Sunday check-in: Balance, and how I deal with the ups and downs!

This Sunday check-in looks at my thoughts on balance, and all the ups and downs, and how we deal with them.

In this post I shall break the rules of only-admit-to-flaws-when-you-have-overcome-them and be really honest about this past week.

Last Sunday, I was looking at this view in lovely Glastonbury:

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…. and feeling pretty much like this:


The Sunday before was not such a serene picture, as I had to step in and cover a sickie at The Art House, leaving me little time to get ready for a short break on the Isle of Wight with Bik, but I did get to spend three days looking at another lovely view:


Six days off, with a quick stop back at The Art House on Thursday, was well worth doing – however this week has been very much about hitting the ground running.

We’re short on volunteers at The Art House, big time.  This means our paid crew are having to manage most of the tasks, and Bik and I need to step in with the day-to-day running much more, which limits how much we can do to rectify the situation, which is frustrating.

I am not going to lie, I am feeling rather as if the holiday, however nice, was rather unsuccessful terms of re-energising.  I am totally exhausted today after a week of firefighting various situations!

I know a lot of online gurus harp on about the ease of their lives, running businesses and raising families with nary a knackered moment, but I am not one of those gurus.

My experience of online coaching teamed with running a busy nonprofit art venue, plus a creative practice of my own, in-person teaching and the usual domestic stuff exacerbated by caring for a parrot (not for the fainthearted!) is not one of ease.

I love my life, but it’s more up and down than balanced.

Ease sounds great, but for me it makes most senses to accept the ups and downs, because they don’t seem to be levelling out in my life!

Today, I’ve done more catchup despite promising myself a day off.  I find it hard to relax when there are urgent things to be done, when my team are struggling and when the to-do list is growing.

Much as I know I need time out, I feel caught on what I call the carousel of busy at the moment.

I think it’s the same for many of us:  we take time out, we feel the benefit of not being so damn busy, then we come back to real life and it’s hard to stay off the carousel of things-that-simply-have-to-be-done.

But I know I have work to do on what I call my ‘feast or famine’ problem.

I was raised by two very hardworking (read: probably workaholic!) parents and an extended family, to feel that you only get a reward if you work really hard.

That programming is hard to break.  

So, the week before I went away I worked myself into the ground, and I came back and did more of the same.

It wasn’t how I wanted this week to roll, but it’s how it worked out, anyway.

I thought I’d share how I process completely not-doing-what-I-promised-myself-I’d-do:

1) I am kind to myself about it.  No negative self-talk.  I am human, I am imperfect, that’s OK.

2) I sit with the feelings that come up.  I give them a lot of tenderness and my full attention.

Often, I believe, we go off course because we need to process some stuff.

For me, I need to process this feast-or-famine thing.  It’s no good just saying ‘I don’t want this in my life anymore’ and expecting it to vanish in a puff of smoke.  I have to do the work.  That almost always means bumping up against some uncomfortable feelings and habits.

So be it.

unnamed3) I journal like a MOFO.  Processing things through creative writing, drawing, collage and doodling is massively helpful.

4) I work really hard on not projecting.  When we go off course, it’s really easy to blame it on partners, family, colleagues.  This week, I could easily have decided it was a number of people’s ‘fault’ that I didn’t beat the busy.

Truth is, though, it was me that made all the choices.  Nobody forced me to do anything – I have to own that.

5) I’m honest.  I’m true to my nature. No kidding myself, no kidding those I love, certainly no kidding you lovely folks who are interested enough to read my updates.

Pretending to have it all under control when you don’t is missing out on the real stuff of life. 

Some people think life is too short to get flustered, angry or worried.  Maybe they are right.  It’s also possible that life is too short NOT to feel and express true emotions, that it’s too short not to be faced head-on in all it’s messy glory, the good bits and the bad ones.

It’s too short to spend in a state of forced calm.

Some people are naturally very calm, very centred.  I have never been like that and it’s unlikely I will reach that state.

I don’t think I need fixing, healing or changing into a calm person.  My not-calmness has some massive advantages, along with the downsides.

It’s also good, I think, to share when we feel less than perfect, when we’re a bit messy or not OK.

I think if we all shared when we weren’t OK more often it would lead to much deeper human interaction.  

I don’t mean expecting people to ‘save’ or feel sorry for you, I don’t mean drama-creation by sobbing in a corner, or allowing our moods to impose on other people.

I mean the connection that happens when we go ‘Look, here I am, not perfect, not getting it right all the time’ and being OK with the fact that other people mess up, too.

I like that kind of connection.  I think beauty and general splendidness can come from that.  I think our best creativity comes from all the messy, imperfect bits we’re taught to cover up.

In other news – remember that young cat I rescued and rehomed with a lovely friend of mine?

Turns out she wasn’t one cat but several – I only went and gave somebody a preggers cat!  AAAARG! 


So, we shall be hoping for a smooth and safe delivery of mini-kits any day now.

Here in Jani’s menagerie, the giant land snail has gone into hibernation, but the noisy parrot never even has a nap.  A sick pigeon also managed to find me this week, was taken to the vets (all vets have to treat injured or sick wildlife) but sadly nothing could be done.  At least it didn’t die out in the road where we found it.

So, in a lot of ways, this more challenging than I expected week yielded more treasure than a calm, perfect, unflustered one would have.

I’m still hoping next week is smoother sailing, though, and I’m off to enjoy an afternoon in the sun and some tea and biscuits.

I found this tea – Vanilla Rooibos by Dragonfly Tea, just before we went away.  It’s blinkin’ AMAZING.



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