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Seeking balance

Posted By Lisa On February 3, 2009 @ 8:53 pm In domesticity,general craftiness | 31 Comments

Love the quilt and the sentiment

I’ve got a tendency to obsess.  That’s Neil‘s word, not mine, and while I don’t like the negative connotations of it, I’m at a loss to find another term that fits.  So obsession it is, I guess.  Polymer clay, sewing, knitting, website design…   I love making beautiful things, and I know that sometimes I am driven to do nothing but make beautiful things.  This is a problem.

If there were no such entities as laundry, dishwashing, and sole proprietorships, a fixation with living an artful life might be perfectly acceptable.   The truth is, though, that I neglect these less interesting responsibilities until they get entirely out of hand.  What starts as a few innocent dishes in the sink becomes, within a day or two, a mountain of cups and bowls so high that I can’t even rotate the faucet.  And the stress caused by living among such clutter and unfinished business has me retreating further into the safe, comfortable routine of making things.

…obsessive crafting => ignored responsibilities, clutter, mess & guilt => obsessive crafting to make myself feel better => ignored responsibilities, clutter, mess & guilt…

Oh, friends, this circle is just not good!

This weekend, I was taking a long drive by myself, and I suddenly felt an intense craving for simplicity.  And for true happiness.  I have nearly everything I ever wanted (with one notable exception that I wish I could just. get. over. already) – I should be deliriously happy, really!  But so often I’m just not.  I finally decided that something had to give.  Something had to change.  And the more I considered it, the more I started to feel that Balance was key: Pay more attention to the tedious responsibilities in life, feel more in control of my environment, live with less clutter, feel less guilt, get one step closer to happy delirium.

And so “Balance” has become my mantra.  And my lovely little Mantra Quilt wall-hanging as well.  (Heather of Beauty That Moves made it, and there are more in her shop, if you have a mantra of your own.)  I bought it in the hopes that seeing that word each morning will urge me not to hyperfocus on any one thing for the day.  And since I know myself well enough to realize that I need a little more structure than this pretty but subtle reminder, I’ve started what I like to call Project Balance…

I’m on Day Two now, and so far so good.  I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I work well with a checklist.  I’ve come up with a complex series of task lists spanning different times of day and different types of responsibilities:business, household, personal growth.  The idea is that once I’ve done the things on the lists, then I’m free to spend the rest of my time however I like.  And that includes knitting a big pile of hats, sewing more skirts, or drilling holes in polymer clay buttons, if that’s what I want to do!

Already my house is cleaner, my business is on track, and I am coming to my free time feeling like I really deserve it.  I feel healthier.  Balanced.  And it’s only been two days!  I truly hope that I am still saying this in a week, a month, at the end of the summer, next Christmas, and beyond!  My track record for sticking with things is not so hot, so wish me luck…

So.  How about you?  As long as we’re spilling our guts today, everything ok in your lives?

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