November 14, 2010
Years ago, the television show Saturday Night Live, included a skit where Billy Crystal and Christopher Guest played blue collar workers discussing their masochistic habits. Describing painful physical events, absurdly orchestrated, the opposing character grimaced and replied, "Ooh, I hate when that happens." The audience laughed not only because of Crystal's comedic timing or splendidly delivered line, rather they recognized the irony of self-destructive behavior. When we realize the chainsaws we juggle of our own volition grind away at the solid trunk of our foundation, we see our well being felled at the very hand wielding the instrument of our self-destruction.
Lovingly, life presents us with three major aspects which comprise our existence. We opt to savor them one at a time, or we grab each precious experience by the handful, wondering how to make sense of the bounty and diversity of gifts. One by one, we examine fully each component – our work, our play and our relationships. With the luxury of time and patience, we fully appreciate the role of each aspect in our life, and set two aside to examine the third. But what happens when we neglect two to actualize the one portion of our life? Sitting on the sideline, waiting for engagement, the two orbs of life pretend to operate on their own, while we gaze into the crystal ball in our hand. When we can’t assimilate all portions of our life, in equal balance and tenacity, the neglected suffers.
Handling life en masse, portends the possibility of either synchronous success or bouncing and out-of-control failures. When we hold in our hands work, play and relationships, we shift, one at a time while keeping an eye on the other two, all the while precariously preoccupied with the very real probability of losing it all. Therefore, every aspect suffers because we’re not living any of them fully.
Focus in the Moment
The loudest chainsaw in our life gets the most attention, just as the squeaky wheel. When we find ourselves crying out loudly for healing of one aspect over another, we recognize the imbalance and seek to correct it. We grab the mechanical expression of our empty hand and upon closer inspection realize it’s only a physical manifestation of an internal issue. We inherently create tangible representations of that which requires focus to better symbolize what inside of us needs attention and work.
As in juggling, coordinating the areas of life requires skill, timing and a keen knack for unison movement. Struggling to keep all parts of ourselves alive continuously requires tireless effort and eventually leads to fatigue. Focusing on one portion over another produces the failure of the whole. Knowing the role of your hands and eyes takes skill only repetition and practice bring. The futile practice of rotating three or more items for no one real gain requires incredible dexterity yet nothing gets accomplished except the honing of your skills to live in the moment.
Juggling itself produces no results. Look at your life. In what ways is your life enriched by your constant attention to balancing the flow? Your energy and spirit grow more in tune with the process than with the work, play and relationships themselves. Foregoing two or more for one produces failure. Fatigue in the entire ritual produces breakdown. I guess failure and breakdown are results, but certainly not the ones you juggled for in the first place!
In some ways, our buzzing martyrdom wants attention! "Look at me!" it cries. "I'm trying soooo hard to make all these horrible things in my life work. I'm doing my best to handle it all." To what end? So you can keep rotating the horrible?
When things are good, they don't require juggling. Only the perceived difficulties require shifting to avoid our feeling bad too long with one thing at a time. We never hear of juggling and struggling our perfect health, our happiness, our abundance. As humans we interject the dramatic and find a reason to experience the "I hate when that happens" at own expense.
When we look what we're juggling in life, we see it's an absurd struggle! Misery requires focus, energy and perpetual motion to exist. The good news is, when one ball drops the others soon follow.
Take a look at your success in your three aspects of life. Why are you juggling, on what are you focusing (hence creating more of the same) and what are you juggling (how does it show up in your life)? Someday you may realize the thing in your life you’ve desperately tried to keep in motion is not anything you ever wanted or needed. If it doesn’t empower you and move you forward drop it – and LOVE when that happens!
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