this chore.  But then that is the problem you see.  I’ve learned that when I THINK of dish doing as a chore it’s NOT fun.  And I’m definitely for having fun.

So I got a bit curious,  “Could I actually learn to not just tolerate doing the dishes, but could I learn to love this daily ritual?

“Awe YES!!!  I believe I might be on to something!”

What if I reframed doing the daily dishes from a chore to a ritual…a sacred practice?  I was intrigued by this idea, which seemed pregnant with possibilities.  I mean, where and when did I learn to think of this daily routine as just a chore to tick off my list?  I could choose to think about doing the dishes differently.  I could invite a new experience. I could choose to show up with a smile instead of a frown.

It’s amazing what you can discover and experience at your kitchen sink.  Here are a couple of things I’ve happily stumbled upon.

I’ve frequently found myself slipping into that magical meditative “zoned-in-place” where creative ideas and other Aha’s percolate up into my consciousness.  Who would have guessed I’d find inspiration in dirty dishwater?

I’ve surprisingly found slowing down enough to actually wash the dishes rather than just popping them quickly and mindlessly in the dishwasher to be an all to rare blessing in today’s fast paced stressful environment.  Taking the time to slow down and be fully present to this delicious sensual experience, to mindfully notice the simple pleasure in a sink full of yummy suds and the intimate warmth of the water caressing my hands has fed my soul.

I’ve learned even after having experienced many peak experiences at my sink it is too easy to become complacent and fall back into old habitual ways of thinking.  All habits are hard to break. Thinking habits seem especially stubborn.  I could choose to get down on myself for having slipped, but that is definitely not fun, so here’s what I’ve chosen to do instead.

I first need to become aware of my funky monkey thinkin’…I’ve also sometimes heard this called stinkin’ thinkin’.  Becoming aware can be tricky, but it does get easier with practice.

I then ask myself an empowering question. Are we having fun yet?  Asking the question in this way helps me to keep it feeling light and smile at myself.  It helps me avoid the street marked Getting Down On Myself .

Finally, I recommit to choosing what I really want (i.e. to have fun & experience joy) by choosing a more exciting thought.   What have you discovered at your kitchen sink lately?