Tuesday, December 28, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things

With the new year quickly approaching, I thought I would list a few of my favorite things from 2010 -

1. My younger daughter is just recently mature enough to play well with my older daughter.  (I hear angels singing in the background - ahhhhhhh!)

2. I discovered fashion blogs.

3. I had the opportunity to create artwork to hang on the walls of my church. 

Creating this artwork was the first time I really used my artistic gifts in a significant way.  I felt like I was participating in something bigger than myself.  This experience showed me that art can be "soul" significant.  Brian Godawa points out in his book Word Pictures that the first person mentioned in the Bible as being filled with the spirit of God was an artist!  He also states, "Roughly 30 percent of the Bible is rational propositional truth and laws, while 70 percent of the Bible is story, vision, symbol, and narrative - that is, image." 

"When I lean into something bigger than me, something bigger than me happens."  - quote by yours truly

Monday, December 27, 2010

The second issue in finding my balance

I adore fashion...

...but I also find that it leaves something lacking in my soul.  Few things give me the thrill that I feel when watching a fashion show or examining the beauty of an exquisitely crafted garment.   However, there seems to be a very short satisfaction point in this industry.  The love of fashion can easily grow into simply a lust for more and more beauty.

For most of my life, fashion meant appreciating the newest looks and figuring out how to wear them.   But lately, I have been feeling like it could mean more - helping other people feel beautiful or by creating a dress that makes a person's life easier.  Maybe meaningful fashion is called style and exists to make one's life concurrently simple and beautiful.  Can the beauty of fashion have a place in the real world of truth and bring to us any of the meaningfulness of love?

"People will remember almost nothing of what you tell them and only slightly more of what you do.  But they will remember for the rest of their lives how you made them feel." - Randall Wallace, film screen writer and director (as quoted in World magazine)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Saying "YES"!

So, my first issue was learning to say "no".  (Still working on that - more to come in future posts.)  But to what should I say "yes"? 

I asked myself, "What does my soul crave?"  I wrote down all of the answers that came to my mind.  The overarching theme seemed to be a phrase I heard years ago - "truth, beauty, and love".  All three are essential.  If you lose one, you become unbalanced. 

What form should "truth, beauty, and love" take in my life?  Obviously, I want to retain my position as wife to my husband and mother to my children.  This position seems to be primarily about love but based on truth and needs beauty to be enjoyable.  Beyond that, I feel I have a dream in my DNA to artistically create something bigger than myself.   This dream is initially driven by a pursuit of beauty but starts to die when I do not incorporate the meaningfulness of love and the reality of truth. 

What does your soul crave?  What dream is in your DNA?

My First Issue

My first issue in finding soul balance was recognizing my limits and learning to say "no".   I felt like saying "no" was being unloving to people I love.  Then I realized that I have a limited amount of time and energy, which I have to reserve for what is most important in my life.  (Honestly, I had to read a whole book in order to really grasp this concept.)  We can't be everything for everybody.  We can only be what we are supposed to be. 

"No, for most of us, is an almost impossible word.  It triggers a crisis of guilt and conscience - we'll disappoint our friends, we'll miss out, we'll not get promoted, others will think us weak, we'll be accused of selfishness.  But whatever else it is, "no" is a simple mathematical concept.  We are allowed by God to commit our "yes" up to twenty-four hours a day.  After that, we must say no." - excerpt from In Search of Balance by Richard A. Swenson, MD

Our Modern Balance Problem

artwork by Meredith Howard

"On one side of the equation, we have more and more of everything faster and faster.  On the other side of the equation, we have our relatively fixed limits: time, money, physical energy, emotional resilience, intellectual capacity." - excerpt from In Search of Balance by Richard A. Swenson, MD

A year ago, I felt completely overwhelmed and scattered by all of the different activities in my life. On top of that, I felt guilty, because I was still not doing as much as everyone else I saw around me.  My daily activities drained me.  I had nothing left inside, so I pushed people away.  I wanted to run away from my life and start over. 

So, that's when I decided to refocus.  I started to acknowledge my limits.  I started to evaluate every little aspect of my time, schedule, desires and dreams.  I did not want to merely reorganize my life based on a list of priorities.  I wanted an overarching spirit to connect all that I do.  I wanted my life balance to come from deep in my soul.  That is when I began to find soul balance.