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The Joy and Discipline of Balance

Emails and phone calls poured in from friends and colleagues congratulating me on a job well done. Over and over, I was acknowledged for the sacrifices I made since August while volunteering for my chosen Presidential candidate. I gave up the daily walks that feed my soul, precious time with good friends, cooking healthy food and enjoying meals with my family, and the eight hours of sleep my body craves. You might say that I exerted maximum discipline to stay on target.

Yet the day after the election, exhilarated and exhausted, I was struck by a different perspective. A TV commentator spoke of President-Elect Obama’s discipline, working out at the gym every morning during his campaign and talking to his daughters every evening.

I was fascinated with the realization that my choice to say “no” to everything else was actually easier than juggling multiple priorities. It would have taken greater discipline to maintain balance, to apply at least some of my time and energy to what matters most to me.

As I enjoyed a long, leisurely post-election walk, I found myself chuckling: I realized that my ego had had a great run. Like the workaholic days of old, my self-importance was cheering, feeling all pumped up from having contributed to a great achievement. With all the sacrifices I had made, gosh, you might even say I was running for the office of martyrdom!

I wonder how the experience might have been different if I had employed a discipline of balance and continued to give ample time to my body, mind and spirit during the campaign. I made a pact with myself to find out. Next time.

With Thanksgiving still visible in my rear-view mirror, I reflect on all that I am grateful for, including the extraordinary support of my husband and friends that made my singular focus such a joyful (albeit intense) experience. I am thankful for my business partners who continued to share our wellness approach so that I could give time to my community. And I am grateful for the challenge to exercise a discipline of balance the next time my passion drives me towards a singularity of purpose.

May you feel an abundance of gratitude for all of the many gifts (obvious and not) and for the Presence in your life.

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