Kelly Weber writes about life as a juggling event. Trying to figure it all out and putting all the pieces in place can seem very much like juggling. Bryan Dyson, Executive at Coca Cola, described work life balance as juggling glass and rubber balls at the same time. Some balls, if dropped bounce right back while others break (they cannot be recovered).
Others might see life as a tennis ball machine in overdrive. With a split second to decide, you must discern which balls (situations/opportunities) are rubber and will bounce if you let them go) and which are glass and will break if not caught (or responded to immediately).
If you relate to this juggling metaphor, how do you determine what to hold on to and what to let go of? What should your next step be and how do you proceed? Comedian, Tina Fey mentions in The New Yorker, Confessions of a Juggler (2011) that St. Ignatius of Loyola has a tool that might help. It is called The Ignatian Exercises of discernment and offers steps to sort options, quiet the mind and reflect. Use this when facing an important decision – or any decision for that matter.
1. Try to take on a mindset of detachment or indifference to the outcome. (Very Buddhist)
2. Pray (Set an intention to listen and be guided. In other words, prayer does not include having a debate with your ego.) Listen for guidance and take action.
3. Make a list of pros and cons (not so sure about this as a spiritual exercise, but it might help to clear your mind)
4. Imagine yourself living into the choices. (What does experiencing each choice as reality feel like?)
5. If someone you loved came to you with this decision, how would you counsel them?
6. If you were on your deathbed, what would your future self say to your present self about this decision?
7. Look for an affirmation that you have made the right decision. Can you find it? Can you feel it? If not, that decision does not bode well for you.
The last part of this process is an important instruction: If you are currently in a state of desolation, refrain from making any decision until you are feeling healthier. To say this another way… If right now, you are too stressed out, depressed, anxious or overwhelmed – DON’T DO ANYTHING.
Fey offers her own suggestions on feeling overwhelmed…
1. When you notice you or someone in overwhelm, say 3-3-3. That translates to three things you see, three things you hear, and three things you can touch. By responding slowly, you reorient yourself to the present moment and the space you are currently occupying. I call this a back pocket tool. In other words, keep this handy as a practice when you feel yourself spinning out of control. Here are some more back pocket tools.
2. Seek help and be helpful. (This is an ongoing requirement.) Everyone needs a therapist/coach/spiritual director they can refer to as needed. It is akin to keeping a bottle of aspirin handy. When you need it; you need it. If you are feeling a bit snarky or anti-social, or you sense change in the air, set up a date and work out your issue. A version of this is to help someone else when they are going through difficulty. Just be careful that you don’t displace your own struggle onto someone else or absorb theirs.
3. Create a daily ritual (your soul needs this). An obvious ritual is prayer and/or meditation. But there are others like walking in nature, snuggling in your favorite chair with a book, fishing, journaling, writing a letter, knitting, listening to music, doing something creative. Another version of having a daily routine, it to watch streaming stories. Fey suggests watching old MASH episodes.
I personally enjoy watching stories involving people working together like a family while meeting challenges, and always having a happy ending. I hope this blog helps you slow down, create a method to deal with your fast paced life, and find peace. Here's to having more fun!