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April 11, 2010 / Jenny Ann Fraser

Finding Balance

I have been absent for a while despite my intention to continue blogging no matter how crazy things got at work.  I made it through the first week, but not so much the second and third.  76.5 work hours in one week will do that to you…

I hate to admit that I’ve been cranky, bitchy, angry,bitter, terrified, frustrated, sleep deprived and generally a great joy to be around for the past few weeks, and while I’ve tortured a few people along the way, I pulled it off.  I didn’t build the biggest show I’ve ever built, but I built the most with the least amount of extra labour. I never want to do that again.

One source of my anger, is that at the time, I could see absolutely nothing positive that could come out of my working myself into the ground only to be laid off at the end of it all. (Hell, I could see no benefit to doing this if I wasn’t laid off at the end of it all.) I long ago reached the point where it became painfully obvious that success in my job really isn’t worth much.  It won’t increase my income, or make me more employable during the off-season, in fact it’s probably nothing more than a detriment as having done this once, I will be expected to do it again. It is difficult under such circumstances to see the reason behind it all, acceptance is key for that to happen. Sometimes life can be very hard to accept.

I stay because there doesn’t seem to be anything out there for me, and for now, my shop at the theatre is the only workspace I can afford, therefore my best chance to get my business off the ground.

So, I’ve decided to turn the long weeks of lay-off into opportunity as this gives me the time and the space I need to develop my product. Money is of course an issue, but I take it one day at a time as I have for my entire adult life.

During the worst of it.  I arrived home shortly before 11:00 PM one night and took out a piece of printer paper and a large black Sharpie and wrote “THIS TOO SHALL PASS!” and taped it to my kitchen cupboard which is visible to me from my computer desk in the living room and most other areas where I spend my time. It’s still up there now as I’m still in recovery mode, trying between naps to get up the energy to get my personal life in order as it has become complete chaos.  So far, napping has taken precedence.

This got me to thinking;  “How often do I do this? Am I just wishing my life away here? If that is the case, I need to do something about it.”

What I think I need most, (and I wonder if this isn’t the same for most people) is balance.  It’s all of the things that all of the health and wellness experts, not to mention all of the Spiritual teachers have been saying forever.  We all need adequate rest, exercise, relaxation time with loved ones and work to live our lives optimally.

Next I have the urge to write about how I’m going to make balance a bigger priority in my life, but I realize, that this is not always my choice.  I’m forever pulled in the direction of working insane hours as I have to take work whenever I can get it, and lately, I’m feeling that my life is not my own. I’m sure many, if not most of us feel that way, more or less often, whether it’s due to family commitments, (I imagine there is nothing like small children to make you feel that you have limited options) work, or any other stresses in life.

So, here is my temporary answer.  I do need to make balance a bigger priority.  I need to take it when I can get it.  I will define my needs, and set about fulfilling them whenever possible.  I will sleep when I need to, eat better, make time for friends and family, and meditate every day that I can. (This is something that I have let slip for a long time regardless of how busy I have been.)

I will do my best to avoid working myself into the ground, and try to accept that when I have to, “This Too Shall Pass” and know that there will come a time when my long work hours will have a greater purpose, which is to grow my business, and when that is done, I will commit myself to treating my employees with respect, (fair pay, reasonable work hours) and know that I’m contributing something to this problem of balance in the world. If only in a very small way.

I will ask myself each day, “What do I need to do to achieve balance today?”

Today, balance means cleaning my apartment, as until I do, I won’t really relax.  It means visiting friends who’ve just lost a loved one, and eating some good food.

I may not make it to my meditation chair today, but soon, it will again become a part of my daily life.

I will do the best I can, and hold on to the fact, that even when I fail, I am trying and that is the most I believe that we can ever ask of ourselves.

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