Monday, March 10, 2014

Balance Revisited

It’s Monday morning. The sky is overcast. It may have rained or snowed overnight because the streets are dark and damp, but now the sidewalks are drying. For March 10th, it’s -1°C, although it feels like -3. It’s like we’re being teased, offered a glimpse of spring when winter is in no hurry to be displaced. Cruising towards the end of March is a sign that winter is almost over, or at least that is the hope. We are hopeful of winter’s end, an end to the cold nights and snowy days. We are eager to put away our shovels and boots and parkas, and slip into our shorts and T-shirts and open-toed shoes.

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been working to increase my productivity, ensure that I am being faithful to myself and my goals. I’ve been trying (at times successfully and at times not so much) to reduce and eliminate the bad habits negatively impacting my productivity and, consequently, holding me back. In so doing, I’ve felt like I’ve been rushing, and not necessarily savouring life and all its beauty. I am reminded that we must resist the temptation to rush, rush, rush — to let ourselves be swept up in the hustle and bustle of life.

It’s not just about slowing down as much as it is about seeking balance. As an artist, it has taken me a long, long time to understand the importance of balance. Growing up the term artist was viewed with skepticism and cynicism. Being an artist was considered an “unsafe” career choice. I was supposed to be responsible and follow a career path that would lead to stability. So I went to university, first to study journalism before abandoning it for a degree in French Literature. (During my university years I spent most of my free time writing!)

Since university, I’ve come to understand the importance of doing what one feels compelled to do, to accept “the call.” That’s why throughout my working life, in both the public and private sectors, I have tried to achieve a work-life balance that allows me to husband my dreams. My current day job provides such balance. And I am happier in my life, and more confident of what I am able to achieve. Maybe that’s because I’ve never bought in to the concept that to be a real artist you have to be a full-time artist. As Julia Cameron reminds us in her book, Walking in this World, The actual truth is we are all full-time artists. Art is a matter of consciousness.”

Balance allows me to follow my heart’s desire. I don’t feel overwhelmed. I’m having fun with my writing and other artistic endeavours, and I don’t feel as though I have to be so serious about my art. I’m just doing what I love to do, and that feels great.

When we find the balance that we need, there seems to be a natural ebb and flow to life. Everything comes together, and joy blossoms in our hearts. It gives us the strength and determination, if only for today, to keep on keeping on.

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