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Wednesday, 20 May 2015


   I set a priority for myself to seek greater balance in my life when this year, 2015, began.  However, I have to say I have made only little progress in this pursuit. Most of it has come the hard way.
   Lack of balance, quite literally poor posture and lack of attention to the load my back and shoulders were regularly carrying, resulted in a neck strain.  Since our bodies are so interconnected, one of my arms started going numb, tingly and painful at regular intervals during the day.  This discomfort demanded that I address the imbalance.  Instead of carrying heavy bags which pull my shoulders forward, I now use a back pack or a cart to transport school books. With the help of a physiotherapist and her practical exercises, that area of imbalance is pretty much resolved.
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   A second area of imbalance came from the bad habit of eating my lunch on the run whenever I was teaching.  When it doesn't fit into my schedule, I forget to eat lunch until after 3:00.   I could ignore my body's signals to eat, and I often forget to drink also.  That lack of care for my body's needs led me to develop a kidney stone in April.  I had heard reports about how painful a kidney stone can be; a few times I did cry because of the pain. Thankfully I only missed one day of work and managed with ibuprofen for pain until it passed seven days later.  Now I carry a water bottle and force myself to drink from it throughout the day.  I am trying to sit in the staff lounge with my snacks and lunch to restore balance, but it does not happen every day.
   I cannot blame anyone else for working me too hard; it is my driven personality that focuses on being "productive."  I did not learn this from my parents.  Growing up on a farm, lunch and breaks were always taken together as a family with Dad there too.  Conversation and fellowship were just as important as the Gouda cheese, sliced ham and home-made bread.  However, already then, part of me felt that an hour-long lunch was extravagant and that taking a nap would prevent all the work from being completed.  (I did not realize then how a nap gave my parents the stamina to keep going with the demands of a busy farm and busy kids.)
   I cannot blame my job for this lack of balance either.  It precedes my employment as a teacher.  In 2008 when I was a stay-at-home mom and occasional supply teacher, I entered a writing contest for my local newspaper.  As one of over a dozen chosen for a Community Editorial Board, I was required to write an opinion piece each quarter about an issue that had a local connection.  Due to my intensity and concern about having my writing be placed out there for the scrutiny of thousands of people, I developed a case of shingles around the time of my first deadline.  My husband sometimes reminds me of this incident when I am working too hard.
   My greatest ally in the desire to live a more balanced life has to be my husband.  He provides subtle accountability just by his gentle presence at home.  Because we try to have a time of devotions and prayer every night before bed, I don't stay up later than is good for me.  When I'm worried about something and can't sleep, he's never upset when I wake him up and ask for help.  He reminds me that I can't add more tasks to my life without subtracting something.  He encourages me to take breaks from computer work.

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