In an old episode of The Simpsons, the kids are leaving for a field trip. As they board the school bus, their parents call out words of advice. Chief Wiggum says to his son Ralphie, “If your nose starts bleeding, it means you’re picking it too much…(pause)…or not enough.”
I am not about to write my first official newsletter of the year about nose-picking (though if that’s of interest, I recommend this NPR story). But as I reflected on 2022 and prepared for 2023 (see “Try It!” below), the balance between too much and not enough kept coming up.
In my behaviors:
- I worked too much. I did not practice yoga enough.
- I expected too much of certain people* and did not show up enough for others.
- I yelled at other drivers too much. I did not “take it easy, take it slow” enough on the road.
- Too much noise, not enough silence.
And in my thoughts:
- I succumbed to stress too much. I did not practice enough radical compassion.
- I took things personally too much, and did not assume best intentions enough. (Definitely would have benefitted from completing a few more “Judge Your Neighbor” worksheets!)
- I spent too much time in solution mode and not enough time cultivating acceptance.
- Too much noise, not enough silence!
Listing these is not intended to elicit shame or blame. It also isn’t just to consider where shifts can happen (though I certainly do use them to prioritize what I hope to change).
It is to remind myself of a core truth that is as plain as the nose on my face: life is a constant recalibration between too much and not enough!
Look at the scale. In order for it to be in perfect balance, both sides must be exactly equal (or, as shown, completely empty). Think how much effort it would take in our lives to try and maintain this state (or, just as unrealistically, take everything off of the scale). And if it were to come into equilibrium, just one tiny thing on either side would throw it off.
Rather than striving towards bringing things into stasis, it seems a better use of our energy to accept the ever-shifting nature of things.
I suppose one could say I thumb my nose at the idea that equilibrium is the goal.
Sure, we should continue to seek awareness of where the imbalances exist, and adjust our behaviors and thinking. In so doing, we may find a somewhat sustainable balance between too much and not enough. Pick wisely, and happy 2023.
*You know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom—and top!—of my heart💗
Reflect and Recalibrate
I always spend dedicated time at the beginning of the year reflecting on lessons learned and working to “clear the slate” for the new year. There are innumerable sites and posts suggesting questions for focus and reflection, but here are the ones I regularly turn to for my end of year/new year process.
- What have I been doing that doesn’t feel right anymore?
- What became clearer this year? What remains unclear?
- What have I lost? What have I found?
- What seeds am I planting?
- How do I want to show up?
- What do I want to discover, learn, cultivate or heal?
- While sitting in silence, what words come to mind from the last year?
- What words come to mind for the upcoming year?
blast from the past
“A new year is an opportunity to create space for hope because it is framed as a new beginning. But it is not the only one. It is often said in meditation that every day, every moment—every breath—is an opportunity to begin again.” January, 2021
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