Let me start by saying I don't know how to juggle...knives that is. Or bowling pins that are on fire. Or even tennis balls for that matter.
But. I am learning how to juggle some more practical things, like a full time job, a side hustle (or two!), a clean house, a full belly, meaningful relationships, good health and fitness, finances, achieving goals, planning for the future, living in the present, keeping my plants alive, learning to bake, writing blogs, and basically all the things that go into a life in the 21st century in a culture that demands so much.
And wanting to do them artfully.
With some finesse.
All these things are in a delicate balance, a rhythm. And when we're first thrown into this 'adulting' thing it is not exactly clear how to handle it all, let alone do so with style. And from what I hear, even with some tenure in the adulting game, it doesn't get easier.
Most of the time it is a constant catch-up, each facet of life calling for different things from you all at once. Try as you might to be ubiquitous and mindful, details get forgotten, steps get skipped, you find yourself eating ice cream on the couch instead of doing anything productive because ughhh life feels so hard sometimes.
But with some mindful attention you can learn to juggle the different needs of your life.
We'll work on the knives once we got this basic stuff down.
Upon further consideration there are quite a few different things to keep in balance.
Let me be honest right here:
There is no special equation.
There is no magic formula (at last not as it pertains to this discussion.)
And, it seems to me, that is the point.
If we knew all of the answers it wouldn’t be as exhilarating to go along for the ride. It’s like when you watch a movie you’ve seen before and you’re less vested or interested than you were the first time because you already know whats going to happen. There's no more surprise, no more suspense. You don’t buy into the characters or story as much because you already know exactly how it ends.
There is an important link to notice here between this movie example and our own lives. We are vested precisely because we do not know how our story ends. The drama, the unknown, that’s what keeps it interesting. The process of learning how to juggle is more interesting than the end result.
And it doesn't stop there.
Life has so many layers.
I finally get a good routine in place for grocery shopping and meal prepping and then, bam, schedule change. Try and write a monthly blog, organize it, plan it, edit it, go through all the steps. Nope. Procrastination wins every time. I swear I just did the laundry yesterday but already can’t find anything to wear, plus a basket of folded clothes awaits some attention. Did I mention mopping is my least favorite chore? Haven’t called Dayna in like 2 weeks, should probably call her and catch up. When is the last time I watered the plants? Did I submit the invoice to MWS for payment? Did I send the rent check? Where in the hell did I park my car?!
I think you get the point.
There are like a million things that my brain is keeping track of. All at once.
And some things fall into black holes, slip through the cracks, lost in the imploding chaos of the mind.
And yet, we go on.
It all seems to get done. Or not. But we keep going.
The point here being. That life is a game of juggle. With yourself. Forever unfolding its layers, revealing new information, presenting surprising challenges, flowing with the moment exactly as it is. Sometimes you’re playing with harmless tennis balls, and it’s okay if they fall all over the place. And sometimes you’re testing out the bowling pins, finding the particular nuance of the shape and its relationship to gravity. Sometimes you take a risk and start to juggle knives. Maybe one at first, and you get the hang of it, and add another, then another.
And you start to come into the rhythm.
You surprise yourself.
You’re doing it.
You’re in the Tao of juggling.
Then suddenly a curveball from left field.
You’ve got three knives in the air, feeling confident in your ability, in your progress, in your flow, and here comes an unsolicited blazing bowling pin. Right at your face.
And your jaw drops open.
And the knives fall on the ground and prick you a couple times on their way down.
And the bowling pin hits you in slow-mo like a movie.
And you have no idea what’s going on.
And you’re like, “wut?”
And that’s it.
Juggling it all.
It’s a kind of game.
And we each have so many balls up in the air, carefully coordinating the toss from hand to hand. We crossing the balls in new patterns and simultaneously build our confidence. We test out heavier things, and lighter. And oblong, and textured, and smelly. And baking. And blogging. And working full time. And painting. And saving money. And picking up a side hustle (or two!) And calling your friends on their birthdays. And taking the trash out before it turns into a tiny kitchen landfill. And meditating daily. And being wholeheartedly present with loved ones. And being grateful. And taking care of yourself.
There is no special equation.
We each must be mindful of the different tennis balls in our lives, and the various patterns they take. And we must be aware of the bowling pins, and the knives, and the spitballs, and the anvils, and just be prepared. For whatever comes. And for whatever goes.
And adapt our rhythm.
And come into the Tao.
And little by little it comes.
We start to pay attention and suddenly the patterns cease to evade us. We notice the subtle details we’d callously overlooked.
We outgrow our 3 tennis ball juggle, and somewhere deep down, we know we’ve gotta step it up.
Pull out the metaphorical blazing bowling pin and toss it up.
Maybe get a little burned.
Definitely refine the practice.
When the student is ready the teacher will appear.
Step into the seat of student.
Let life teach you its lessons.
Through the multitude of objects it throws at you and expects you to learn to flow with.
And the giant watermelon.
And the tough day at work.
And. And. And.
And little by little you learn.
How to Juggle it All