For me, the dream is always travel. I have a wicked case of wanderlust that never seems to be fully satisfied. I’m always in the process of planning another trip. It makes the day-to-day stuff easier to manage. How to create magic in the mundane is the key….
Most of my time is spent being pulled in a million directions by all the things I want to do, both personally and professionally. My husband and I are very ambitious and have a highly successful professional life. We invest and manage our portfolio well. We give as much of our time and money as we can spare to various charitable organisations. We spend a lot of time on our individual pursuits, which include recreation, personal and professional development and at least twice a week we go on dates to make sure we stay connected as a couple. We ensure we hang out with our kids as much as they will allow (they’re teenagers after all) and we make time for play.
My life is extraordinarily abundant, yet I always manage to get way off balance somewhere along the way, and then find I’m breaking apart. Then, when I’m travelling, I’m able to put it all back together again. How do I go about bringing the “holiday” spirit into my day-to-day life to prevent the break down altogether? I know it’s all about balance, but boy, do I struggle with this! What exactly happens while on holiday that enables the reconstruction process, seemingly without effort? The obvious answer is that no one is asking much of me. I get to meander through my day, no minute by minute schedule, no issues I need to address, no problems I need to solve, other than what do I feel like doing today? Don’t get me wrong… I’m grateful for the ability to be able to handle as much as I do and be of benefit wherever I can, but I get worn out. In my most grouchy place, I feel like the more I give, the more gets asked of me. I think sometimes if others know someone is there to handle it, they don’t bother doing it themselves. This is especially true of my kids. Left to their own devices and they’re quite capable. But when I’m around, they can’t remember their phone number….
My beloved teacher, Geshe-la, says that if my motivation is correct, I won’t run out of loving kindness and compassion. I guess the trick is to look deeper into why I am doing whatever it is I’m doing on a day-to-day basis and see where I’m getting off track. Where am I being self-cherishing (motivated by ego), fearful or dishonest? If I can uncover this and correct my motivation, this should enable me to keep my balance better. Also, I need to be sure I’m setting good boundaries and saying no when I need to. Sounds like a piece of cake, eh? Mmmmmm…. cake.
Over the years my husband and I have repeatedly found that when we “help” too much, we enable and cripple others. We need to be diligent on when to offer guidance and support and when to allow others the space to figure out and manage their own problems. It’s the process of trial and error that leads to good problem solving skills. We don’t need to be super heros in anyone’s lives. And this is where checking our motivation is helpful… ensuring we’re not feeding our egos and calling it help.
So, going forward, my path is a little clearer now. I will slow down and create more space between my words and actions and ensure I have enough quiet time to meditate, reflect and recharge my batteries. I will allow myself and others the space to make mistakes and learn from them. I will cultivate emotional maturity and intelligence. I will diligently shut down my inner critic as soon as she pipes up. I will practise patience (I say practise because I’m no damn good at this). I will monitor my motivation to ensure it’s pure and I will make more time for spirit-enhancing activities. All the busy work manages to somehow get done. I don’t need to stress about it. The questions I need to ask myself often are, “Will this matter in a year, 3 years, 10 years? Will I regret doing this, or not having done this when I’m on my deathbed? If the answers are NO, then why worry about it? His Holiness, the Dalai Lama says, “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
Om mani padme hum 🕉