Monday, November 9, 2009

How do you...

...make sure you take time to smell the flowers? How do you stay balanced in everything you do? I really want to know!

I have a hard time with this - there's so much I want to do, so much I am interested in that I could split myself into four people and still be busy with everything. I find that it's difficult for me to do a little bit of everything every day. You know, that old dilemma of breadth vs. depth...

That means that I'll have a knitting and crocheting phase, when I don't do much else. Then I start painting again and that will take up my time. Last weekend, for example, I finally picked up a book again (first time in weeks) and did a lot of reading. It was wonderful. I finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and loved it! But, while we did much outside and took advantage of the beautiful weather...I did no knitting, no blogging, no e-mail even, didn't talk with friends or family, painted a little bit, but not much, didn't visit any of your blogs, etc.

You get the picture, right? The problem is that I love it all, but each interest could be a full-time endeavor. And I didn't even talk about cooking, entertaining, housework, walking Winslow, etc.

As we get into my most favorite fall and winter seasons, I want to make sure that I savor life, that I enjoy all I do, that I have time to tune in to shorter days, cooler temperatures and the quiet strength of winter. I want to get that feeling of introspection and stillness that is so different from the feeling of hectic panic so often experienced the closer with get to the holidays!

So, my question to you is this: How do YOU do it? How do you stay balanced? How you do make sure you have time for everything that's important to you and for yourself? How do stay healthy and happy during this time? I'd really love to know!!

P.S. One tip I have for you readers out there who find themselves short on reading time - audio books! I always have one on my MP3 player and love it! And that's what I'm going take advantage of now -- listen to The Thrall's Tale by Judith Lindbergh and travel to Greenland in my mind while getting the house in order!

P.P.S. Some of you are asking about the audio books - I find the best source for them to be our public library! They have them as tapes, CD's and even MP3 downloads. A huge selection of both fiction and non-fiction!

(today's harvest from our little garden)

Well, I've gotten some wonderful comments from you all that have been incredibly helpful! Most of you were telling me to just do what strikes my fancy, what's right in front of me, enjoy doing that and then go on to the next thing. That's exactly what I did today - I just took care of stuff, one after the other, and pretty soon I had lots done, the pressure lifted and then I had time to relax and knit for a while.

I also realized that this isn't really a problem at all - because my dilemma is a very positive one. My dad wrote an e-mail to me saying that he still feels that way - never enough time in the day to do all the wonderful things we want to do. And how important it is to just enjoy what we are doing in the moment and not think about all the other things that are waiting to be explored, to be done, to be created. Let's hope life stays that full for all of us for a very long time!!

Thank you for being my friends!!!


  1. Silke, I don't see anything wrong with the way you're doing things now. If you concentrate on one thing, like reading, for a weekend or a few days, what's wrong with that? I think you are doing great!

    When my days are completely unstructured, as they have been for awhile, I try to check off a few things on my To Do list (writing projects, housecleaning, whatever), and then the rest of my day I just do what I want to do! And if I'm not inpsired to do much, then I don't. But I have always walked to the beat of a different drummer, so... I'm sure my way is not the norm!

    Do remember one thing: You never get it done! There will always be more, more, more that you want to do. I guess my philosophy is to follow the energy & go wherever you are inspired to go.

    Thanks for the post! Happy Monday!

  2. I really do try to many ideas pulling me..some just have to wait their turn at me. Great idea about audio books. I must do that. I love to read and have all but quit because I won't give up and go to bed till near midnight and then can't stay awake to read. Where do you get yours?

  3. Hi! Some great ideas already coming my way! I love it!! Especially today, as my To Do list is quite long and I want to have time for the fun stuff as well...

    As to the audio books, I get mine at the local public library. They usually have a huge selection! Ours has selections of tapes, CD's or online MP3 downloads. I love it!!

