Probably at least once a week, I remind my staff that we take a “wholistic approach” in our work. Some of them are fundraisers and others are educators (and some of us bridge the gap), and yet when we approach the people who support our organization, we invite them to give, to advocate, to see justice, to volunteer, to pray, and to consider how their lifestyles contribute to global hunger. We invite them through any or all doorways they are prepared to enter because the needs are complex, the reasons for hunger are complex, and people around the world are complex. Just one of those actions alone will not end hunger without some balance of the other actions. True transformation comes from wholistic commitment.
It’s ironic then, that I so often forget to take a wholistic approach in my own life. I focus solely on one area of my life or another, and then I wonder why I feel out of balance or I don’t accomplish what I feel I should be able to.
Sometimes I read a lot of books and feed my intellectual side. Sometimes I focus on exercise and/or rest and look after the physical side. Sometimes I spend time in a spiritual practice (prayer, yoga, meditation, etc.) and my spiritual side gets fed. Sometimes I seek out community and look after the part of me that needs connection and relationships. And sometimes? Well, let’s face it – sometimes I ignore everything and just indulge in all of the things that I know are unhealthy because I just can’t seem to get myself out of a rut.
At rare times, I make sure I seek balance in all of the areas of my life that need to be fed. I’m a slow learner. Or – more accurately – I forget easily and have to re-learn so many things.
Today I was totally out of whack – cranky, tired, over-stimulated, and downright miserable to be around. And forget about accomplishing anything meaningful – it just wasn’t happening. I could blame it on my hormones, but I knew there was something deeper going on. I was out of balance. I haven’t looked after myself well lately – not my physical side and not my spiritual side. I’ve let both exercise and spiritual practice slip from my day-to-day routines, I’ve been eating poorly and not making any real effort to connect with the God of my understanding. I haven’t really even worked on the relationships that help me find balance in my life.
Something’s got to change. I’m setting my alarm for a little earlier tomorrow. A little yoga, some time in prayer & meditation, and a healthy breakfast – maybe if I start my day off right, things will begin to shift.
If only we could figure these things out once and for all and we wouldn’t have to go back over the same territory time and time again. But day after day, we keep on fumbling and hoping that perhaps one day we’ll be a little bit closer to transformation.
As a side note, tonight my spiritual practice consisted of an hour or two in the studio, making another attempt at a self portrait. The first experience was so meaningful that I decided to try again. This time, I went from a photo because I wanted to attempt a picture with a smile on my face. Like I said to my friend Stephanie when she interviewed me last week, “art has become one of the most meaningful ways that I connect with God.” It doesn’t even matter if it’s bad art, because it’s in the doing, not in the result.
Updated to add: I did it! I made it out of bed for yoga, prayer, and a healthy breakfast! Taking it one day at a time and celebrating small steps. 🙂