By M Ryan Taylor
Eat, Pray, Love is a book about finding balance. Liz goes to Italy in the first part of the book to focus solely on things she enjoys: to eat and learn Italian. This tactic is a perhaps necessary overcompensation for her—her exclusive pursuit of pleasure becoming a step toward eventually finding balance in her life.
I can relate to this. When I started hiking with Dixie three days a week last summer, it was because my life was completely out of balance. I felt I had to focus exclusively on the weak area of my life in order to strengthen it enough so that when I added the rest of life back in, it wouldn't be overwhelmed by those other forces.
When our little hiker's paradise came to an abrupt end this fall and I switched to biking and Pilates for my exercise (at least an hour a day, six days a week . . . I'm peddling as I type this), I find I can keep going with the health goals. Health has taken root and is growing in me.
Was then “finding balance” easy? When I started to add back in the other aspects of my life, did it all fall into place? I wish.
In short, finding balance is hard. I've tried a number of things in the past months to juggle all the aspects of my life: family, composition, performing, volunteering at church and with my composer collective, taking on the directorship of a local children's choir, corresponding, art/design/multimedia/webwork, etc.
For a while I was trying to spend an hour on each of these aspects of my life every day and I set up an account on joesgoals.com to track my progress. I would just get started on a project when time came for me to work on something else. All right, so that didn't work, it just left me feeling frazzled.
Then, a loved one suggested that I go on the “Creation” program of planning. You know how in Genesis it is accounted that God created the world in seven days? Well, each day had its own focus: light, the waters, the land and plants, the sun and moon, the fish, animals . . . not everything at once.
There are a few things I do need and want to do every day. Exercise, eating well, and performance/practice are three of them. Beyond those things though, I've decided to give each day a focus.
- Sunday: Playing organ at church
- Monday: Song and choral music composition and recording
- Tuesday and Thursday: Opera composition (currently a little over half-composed on The Giant's Heart, an adaptation of the story by George MacDonald)
- Wednesday: Writing
- Friday: Art/Multimedia
- Saturday: Spend time with Dixie
So far, one week in, this feels good. As long as I get something substantial done on each of these themes I can tackle other projects in the day, but giving each day a focus really helps me leave that frazzled feeling behind.