Every morning, ok, most mornings, I begin my day with a structured morning routine that includes writing, oracle cards, a mediation, gratitude, and COFFEE. Currently my morning routine includes reading a chapter out of a book called Writing Down the Bones, a gift from a very special friend who knows just what I need and love. This book has very brief chapters about writing: ways to write, topics to ponder, reasons to write, and even some prompts. Today, the prompt was, “I am friends with…” and list inanimate objects. I did this but couldn’t resist going beyond writing a simple list. I wrote more. I always write more, as many of you know. I have a gift for making a short story long. Some consider it a gift and many wish that I would “get on with it already!” So I shall…get on with it…but it won’t be short.
Before I begin my list and the discussion surrounding each, think about your list. Maybe even jot it down. This exercise intrigues me because so often we are warned not to value things (inanimate objects) over people and relationships and values. But this exercise allowed me to see the relationship between me and the objects that surround me. And then I was able to see these objects as synchronous and to be able to observe and to acknowledge how they facilitate and support my values and my relationships (with animate objects). And that speaks to my never ending intrigue with and quest for Balance.
I selected the word Balance as my word of the year during a mindfulness activity in which I participated on a girls’ weekend. We pressed the letters of our selected words into brass circles that would don our wrists as constant reminders throughout the year. That’s right. A bunch of ladies, sitting around a table in Annapolis, taking steps to Become better people to ourselves and to those around us. I would love to allow you to believe that that is how I spend my time on girls’ weekends. But I can’t do that. We were hungover that morning of mindfulness. We had begun drinking the day before at noon. We think and hope it wasn’t before noon but it may have been, who knows for sure. And we had the old dance along and sing along classics, such as, Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me,” “Take Me Home, Country Road,” and “Da Butt,” blaring by 3 pm. I am a friend to music and dancing and shenanigans. Dips and chips and bowls littered with all types of late night snacks littered the table on the following morning that we had planned for our mindfulness activity. We cleared and cleaned up the physical mess before we examined our own personal emotional messes and strengths and goals.. Then we acknowledged and addressed those too. I am a friend to personal growth. See, Balance at its finest.
Anyway, one dear friend looked at my word and commented, “Balance? Pick a different one. You can’t pick one that you have already mastered. You have great balance between work and family. Between friends and family. Between alone time and people time. Don’t take the easy way out.” Initially, I agreed with her. But then I didn’t. I still have that bracelet on because, yes, I do have great Balance within the areas identified by my friend. But those are external and seen by many. The areas of balance where I struggle are deeper and more hidden. So although this was my word of the year a few years ago, I still wear that bracelet. My relationship with Balance requires a constant awareness and a deeper reckoning.
With money, sometimes I hoard it and sometimes I am reckless with it. When I have a Balance (in my bank account as well as in my spending), I am in a better place with myself and my budget. A glance at my wrist helps me remember this. I am a friend to my budget.
With people, sometimes I seek out company to avoid alone time because loneliness lingers and instills fear. I seek out company to avoid fear. I need a Balance to boost my self confidence in being independent and autonomous. When I avoid alone time, all of that gets out of whack. A glance at my wrist helps me remember this. I am a working on Becoming a friend to loneliness.
With food, when I am Balanced, I consume only processed carbs after 3 o’clock. An average and successfully Balanced food day consists of an apple and hard boiled egg for breakfast, celery and carrots with hummus for a snack, salad with left over grilled chicken and homemade balsamic dressing for lunch….with dinner I go a bit more rogue…a protein, a carb of any type, and a veggie. When I steer away from that stringent Balance of all things good for me, I suffer. I don’t feel strong but instead feel tired and struggle with my blood sugar spiking high and low. But creating that type of Balance takes time to plan and prep. Sometimes I slip because I just don’t feel like putting forth the effort, then I suffer. A glance at my wrist helps me remember this. I am a friend to food and health.
And there are many other times when a glance at my wrist reminds me or challenges me to wonder how I may be out of Balance. The inanimate object on my wrist enhances my relationship with Balance, which in turn enhance my relationship with my animate self and others. Synergy between two inanimate objects and lots of animate ones..how beautiful and harmonious.
Recently, I completed a similar mindful activity and conjured up the word Becoming. I employed the inanimate, but tangible, object of the notebook that was gifted to me by the leaders of the Wholistic Woman Retreat to extrapolate, contemplate, and symbolize the intangible and also inanimate concept of Becoming. Guess how I employ it? Yes, of course, I write about Becoming. We were encouraged to examine how this word can serve our hearts, bodies, minds, and spirits. In it, I wrote about what I want to Become:
The denotations of Becoming are “happen to be…,” ‘grow to be…” “begin to be…,” “passing into a state of…,” “process of coming to be…,” I like them all. I want to Become more accepting and open (within my heart). I want to Become more comfortable (with my body). I want to Become more concerned with ideas (within my mind). I want to Become more helpful to others (within the realm of exhilarating my spirit).
My notebook helps me plan and track how I am Becoming in regards to all of those things. I am a friend to Balance and Becoming.
I am a friend to my oracle cards that guide me in prayer and positiveness to live each day to the fullest and to ignite change and inspiration to Become better Balanced. I am a friend to my yoga mat, gifted to me by my sister, who comes to mind each and every time I get it out, that cushions and protects me while crunching my abs or practicing yoga or simply sitting in my car for travel, regardless of whether I use it or not. I am a friend to my car, gifted to me from my deceased dad, who comes to mind each and every time I get in it, that transports me and my kids to work, to friends, to nature, to errands, to funerals, to weddings, to births, to celebrations, and to more. The car opens wide our world to the possibilities and experiences that instruct and encourage us to grow and love and appreciate. I am a friend to my plants, indoor and out, that give me a weekly task of watering and nurturing, that supplement my home with beauty and color and life giving oxygen. I am a friend to my bed that offers me a cozy place to rest my head, read my book, and close my eyes to escape to a world of dreams where anything is possible. Especially when I awake the next day to a cup of Joe, sweetened with Saigon cinnamon and frothy milk, that energizes me to reflect and motivate. I am a friend to the Muse of writing, who so generously visits me from time to time to nudge me to share my musings with you.
Do not for a second think that I have forgotten about books. Some of my very best friends are books and an upcoming post will cover those friendships…
What are your friends?