THE WILL TO LIVE A BALANCED LIFE!
Childhood: My childhood years into early adulthood served up an experience of wonderful with a side dish of anxiety. I was blessed with amazing family and friends. However, for the nice Irish Catholic girl that I was, accepting a compliment graciously and moving on was challenging for me in those early years. Asking for either salt or pepper at a friend’s dinner table was a task to be reckoned with quietly, fists clenched, and filled with anxiety. Will they think I’m annoying? Will they think I have my hand out asking for too much? My Balance was off, my Self was lost, and Negative outside influences had a huge impact on my life—as I was consciously unaware.
I found Balance years ago after my non-Hodgkins lymphoblastic lymphoma (cancer) diagnosis in 1991, at 25 years old, and immediately began living in the “Now” – the *present*. I call it “Living In The Zone”, a fabulous place for the mind, body and spirit to be. Nevertheless, over the years, there have been circumstances whereby time would take precedence over all else and my Balance would get thrown off. The mindset of regrets from the past and concern for the future resumed leaving the present almost non-existent. This usually occurred when something unexpected happened causing a gut-wrenching, “You gotta be kidding me!” Finally, being more in-tuned and aware of when the time-shift was taking place, bringing myself Present has become much more simplistic. It’s all in the “Awareness.”
Mother’s Day 2012: It was fantastic celebrating with family. So much to be thankful for! Yet, once again, I was living in the “time” frame-of-mind. I found myself exhausted as I was leaving my cousin’s home, kissing Mom and Dad as we said goodnight, because I spent the day continuously thinking about an early morning commitment I had the following day. Thoughts of oversleeping, getting lost, and/or doing anything that might interfere with the positive outcome of this incredible commitment was consuming.
This “commitment” turned out to be a new Awakening and one of the GREATEST EXPERIENCES OF MY LIFE! I met so many strong (in every sense of the word), amazing, caring, and generous people. It was a Hollywood style photo-shoot in a gorgeous mansion hosted by one of the most gracious couples I’ve ever met—surrounded by extremely positive, upbeat, and incredibly generous energy, for a non-profit called, “Moms Who Kick”. When I tell you it took every childhood fantasy I had of being the princess in a castle and blew those fantasies out of the water… that’s how extraordinary the experience was! So why did I waste so much mind-racing time prior to the event causing unnecessary fatigue the night before? I needed the reminder to stay “STILL” … stay in the present knowing all else is meant to be and accepted.
The day after Mother’s Day my Balance was strengthened once more. It was a slap to the forehead moment. Prior to the mother of all Days, Mother’s Day, I was stressing out about all of my upcoming events, functions, chores, deadlines and obligations—trying to make sure everything was prepared or completed...in addition to making sure my family had what they needed before I even thought about leaving the house, making sure everyone was taken care of to the best of my ability. Intellectually I knew how to keep my stress under control, deep breathing and all; however, the intellect doesn’t tap into the intimate/emotional/psychological part of oneself. The intellect only knows the consciousness…and claims VICTORY over all the aforementioned, if allowed. The continued epiphany for me was to be STILL in every way possible, releasing the negative self-talk from my mind, releasing time itself, and replacing it with affirmations, counting my blessings, and getting back to living in the moment. This is what restores balance. It’s a peaceful way to live…to be alive, responsibly and unapologetically accepting the here and now.
This includes perception of the valley—accepting the darkness and doing what’s needed to find the light to reach the perceived peak. Whether it was the experience of going through a divorce from 2014- 2016, the tragic death of loved ones in 2017, or any other shocking and heart-breaking trainwreck-type situation life throws my way, it is always dealt with. It is always a learning experience. I experienced the darkness of the situations, did what was necessary to find light which brought me to the peak—finding peace once again. For most of us, we’re never “always” in the valley, just as we’re never “always” at the peak. Existing peacefully wherever we are, based on our insight, foresight, and acceptance—balance—is reality. Spending time regretting circumstances from the past and/or worrying about the future is living in an altered reality…and not a very fulfilling one. The worry, fear, anxiousness and anger never did anything constructive to help my negative situations; if anything, they made them worse. Time wasted. For me, living in gratitude is the only way to live…to feel alive. You can’t feel grateful and angry at the same time. I choose grateful.
Each tragedy I’ve experienced has brought me to greater heights. Without them I believe I wouldn’t appreciate all that I have—mostly my three children, Brendan Danny and Maggie; our dog, Molly; health; faith in God and each other; family; friends; even a stranger in passing who takes a moment to glance over and smile; and our home – which has been way more than just a house for the last twenty (plus) years, it’s our home. I’m extremely grateful.
Some of my favorite authors such as Jon Kabot Zinn, PhD, and Eckhart Tolle have taught me that one’s true nature, experiencing the “here and now,” offers freedom and enlightenment. Negative self-talk such as: ‘never’ (sometimes ‘always’), ‘can't’, ‘don’t’, ‘won't’, ‘should/shouldn't’, ‘should’ve/could’ve/would’ve’ … induces fear, stress and guilt, draining one’s soul. Replacing such verbiage with affirmatives such as 'Can', ‘Do’, 'Will' ‘Love’ ‘Peace’ and ‘Joy’ feeds the Soul. Our Soul will then begin to grow brighter and stronger—allowing us to experience our fabulous “Self” to the fullest. Each time I experience the off-balance phenomenon and reclaim my Self, my feeling centered mentally, physically and spiritually seems to continue to grow deeper—Learning and Growing (aka Onward and Upward – this is how the brand came to be). Now that’s a balanced life!
Live ONWARD with great character and a smile!