    Keep the good ideas comin'. Hugs, Silke

  4. Hi Silke!!! wonderful read....I stay balanced by taking time for just me once and a today ...I am taking the day off...and will do whatever I feel like...I find that working out of my studio tends to make me work long hours ...longer than you would imagine....but taking the time to have a work life balance is very I have to remind myslef every once and a while...

    but today you reminded me!!!!


  5. Silke! What a wonderful Monday read..thank you for this! It's is one of my tenets in life to "stop and smell the flowers". I actually dedicated my company name to my little puppy who would remind me to get up out of my chair and walk's that for a good reminder to stop working so hard?! : ) Anyway, I listen to the radio while I paint or are the 2nd person this week to speak of audio books and I will definitely do that. They say the library is a good place to go for them too..have you found that to be the case? As for the holidays, I try to plan early with gifts and menu and try to sprinkle in little things starting now (like baking pumpkin pies, etc.) so that towards the craziness of the holidays, I at least know that I've had my share of Fall goodness. And, I try to online shop so that I don't have to worry about items not available at the crowded malls. I then finally sketch before falling asleep. For now, that is what balances me. I am so happy that you've asked this question! I will be back to see how everyone else does it..and I think you have a great balance, Silke. Have a wonderful season ahead! Shirley

  6. I am pretty balanced Silke. For me it is more that my ego is pretty balanced and I find other things just fall in line.

    I also have come to know over the last five years that shit happens and it can through you all over the map but if you can get centered you can be okay.

    So being centered is important and if I throw myself into only one activity for days, well that is fine, it is just an activity.

    Love Renee xoxo

  7. i don't know that balance is the answer - if we spend our time scurrying around trying to do it all, we will always feel like some aspect of the life is shortchanged. does that make sense? so...i take things as i can get to them - enjoy what i can and do as much as i can do of the 'have to's'. i think the word balance a bit of a guilt trip we put upon ourselves.

  8. Oh...I have no idea how to maintain balance. I'm very like you, in that one thing will consume me and my interest and time and all else will fall by the wayside. I've tried--finally at forty-something--to make peace with this. There's a line in a song by Bjork that says something to the effect that life is so full of everything and she wants to touch and taste it all. That's how I feel. Losing my parents has made me relish even those moments when one thing consumes me and everything else is neglected.Perhaps it's because we're ruled by creative passions and passion isn't really a balanced thing. I say, do what makes you happy and fulfilled at that moment. If it's all knitting; or all painting; or all reading...that's okay. They're all wonderful, aren't they...

  9. Balance? I work really hard and take care of my mother so that makes balance difficult and something I constantly crave. A break from work this weekend meant time to help out at the rabbit rescue, dinner with friends,baking,a movie, and finally time to play with art! I find something in every day that makes me smile (often your blog!) and that helps.

  10. To me, the daily tasks/chores that take up the bulk of my day and must be done are always given the highest priority. Once accomplished, I like to do whatever I feel interested in at any given moment. If I don't feel like reading, I may not read for a month. If reading strikes my fancy I might allow it to become all consuming for the next two months.

    I once spent over a week, every spare moment, trying to learn how to build a fire using a bow and drill that I had collected from the forest. It was one of the most frustrating tasks I have ever undertaken, try as I might I could not produce but a little smoke. But, finally it happened...a fire! Exhilarating. That one moment was easily worth the many that it took for me to get to that point.

    I "try" really hard to focus and enjoy every nuance of every thing that I am doing, especially the tasks that I am not particularly fond of.

    Sometimes I think of strange things, especially if I find myself complaining about something. For example, what if I were paralyzed? What I would not give for the feeling of the cold hard earth between my cracked dry fingers, sweat on my brow, and a sore back...I would do anything to be able to experience those things, things that might otherwise be an annoyance.

    To me depth usually trumps breadth, but not always. Once in a while I truly enjoy the thrill of having multiple tasks going at once. It's all about perspective.

