by Elizabeth deGraw Renna

I lost my balance in the last week of March.

Balance, noun

– A state of equilibrium

– An influence or force that tends to produce equilibrium

Equilibrium, noun

A condition of balance between

opposed forces, influences, or actions

Balance, continued

– Emotional stability

– Something left over; remainder

– A harmonious arrangement or proportion of parts

I lost my balance in the last week of March.

I didn’t fall down. I didn’t lose it emotionally or fall apart in that way.

I lost my mental grip on my preferred balance of work and everything else, the rest of life that isn’t related to earning money, to “making a living”. I misplaced my sense of passion for my work, the feeling that I am pursuing my calling. I pushed myself to get as much of my work done as possible, eating lunch at my desk so I could multi-task and accomplish something else on my to-do list in addition to nourishing my body. I could feel the sense of obligation and responsibility and I let it take precedence over pacing myself, over pausing, over mindfulness in the moment, over people.

This wasn’t an unusual occurrence. I am regularly out of balance at work, multi-tasking too much and following too hectic of a pace and forgetting to pause and just breathe for a moment. But the intensity of my imbalance was stronger a couple weeks ago. I gave in to the feelings of responsibility and obligation and, of my own free will one day, chose to work an 11 hour day. I got a lot done. I was really tired.

Maybe these are some of the opposing forces or influences in my personal equilibrium equation:

On the one side, I have a genuine sense of responsibility that is simply built in to who I am. I carry a feeling of personal and professional obligation with me that surges in intensity sometimes. I have an awareness of being held accountable for getting all my job duties completed. I hold myself highly accountable because that’s just how I am. And there is the lure of multi-tasking with the accompanying misperception that you can get more done.

On the other hand, I am very aware of trying to create balance in my life. I have been encouraging myself to slow down my pace, to pause in order to really breathe. I seek to be as mindful as possible. I want to slow down and really BE with the people I am interacting with. And I appreciate the calm focus that comes with “uni-tasking”.

I have choices. I remind myself regularly that I always have choices. I made particular choices two weeks ago and again this past week. There are other choices that I can make and happily I am aware of them. It’s just a matter of MAKING those different choices.