Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Finding Room for Enduring Compassion

        It can be difficult, sometimes, to find time to be compassionate when I have a busy schedule. There are times when a friend or family member has an emergency and I drop everything to help them out, because I know they would do the same for me. But, what happens when there are no emergencies? Is there no need for compassion, or do I just need to be more intentional about it?

        When I am in extreme need and someone takes the time to walk with me; I sincerely appreciate it. Then there are the friends and family that are there for me when there is no need, when everything is going well, and this has a huge impact on my life. Why? Because it takes a lot more intention and effort to be there for someone once a week than it does once a year. It takes an enduring compassion to listen to the everyday blah, blah, blah, and still take interest.

        When my schedule is full to the brim, taking time to show compassion to the people that I care about does not come naturally. This is something that I would like to be more intentional about. This is something I want to be said about me after my life is over.

Lisa, she never forgot about those she loved. 
Her enduring compassion was the fertilizer that encouraged other hearts to grow.

        I know a few people in my life that I can say that about. No matter what passes in life, they always seem to call, or just show up at the right time. No matter how long I ignore them, they will keep calling me. I purpose to find three people to intentionally show enduring compassion to. I may not always have time to show up on their door step, but there are other options like: having phone dates, mailing a card, Facebooking or sending an email.

        How would you rate yourself on the enduring compassion scale? Do you take time out of your schedule to make sure the people you love know it? If you have any other suggestions about how to show enduring compassion to your friends and family, leave a comment below.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Finding My Equilibrium

Some people love to be busy, sometimes even crazy busy; they thrive on it. I am not one of those people; I look forward to being retired. Personally, I need to be productive every day, but I also need to rest every day. Rest includes sleep, but it is not limited to that. I also consider reading, watching a movie, or walking restful. My favorite form of rest is sitting on my couch with a delicious tea, staring outside at my garden, watching the birds and just letting my mind wander. The difficult part is to find a balance between rest and… everything else.

If I am going to endure a busy season, I need to have a good reason.

I don’t thrive on being busy, but there are seasons in life when it is unavoidable or seemingly unavoidable, if you are not willing to sacrifice your priorities. I am currently in one of those seasons of life, and the priorities I have chosen are very specific and important for maintaining my identity and sanity. If I took away any one of these priorities, it would have a negative impact on the other priorities; they are interdependent. Until I find equilibrium between my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual self, I cannot function at full capacity.

In an effort to live life on purpose, I am choosing to prioritize the following:

§  Work full time - Without working full time, I can’t pay my bills. It sucks, but it’s my reality right now until I can finish more education to open up other options.
§  Take classes online part time – I am setting and achieving goals and it gives me a great sense of accomplishment: temporary sacrifice for a long term benefit.
§  Get one hour of activity at least 5 days per week – I would like to have a body that I am proud of and avoid the negative effects of long term inactivity, which is a real and present danger for those of us with static office jobs. I find that increasing my activity increases my energy.
§  Spend at least 30 minutes in spiritual connection and reflection daily – Without this I feel easily overwhelmed and defeated, giving up on myself at the slightest opposition.
§  Keep a clean house – For me to achieve a restful state, I need a clean and peaceful environment. If I don’t have this, burn out is inevitable.
§  Cook a meal 3 evenings per week (this is hard for me because I hate cooking) - Healthy home-cooked food is necessary to give me clean energy and get me through a long day of work, school, and exercise. Bonus: I have noticed a reduction in headaches during the week.
§  Give a portion of my time and finances to a person/people that have less than I do - Where would I be without the people that took the time to love and support me through the tough times in my life? And who would I be if I didn’t do the same for others? This is something that I am passionate about. On the same topic, I found this quote on a blog I enjoyed reading. “There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.” - Mandy Hale
§  Take time to invest in relationships with family and friends – Unfortunately, I have less time for family and friends than I used to, but I am trying to focus on improving the quality to maximize the time that I do have. “Happiness is only real when shared.” – Christopher McCandless

All this makes for a tight schedule with little wiggle room for whimsy. However, for the first time in my life all my dials are turned up full throttle and I find it scary and empowering at the same time.

“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau

Reality check: I just need to clarify that I have only been doing this for the last two weeks, so the sustainability is still something to be seen. I don’t want anyone to think that I have achieved some magical state where I never drop the ball. In fact, just this week, I re-started my side business of knitting and selling scarves. I am well aware that I can’t prioritize the necessary time to this venture without the other areas of my life suffering, but I just couldn’t resist! Fall, my favorite season is starting, and I really enjoy being a part of the festivities. As a side note, selling scarves gives me an opportunity to apply what I am learning in my Technical Communication course to my advertising strategy. 

So, no, I am not there yet, but I feel like I have a taken a big step forward by being intentional. I am pleasantly surprised that writing this blog has also helped me implement the things that I have been thinking about for months. Please feel free to leave a comment: What is your favorite form of rest? How busy is your schedule right now? Have you found the right balance in your life? What are the priorities in your life that you can’t be successful without?