As any reader of this blog can soon discover, I eat. I love to eat. I plan my eating and enjoy it thoroughly. I also have my compulsions, especially chocolate, hence the pursuit of the most artistic chocolatart creations I can muster with my limited skills. I have my addictions too… caffeine mostly. Even my Effin Art can get out of balance. Tshirts? Really?
This state of affairs may not seem ideal, but it beats the twenty years of alcoholism that proceeded it. Then I hardly ate. Never ate chocolate or deserts because they interfered with my nightcap (read: nightcaps.. as in plural. very plural) and still was 100 pounds overweight. People most often compared me Tony Soprano, which was sadly apt. Like the wonderful actor who played him, James Gandolfini, I was well on my way to an early grave. I had many compulsions, fueled by recklessness that was a direct response to stress and the increasing problems that rose from such drunken recklessness.
The key is not idealism, but balance. I like living in balance. My life works in balance and it didn’t under the weight of my many pursuits back in the day. Life in pursuit of an ideal lacks fulfillment in the moment, oddly enough especially after the idealized goal is achieved. In fact, there is rarely a moment. Life lived in pursuit is lived in the future, with a million wonderful present moments lost in the swirl of noise and restlessness.
To stay the course I set upon several years ago, I work on balance with the attention of a surgeon. The slightest tremor in “the force” causes me to raise an eye and consider it. When those tremors have been going off for a while and I’ve not responded, I know I’m out of balance.
Today was one of those re-balancing days. I’ve gained a few pounds as holidays have given me a lot of excuses to bake treats. It’s no big concern but I needed to pay it heed. Another tremor: I’ve not had much time lately for my mental practices, like learning Spanish, playing guitar and doing yoga (FYI, the woman pictured here has a nice website about yoga). These things bring me into the present better than most. The discipline of practice is an important tool of sobriety for me. I’ve been studying Spanish for years and actual conversation still largely eludes me, so clearly its not about success. Listen to me play the guitar (which is tough, considering as a rule I don’t play for human beings), and you’ll know the effort is far, far, far from ideal. And, as my yoga teacher likes to say, “we’ll never be on the cover of Yoga Journal.” (Amen to that says those who have seen me do yoga).
I allocate my time according to my priorities. It’s just a fact. I’ve found in my own life when one “doesn’t have time” for something they say they really want to do they either are lying to themselves and others or they are very out of balance. That I haven’t afforded some of these basic things the necessary time to pursue them is a tremor telling me I’m out of balance.
So today, I try to re-calibrate myself. I started a new six-week exercise program to deal with those extra pounds — Lord knows I’m not giving up chocolate — and I’m creating a new structure to fold in some of the above activities into the mix. Nothing radical. Nothing too extreme. Just a humble effort to stay in balance.
I top it off with a prayer, asking the giver of a good gifts to lead me in these humble efforts to be the best me I can be. When I speak of hoof to head, I’m not just talking about food, I’m more often talking about me.
May you be in balance today.