  11. hi silke! firstly, thank you so much for assuming that i have balance in my life!! :))) you and i are so much alike....i want to do it all, too!! for me, the secret is writing it down. one year i actually took a blank calendar for the month of december and wrote everything down that i needed to do/wanted to do. it sounds tedious, but surprisingly, it all fit in.....since i'm such a visual person, being able to "see" it work was the key! and i'm guessing that you're a lot more balanced than you think you are! hugs, :))

  12. I am presently 'metamorphing' this aspect of my life. What I am doing:
    1. I have been working on getting my house down to nothing but a bed, a table, and a couch.
    2. All kids stuff has been cut out. It has to be something that they beg to do, and not just kinda' thinkin' about it. Most of the time, the answer is no. They actually love having more free time too.
    3. I cook on Saturday for two weeks. (You can make one big batch of spaghetti sauce, as well as one. Then freeze it.)
    4. When I feel myself get wound up about something that is looming. I refuse to let it get to me. I take 2 seconds to see if its what I really want to do. (Do I really want watch that tv show. Do I really want to go to that baby shower?) It helps me filter.
    5.I no longer look over homework with a fine tooth comb. I look at report cards. As long as my child is making a "D" and above, I am cool. (Its works..I have 1 with a with a BA...and one just graduated.) I save myself the stress of yelling and caring on, when they are really doing what they want to do, or be interested in anyway. Things are a lot happier. Children are natural learners. I instill the "love of Learning" instead of the rote memory for a test.
    This is just a start of my changes, after I have lost 8 people in my life this past year. I have had my life under a Hubble size microscope!

  13. Hi Silke,

    This is a terrific question. I don't know that I have an answer that will work for you. But I find that if I make sure my needs are taken care of, and the needs of my family are taken care of, the rest falls into place.

    Although I haven't been reading as many novels as I'd like, I have been reading books about art, so I am reading quite a lot. Instead of worrying about what I'm not doing, I try to fully enjoy and commit myself to what I am doing, whether it's making dinner, painting, crocheting, or whatever.

    I must admit, it took me a long time to get to this point, because I spent years worrying about what I wasn't doing. But since there are only 24 hours in a day, you can't do everything each day and do it well.

    It sounds to me like you fit quite a lot into each day already.


  14. Great question Silke! I listen to audiobooks when I paint by the way. And sometimes I just skip all the "must do" things and just enjoy the moment. I have a lot in my head and heart that I want to do, but it is not easy to find the time for everything. I try to make a "to do" list when I go to bed (only creative things) and if there is something I didn´t have the time to do I just put it on the list for the next day. I can also write down why I didn`t have the time to do that certain thing. Maybe I can then see that I used too much time watching tv or surfing the internet! It helps me organize my creativity ;) Hugs, Annika

  15. I used to feel scattered by all the different avenues I can walk on one given day, homelife, drawing, polymer clay, writing, knitting, etc. and would even feel like I was spinning to many plates as I walked the avenues, (now that's a visual, huh?) But, what I realized was as soon as I dropped the "should's" and let my heart lead me, with certain goals in mind,it clarified so many things for me. No longer do I see my compulsive reading, creating and doing as going down separate avenues, now I see them as part of the balance. I want to sit on a stool with more than one leg. I want to know that sometimes a trip to the yarn store helps me realize the paints I want to focus on and all the doubt falls away, because I remember that I am drawn to those pinks, aquas and limes. I know that when I set a thought like what do I want from this creative endeavor, that part becomes clearer and then the polymer clay is my fun, not my selling work. Or my knitting is my down time and my texture time, not my soul work. Well, you see that I can relate and I know this dilemma so often. Your brain is grand and wants to express itself in many ways, let it, but definitely without the "should's" and then all is balanced and clear. Brilliance bends time and you have that dear friend, you have that, so listen to your soul. Blessings.

  16. This reminded me of a post I did a while back...As I checked each and every little flower as I do every single morning
    before I head into my cyber world of work,
    I realized . . .

    I AM living my dream.
    I just live it in between . . .
    Step One: I am as free as I allow myself to be.