The Art and Science of Balance: Supersize it…
I have been trying to achieve balance in my life for, well, all of my life. I try to balance my ego with not being better than others, but also being proud of what I can do. I have dignity; they have dignity. I have a boyfriend and then later, a husband; I have friends and interests. Sometimes, those conflict. How much time do I really get to “myself”?
I hope that my connection to God follows this line of thought and God gets some time, too. Over the last 20 years, the focus or psychology of balance was “quality vs. quantity.” How much quality time am I giving to the things I hold most important? How do I decide what is important and/or necessary to my well-being? Do guys really need a guys’ night? Do girls really need their bonding time with their posse? (I say yes!)
As my faith has solidified, I found myself trying to gauge the correct amount of time I should spend on prayer (daily) and enduring spiritual nourishment. If I only have head knowledge of my faith, my faith is useless. I have to have heart knowledge of my faith. It can’t be known or understood until it is put into action. How can I do that efficiently, effectively and in a satisfying, or dare I say, fulfilling, way?
I have a basic way to efficiently and effectively make a decision: The orange juice method or the “take a poll” test. I posit the question of what your favorite drink is: orange juice, Sunny Delight, Water or bleach? Shocking, I know. Who would pick bleach? Sunny Delight is a pale imitation of orange juice and orange juice is not the whole fruit which would be best. Water is necessary for life. Sometimes, the group polled picks something that really isn’t good but that they think is necessary. We don’t ban bleach; we just don’t drink it. We put warning signs on the bottle and put it far from the reach of children. So I do come back to the same insight every time. Am I asking the right question?
We do face problems that have a potential solution that is harmful to us. Our culture or friends may say that it’s only this one time or it will bring about a good in the end. Why is it that my life has become a test? Well, basically, we all have to make judgments. Our politically correct influences say that we can’t judge anyone or anything. So how can we decide what is best for us? How can we decide what is the best advice for our friends? What is truth anyway?
I can’t answer any of the questions without time to reflect and contemplate. I do mean contemplate. This is more than an empirical examination of facts and risks/consequences. All of my decisions have a moral and ethical implication. They affect me and they do affect others. Back to the ‘take a poll’ dilemma. If I take a poll and my “pool” of friends is contaminated by culture and media along with their own misguided search for happiness, the following result is suspect.
This always leads me to the visual image of myself walking a tightrope with a long way down. I don’t like heights. So I turn back to the idea of what I actually need to flourish and thrive in this life. I only get so much time to spend or in the other case, waste. Am I using my time in a way that helps me and helps me help others?
So I come down to who am I and who do I want to be? Next, who does God want me to be? This is contemplation. It is more than just a list of pros and cons with an end result to an equation. I have to form my conscience with the help of good people around me and God.
I do need to make the list and try to give it priority. God says, “First things first.” God comes first, even before my husband, children or parents. The acronym of “JOY – Jesus, Others, You” is a good start and easy to remember. I need short phrases and good habits for me to stay on track.
5 Steps to a Balanced Life
- Give God my day and my ‘self.’
- Pray all day.
- Morning ‘hello, God’ – ‘Let’s get this party started…’
- Stay alert: look for needs, look for miracles
- Get help
- Give thanks
- Do something for someone else
4. Do something that feeds my soul.
B. Love – the real kind
John Paul II – Theology of the Body (and by extension, the Body of Christ):
You can’t know yourself until you give of yourself to someone else. You can’t
know yourself except through another’s eyes. It drives everything that we do.
It’s not just looking for approval or people pleasing, but a deep-down need to be
loved, understood and needed or valued. You know it when you experience it.
The “Supersize it” philosophy doesn’t work because it is quantity not quality. Have we misunderstood what we need to “supersize?” We need to “supersize” our fries and drink because that food doesn’t really have what we need. Instant gratification has put us on a detour. We keep trying to fulfill all of our needs – vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbs, with food that doesn’t have much of those ingredients. We need more and more and end up not satisfied (and maybe even nauseous!). These are “empty” calories. Our spirit needs good nourishment also. We can’t try to satisfy being who we truly are with clothes, music, video games (that simulate power), television or the internet. We have given up our power and happiness to “empty” calories. Don’t worry. There is a prescription to answer this dis-ease. It’s living a fully conscious and integrated life. Try following the steps above and see if you start to feel like your life has more meaning. Your life will be more fulfilled. You will feel full. Supersize it!