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Eurythmie by Lyn

Do you ever have difficulty balancing all the roles in your life?  Blogging, writing, helping friends in need, serving my husband a balanced, healthy meal, organizing women’s retreats, exercising and meditating are all important to me.  I want to spend all the time with my granddaughter possible before she outgrows our fun together.  Is there ever enough time in a day?

Here is a fun exercise I have used in many Diversity Workshops.  It works best with a partner, so find one, shake hands and introduce yourself by naming all the roles you can think of in your life.  Try not to censor what you say and keep going until you feel you have exhausted all the roles you can think of – including ethnicity, religious affiliation, passions.  “Hi, I’m Joann.  I’m an author, a mother, a wife, a granny, a meditation leader,  friend,  neighbor, peace activist,  Irish American,  “older” woman, Buddhist meditator,  sangha member, sponsor, sponsee, a daily journaler, an investor, traveler, avid reader, retreat leader, artist, workshop conductor, teacher, cook, house maintainer, blogger, swimmer, weightlifter, big sister, aunt, email correspondent, recovering from a fatal, progressive disease that requires daily maintenance of my spiritual condition.

“Whew, that’s a lot of roles!  How does a person “carry them out” on a daily, weekly, monthly basis?  Several years ago, when I was also still teaching high school fulltime, I attended a great workshop on Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and First Things First (www.stephencovey.com/7habits). We were urged to look first at our deepest goals and principles and to examine which roles fit with those goals and priorities at this moment in our lives.  Were we spending most of our time commuting to a job that was meaningless in relationship to our deepest life goals?  If our children were very important in our lives, were we spending fun time with them?  We wrote mission statements, prioritized the roles that would help us reach our goals, learned to map out our plans for the day and the week based on goals and principles rather than the “urgent but unimportant” tasks that crowd out moments for meditation, walking or writing a blog.

Rather than trying to achieve balance by compartmentalizing our roles, Gandhi observed, “One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other department.  Life is one indivisible whole.” This reminds me of an important goal of my life – to practice my principles in all my affairs.

Ah, perhaps I need to remember to identify, prioritize, see the interrelationships of my roles, relax and focus on the priorities TODAY, in this very precious moment of my life.  There is a flow, an interconnectedness to all my roles, goals and actions.  Achieving balance is a constant challenge.

How do you balance all the roles in your life?

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