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juggling-lifeNo matter your life style, no matter your family situation, no matter, no matter, you are juggling your life. Even if it amounts to nothing more than “shall I sit here and watch The Price is Right, clean the toilet, or make some brownies?”, you are juggling choices that are only yours to make.

You decide priorities, the order of things, and the time devoted. Oh of course, it’s all to a greater or lesser degree I admit. But let’s not pretend we are at being controlled by outside forces completely. Even the prisoner confined to a cell twenty-three hours a day has control of his or her mind.

So don’t give in to the safe but ultimately untrue belief that you have no control, and that whatever mess you find yourself in, is not your fault. It may well not be in most of its tendrils, but YOU decide how YOU will relate to it at least.

No, I’m not giving you some lecture as to how to run your life. I have plenty enough trouble juggling my own. What I am suggesting is that the daily stories of people talking about how they are running all the time just to keep up, well, I don’t think it needs to be that way. That’s not the norm and if it is for all too many people, it shouldn’t be. For it’s simply not healthy.

I mean healthy in the broadest of senses. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and gasp, spiritually. Yes, spiritually.

Fully aware that a good many of my most loyal readers are at best agnostic, I still broach the term spiritual. For we are spiritual whether in a religious sense or only in a more naturalist, biological sense. For if you deny or suspect that no superior being(s) had a thing to do with this planet or you, then you probably believe rather wholeheartedly in evolutionary theory and have some thinking about how life started on this blue dot.

Not that believers don’t believe in a “scientific” answer for life and how it evolved. A good many of us do, in fact, I’d hazard a guess that most of us do. Evolution tells us how life forms change over time. And it is inescapable from the evidence at hand, that we, long in our past, share a common ancestor with chimps and gorillas and orangutans. Ultimately, we regress back to one-celled creature that first replicated in some primordial soup of chemicals and water.

Where am I going with this? Please you know me by now. I wander, as my dancing neurons flip and kiss, and circle and part, cross and leap in joyous chaos that is my brain. I’m getting to the point. Geesh, relax!

So last night the Contrarian and I sat down and watched Under the Tuscan Sun. If you haven’t seen it, I’ll summarize without giving away any of the goodies. A newly divorced nearing middle-age, writer takes a gift of a trip to Tuscany, and on a whim, buys a beautiful old villa that is in need of much work. The balance of the movie is about her growth as her house comes into itself, as does she. From beginning to end, she is challenged to rely on intuition, not do the safe thing, and to think with her heart. I think of it as living in the Spirit.

It got me to thinking, with all the dangers that that always entails. I thought about our trip here to Las Cruces, and the thinly veiled intuitive hope that we would find a home that would make my heart sing again. For those of you who have been on this long journey with me, you know that I was barely hanging on at times in the meadow, living on hope and faith that I could reclaim the free spirit that I felt had sunk deep within and was losing ground. I guess I make it sound worse than it was, for surely I found times of laughter and joy in those last couple of years, but my heart yearned to soar in a new place where the sun shined more, and the temperatures would tease forth my innate sense of wonder at life.

That happened for us. It happened with a shocking perfection that still takes my breath away when I think of it. If I had listed the twenty things I wanted in my new home environment, fully eighteen have been met and the other two are available, just slightly more difficult to achieve, i.e., I have to drive fifteen minutes to the pool instead of it being two blocks away!

It has been my firm belief for a good many years that there are several components to a good life:

  1. Proper care of the body. Nutritious food and reasonable exercise. Sleep enough.
  2. Proper care of the intellect. Plenty of good books, good movies and intellectually probing television (PBS of course) and conversation and study.
  3. Proper care of the psyche. The cultivating of relationships, creative spirit, and doing things you love for themselves.
  4. Proper care of the soul. Plenty of spiritual reading, and spiritual living (walking in nature, meditation,  mindfulness, kindness, charity, volunteering and all that that entails).

You note that I don’t include an involvement in civic affairs or something of that nature. Well, I find that doing that sort of thing is really feeding one’s own soul. So it falls under number 4.

These are the keys, I believe to a life well lived, or happiness as we commonly understand it. The bare outlines of course. Each of the four requires a fleshing out of several pages no doubt. And it is just not the four, but the BALANCE between them that makes it all work like a well-oiled machine.

I’m still finding the balance, but in the last few days as I have snuggled in, recovering from a cold, I’ve been organizing and puttering in my head, to better balance my life. And it’s coming along.

And it feels good.

How is your juggling going along and are you in balance?