Welcome to the middle path

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Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January 14 Challenge: seek out the sweet spots and find Balance

find your balance and be luminous
Today's challenge was suggested by this lovely photograph, taken by Berlin genius, friend to the underdog, protector of wild things and all-around sweetheart Sebastiano Banese.  He kindly allowed me to repost it here as visual encouragement for your January 14th task.

Your Tuesday quest is to poke around at your life looking for placing that are leaning too heavy one way or the other.  Are you running from X, or collapsing into in ways that distract you from important tasks at hand?  For X, substitute work, intimacy, health needs, play, responsibility, fear... you get the picture.

In between rejection and addiction, between rigidity and collapse, between giving up and banging your head over and over on the same wall-- there is balance.

Less abstractly but abounding with metaphor still: between holding your breath and hyperventilating, there are miles of places for easier breathing.

See if you can notice places in your life where you are running too hot or too cold, too fierce or too wimpy.  Imagine it on a half-dial, like half a clock.  Balance is that middle third.  When your dial is pointing too left or too right, what can you do to nudge it onto a middle path place?

In dialectical behavioral therapy, this goal is seen as a real key to right action and finding regulation. 
the lovely middle path
It's usually encouraged through Opposite Action:  if you are too cool, be warmer.  If you're being hard and rigid, soften and bend.  If you are frenetic, be intentional in being SLOOOOOOWWW for a while.
If you want to fight, sit down and breath.  If you're all about money, focus today on what you value in life that is intangible and not best bought.

I've been either spinning my wheels working too much or, when unstructured time arrives, avoiding the minutia of the work completely.  That's out of balance.  Tuesday I plan to write out my schedule instead of waiting to see when I want to call insurance companies ("How does Never work for you?")  I'm going to call my pal Hal, because that relationship has gotten out of balance with me never catching his calls and then not calling back, and I love him and value our hundred year bond and yet am not acting in right relationship to reflect it.  I have a couple other ideas that may or may not happen, because part of my balance is getting some sleep, cleaning my kitchen, and doing some filing and billing.  I don't love those things but they don't disappear when I ignore them.

Friends, chores, work, play, health.   Eating, sleeping, art.  There's a lot to fit into this tiny life-- and least five novels into a blank book more the size of a novella.  The novella expands when the soul is in balance.  Where does soul need ballast today?

Let me know, if you're willing, what you found out in taking on this challenge for Tuesday.

Quote of the day: 
"The Eightfold Path which the Buddha preached in his first sermon is known as the Middle Path because it is neither optimistic nor pessimistic. Optimism tends to over-estimate the conditions of life, whereas pessimism tends to under-estimate them. To plunge on the one hand into the sensual excesses and pleasures of the ordinary worldly life is mean, degrading and useless. On the other hand. extravagant asceticism is also evil and useless. Self-indulgence tends to retard one's spiritual progress and self-mortification to weaken one's intellect. The Path is a Middle Way between the pairs of opposites. and the doctrine of the 'Way' may only be grasped by an understanding of the correlation and interdependence of the two. Progress is an alternating change of weight or emphasis between the two. Yet, just as a fencer's weight seems ever poised between his feet resting upon either foot only for so long as is needed to swing back the emphasis, so on the path the traveler rests at neither extreme but strives for balance on a line between, from which all opposites are equally in view. All extremes beget their opposites, and both are alike unprofitable." ---Venerable Ashin Thittila

“The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, and you should try not to forget snacks and magazines.”
Anne Lamott,

Song of the day: 

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