Imeant to post this on 13th May, but somehow didn’t quite get round to it. So here it is a little late, but still relevant!
Quite frequently, I find myself out of balance with myself. How do we achieve balance between earning a living, looking after our health and wellbeing, and stimulating our minds? I frequently look at my lifestyle and feel I should be doing more of one, less of another, and taking more responsibility for my own welfare.
In our household, my husband does most of the cooking and also the shopping. However, he likes red meat a lot more than I do, and I prefer one or two vegetarian meals a week, which he doesn’t. But I also like the convenience of not having to cook in the evening, and he also enjoys cooking, so it seems the ideal solution. But is it? I’ve recently been feeling the need for more fruit and veg than he normally buys, and started getting small mouth ulcers on my tongue or cheek, as well as more aches and pains than I would like in my joints.
Today, I decided to go and do some fruit and veg shopping for me, so I now have blueberries, cherries, red and green grapes, broccoli, carrots, curly kale, green tea, etc, some of it English produce, but the vast majority of it from countries far away – Chile, Costa Rica, Spain, France, Italy – so now I’m concerned about the carbon footprint of what I’m buying! Food that’s supposed to make me feel better now is contributing to a feeling of guilt and my responsibility of contributing to the world’s ecological concerns!
I saw a young soldier on my journey to the supermarket, and that led to my reflecting on priorities in our daily lives and living slower. I know I’ve mentioned it before but I am a member of the Slow Movement and try to make conscious choices about how I live my daily life so as not to allow myself to be rushed into chasing my tail like the oozalum bird…. This young man was dressed in his battle fatigues, really smartly turned out with gleaming boots, smart hair and upright bearing, and it sent my memory back to my Dad polishing our shoes every night as a part of the daily round. He was adamant that he learned a lot from his national service and that everyone should undertake a 2 year service to their country, learning to care for themselves and be proud of who and what they are, making them self-sufficient and useful members of society.
This reflection of taking care of ourselves, spending time polishing boots and buckles, caring for our appearance, then led to another question in my mind. When does taking care of oneself turn into vanity? My Mum would say that care taken with your appearance before going out was good, but that constant checking of oneself whilst out was vanity, and I guess that’s quite a good dividing line. Taking care of yourself also means exercising, and I feel guilty when this subject comes up because I’m not a person who enjoys exercising for exercising’s sake. I can’t stand the competitive (and smelly!) atmosphere in gyms, I hate committing to a week’s regular class and when I did go to a regular yoga class, I was always measuring myself against everyone else! (I had to be the best!!)
As far as weaving and weaving related things go, I’m there! That’s my pleasure as well as my job. And yet it means many solitary hours (which I love) which quite often stretch into the evenings (if my husband is not at home). So perhaps I just need to take time out when having a cup of tea (green, of course!)and work in some simple strengthening and stretching exercises.
Perhaps what I’m trying to work out through this blog is how to strike a balance that seems right for me. It doesn’t matter if it is completely different to everyone else’s – they, after all, are not me! So moderation in eating and drinking, ensuring good quality food from farmers’ markets that are local and only supplementing my food with imported items where the season doesn’t allow them to be in season here, regularly walking Charlie and walking to the local shops, allowing myself the time to do it. In other words, not trying to cram as much into a day as possible (the downside of trying to live each day as if it were your last!) but aiming for one or two goals whilst giving myself the time to live and observe life and nature around me. And above all, not feeling guilty for what I can’t or haven’t achieved, but taking responsibility for my own health and wellbeing.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?! But isn’t it hard to get that balance between individual responsibility and global concerns on an even keel? Everything is so interlinked that every decision we make has consequences. I guess that the only thing we can do is try to make decisions that are right for us as individuals, keeping in mind that we all belong to the global family and that things we do to harm the environment and each other harm us all in the long run! What a responsibility being a human in today’s world carries….