Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Balancing Act

I just read an interesting article in the Huffington Post entitled "Six Ingredients for a Good Life".  The basic premise is that life is a balancing act.
"The true measure of greatness is our capacity to navigate between our opposites with agility and grace -- to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never to stop trying to get better."

I love the author's ideas and think that even though I'm chronically ill they still apply to me.  Here is my synopsis:
We need to find balance between three pairs of extremes.  While either end is a good thing too much can lead to problems and a balance between the two ends is the ideal position.

  • Constantly seek to learn and grow, but accept yourself exactly as you are.
    Learning and growing require a willingness to look honestly and unsparingly at our shortcomings. Start with your own greatest strength. When you overuse it, it's almost surely a window into your own greatest weakness.  By being aware of my inclination to overuse a strength -- by recognizing my own vulnerability -- I was [sic] able to make a different choice.

  • Add Value to Others and Take Care of Yourself
    Gratifying our most immediate needs and desires provides bursts of pleasure, but they're usually short-lived. We derive the most enduring sense of meaning and satisfaction in our lives when we serve something larger than ourselves. Giving to others generates an extraordinary source of energy.

  • Focus Intensely and Renew Regularly
    Unlike machines, however, human beings aren't meant to operate at the highest intensity for very long. Instead, we're designed to pulse between spending and renewing energy approximately every 90 minutes.
    It's not the hours you work that determine the value you generate, but rather the energy you bring to whatever hours you work. The more skillfully you renew, the more energy you'll have.

    1. The first one I learned as in my yoga class years ago.  It is a Buddhist idea.  You always strive for perfection but know that everything is perfect the way it is now.

      The second one we, as chronic chicks, have to be careful with.  We are often at the extreme end of giving to others.  We need to pull to the other end and take care of ourselves so that we can get better.  I have found writing this blog, writing Fast Foodie and reading/commenting on other blogs is my way of giving back to the community in a way that doesn't deplete my energy stores.
      "Selfishness is about making your own gratification paramount. Self-care is about making sure you're addressing your own most basic needs, so you're freed and fueled to also add value to others."

      I particularly like the last one.  I think I'm going to try an experiment where I set up a timer and go lie down and close my eyes every hour and a half no matter what I'm doing.  If the body naturally resonates on this schedule this could be a great help to recovery.  I know that prior to getting ill I was a pusher.  I would work for hours without a single break.  I would sit down at my workstation in the morning and then be surprised that it was time to eat lunch.  Where had the last four hours gone?  For me, pacing is the hard lesson of the chronic life.

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