Writing brings me joy, and it is one of my gifts. Animal Communication brings me joy, and it is one of my gifts. Sculpting and painting and making art bring me joy, and they are also my gifts. I feel anxious and unbalanced when I neglect any one of these gifts for too long, and I think it’s because a stifled talent stifles me. My best days happen when I spend a little time writing, a little time making art, a little time communing with animals.
Because of my animal communication clients, animal communication is pretty much a daily thing for me. Writing is, too, because I’m always working on the next book. Weed-pulling and housework demand to be done. Even these less-than-uplifting activities give a sense of accomplishment when they’re completed, so even these can bring joy.
But it’s easy for me to decide I don’t have time to make art, because it’s one of those “just for fun” things that don’t produce an income. I’d consider myself lucky if I made enough money from my art to buy the next load of clay (it hasn’t happened yet). So for me, one of the biggest challenges in staying balanced is giving myself permission to make art. I often feel I don’t have time to devote to something that is just for fun.
According to the Bible, Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” Regardless of your religious (or lack thereof) beliefs, roll that quote through your mind and see if you agree that it resonates as truth and is worth remembering.
I think it does, and it is. And here’s why.
We each are given specific gifts and talents when we come to this world. We can choose not to explore them, but when we ignore our gifts, an essential part of us withers and we become a smaller, less powerful version of ourselves. The people I know who embrace their gifts live expanded lives that bring joy to themselves and others. Those who neglect their gifts live diminished lives of angst and drama, anger and frustration. It seems they can never catch a break; no matter how hard they try, nothing works out for them.
When my life starts going like a car with a flat tire, I can usually trace the source back to one thing: I haven’t been living true to my inner self. I’ve been getting sidetracked by life-in-general, getting too busy to nurture my creativity and myself. Usually just a day or two of bringing myself back into alignment is enough to turn it around so that my experience of life is more fulfilling than frustrating. A day or two of noticing my patterns and making sure I’m giving some attention to my artistic side is enough to bring out the joy that comes from living true to myself.
Other things that bring me joy can also be part of the mix. Yoga, meditation, reading, walking in nature. The more I keep these things in my life on a regular basis, even if not every day, the better I feel. Getting right with my inner self puts me in a space of ease, so I’m better able to go with the flow instead of paddling against the current.
So for as long as I can remember to, I commit to spending at least a little time each day attending to my creative side. I commit to following a course that ignites my passion and gives me joy. I commit to honoring each of the gifts I was given. If I find myself going down a rabbit hole with no end, I’ll turn around, take a break, and do something else for a while. If I find myself slogging through something because I think I should, I’ll turn around, take a break, and do something else for a while. If I find myself growing roots in front of the TV, I’ll turn around, take a break, and do something else for a while. I commit to all this, knowing that soon enough, I’ll forget about my commitment, wonder why I’m floundering, then remind myself of the reason.
By checking in with myself on a semi-regular basis, I know I can better maintain balance in my life. “Is this fun? Is this productive? Is this really what I want to be doing right now?” Sometimes, the answer is, Yes, dammit! I do want to sit here long enough to watch a stupid TV show, pet a dog on the head, and drink a glass or two of wine. And if that’s the answer, fine! No problem. I can give myself a break for being human. Because that, too, is part of finding balance. We can’t always be churning along in a productive and positive direction.
So, here’s to maintaining balance when we can, and forgiving ourselves when we can’t.
How do you find balance?