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From Mania to Mendecino

September 30, 2009

in Uncategorized

Driving the convertible: top down, music up. Blacktop two-lane road snakes across the hot dust of wine country and into the depths of redwood forest before expelling me into coastal Pacific fog. It’s no secret I’m smitten with California, in all its forms. After 3 hours of driving I’m calmer than I’ve been in 3 weeks, which leads me to wonder: how did my goal of life/work balance morph into the frenetic hurricane of current existence?

I quit my corporate job four years ago to create a more integrated and balanced life, one founded on the idea of taking care of myself both body and soul. I’ve practiced that to varying degrees of success. Now that I’ve found a sense of purpose, however, work seems to consume me more than ever. I love everything I’m doing—from the actual money-earning endeavors to the volunteer projects, from the time with friends to the time with myself.

Except…I’m no longer in balance. I’m rather manic. I’m productive, I’m engaged, I’m happy—but I’m also stressed, anxious, and unquiet. I don’t have a free 10 minutes in the day–unless it’s after 2 am. I’m hanging on to the back of the roller coaster as it speeds along. It’s a state of constant activity (albeit meaningful activity) which often pulls me out of what I’m doing right now because I’m concerned about what I need to be doing next. And next and next and next.

Ever have the feeling that life is sweeping you along in a current so fast it might pull you under? It’s exhilarating and a little intimidating but it feels like you’re able to steer and you’re going somewhere. You can’t absorb it all, but you’re keeping it together and you’re going somewhere.

Ever sat beside a swollen river and watched it rush past? It’s full of force, single-minded in its downriver pursuit. From the bank, it looks like a whole lot of chaos you don’t necessarily want to step into. Makes more sense to stroll downriver, take in everything along the way.

I’ve been in the river, I’ve been on the bank. Lately, I’m always in the river. Part of me feels hyper-productive and proud of it. The other part of me remembers that there’s a way to be still and still make things happen.

After 3 hours of driving (illustratively: being still while in motion), I arrive in Mendecino. Absolutely elated. Centered. I want to hang onto that—instead of the roller coaster. What I’m starting to realize is that it might be a matter of perspective. If I allow myself to be swept up, hurrying both mentally and physically, then that’s how I will experience my days. It’s not about doing less. It’s about the approach.

What I learned on the way to where I was going is that I’d like to shape my experience by learning to be still while in motion.

{ 2 comments }

Marc and Laura October 8, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Thank you for sharing yourself with us. It’s so rich and juicy when it’s personal. :-) We really appreciate seeing this side of you.

Jen Olsen Devnani October 15, 2009 at 9:45 am

Hi Deana, Just took a moment to catch-up on your blog. Your words hit home as I am endlessly striving to find inner calm amidst outer chaos. I find returning to my breath whether running, sitting, or doing yoga is the fastest way to get me where I need to be. Thanks for your words and best wishes in your journey. Peace, Jen (from Intrax)

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