April 1. 2015.Good Morning. I am currently sitting at the "round table in my roomies garage writing and drinking my coffee. I know a strange phenomen hanging out in a garage, it's definitely a Texas thing:) but, it is nice on a cloudy-rainy day. Having the sounds and sights of the great outdoors as I type this last of the choosing balance over chaos series. I do hope you participated in the two little questions I asked yesterday. Here they are again: A. What is a seemingly ordinary moment in your life that gave you a heaping dose of insight that you still carry with you? B. What is your idea of balance in life vs. chaos? I also asked for a little inventory of what you came up with as for today I will share mine.
Yesterday, I shared my answer to question A. How a ordinary moment can yield such insight that I still continue to carry it with me to this very day, Choosing balance over Chaos. To consciously choose this simple formula has created such great growth in my life.
Balance vs. Chaos.
Balance: What does it look like for me? Focus, Prayer. Pushing through fear and resistance to change. Making a balance of time for myself and others. Selflessness. Striving to eat healthy. Exercising. Good Sleep. Self acceptance in the moment. Being creative. Pure Intention.
Chaos: What does it look like for me? Avoidance. Being withdrawn *I have a huge tendency to withdraw from others. Spending too much time by myself. Definitely a part of my only child syndrome:) Selfishness. Overindulgence. Making assumptions. Living by my feelings alone. Lack of focus. Jealousy. Envy. A fleeting sense of entitlement.
I know it is naturally hard to look at our faults and take a honest assessment. God knows it kills me each time to see that ugly side of myself. But, once I finally did and still do. It's freeing. It allows growth, love and change to happen. Balance is then allowed to come into your life and take over the chaos. It doesn't happen overnight and it is a constant daily choice. At first is so difficult, but it does get easier. I promise.
Now with all this talk, it is time for some intention and action. Scary I know, I am right there again as well. I wouldn't be writing this series if I wasn't. But, today I will be ending this series with the Creme de la Creme of two final questions that will bring A-C-T-I-O-N into motion.
A. What triggers chaos in your life? My answer is lack of routine and prayer. Since moving here to Austin, TX. I have yet to find my routine. Not just any routine. I am speaking of a healthy one. Since being here I have chose some not great routines. Drinking and eating whatever seems good in the moment. Overindulging and allowing others lifestyles choices become mine. Please know I am not blaming anyone. I am adult and can make my own choices. But, last evening I was watching the Movie Enough Said (Great movie by the way) with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. There is a scene in the movie where she (Eva) is celebrating her daughters Graduation at a dinner with her ex-husband, his new wife and some of their mutual friends. The tension is there of course, but how couldn't it be...and it doesn't help that uncomfortable relationship questions come up and Eva instantly goes into defense mode. Then the waiter appears, which seems like a temporary breath of relief. But then her ex-husband requests for the dinner roll basket to be refilled. A normal request by any standards yet Everyone at the table says no, but he still insists that the waiter fill it just in case. Eva then goes off, "Why would you do that when you know I can't resist eating them?". Then the conversation goes into overindulgence and how Eva never could say no and how her ex-husband "sacrificed" not having those kind of things around. Of course the new wife chimes in saying nonchalantly with a dash of pride, she is never tempted to over eat. Ugh, that whole scene made feel as if it was a flashback. This is me. I choose not to have those kind of triggers around and when they are it is a spiral effect. I usually can't resist when I am life chaos mode. This why a routine filled life is necessary (food choices planned and in order) I need to feel like I have control.
Another trigger of chaos in my life is lack of prayer. When I don't take the time to be centered in faith and have that daily prayer dialogue. Things get crazy for me. Old habits reappear.
B. When were you in Balance and what were the life fruits of it? I do hope you are in balance mode:) I myself again am in the midst of getting back to it again. It definitely is a process and helps to recollect when I last was... I was working and living with my dear friends Mother Milada. Oh how do I miss her and her 83 year old wisdom and perspective. We had quite a routine together and learned so much about balance. First of all she taught me the art of eating well and moderation. I learned how to cook healthy meals and the importance of appropriate indulgences. She even taught me by her example to set goals with exercise. Each day upstairs she would walk around with her walker as I followed her. Cheering her on those daily 8-10 times around. I know it sounds like a little amount of walking, but to her it was big! I learned that any amount was better than none and we each need to push ourselves that extra mile or lap. But, what she taught me most of all. Is the importance of prayer and hope. Each night we would pray the rosary together. It was quite honestly the highlight of each of our days together and afterwards would lead to the most remarkable of conversations.
In those conversations is where some of the biggest fruits of living in balance were revealed to me. If you were to look at Milada's current circumstances and the abundant life she had been given. Being married to a world renowned Cardiologist (and she is a Doctor herself), having a beautiful family full of love, her dream home and amazing life that her and Her beloved husband created together. Then the Travel and experiencing people, places and things that others could only dream of including myself. But, It wasn't always that way, she had a modest yet very loving upbringing in Prague, then cruelly interrupted by the horrors of Hitlers regime. Including the imprisonment of her own father by the 3rd Reich. Once World War II was over and life seemed to get back to normal, she met the most wonderful Young man, who like her had a strong faith. They both began to enjoy a deep friendship that eventually blossomed into love. During their courtship they attended church often together and also attended the same Catholic Youth Group. Oh, how I loved hearing her tell these stories. Seeing her face light up remembering the dear Doctor and their first moments together. Milada also always told the other parts of their story...how Unfortunately that young man, though born in the Czech Republic was also a US citizen. Once the communists took over, he needed to leave the country for his own safety. He was so torn to leave without her and vowed that they would be reunited again.
In the months after his departure, Milada still continued to go to the Catholic Youth Group despite the warnings from the communist government. She found such comfort and peace with her fellow friends at the meetings. Then one day, the warnings became reality. She was arrested for being a possible enemy of the state. She then experienced 18 months of solitary confinement that included constant interrogation, harassment and torture. After that she was sentenced to 8 years in a labor camp. By the Grace of God she was eventually released after four years to attend her Fathers Funeral and never went back. Thus began her own life of finding balance and not allowing the chaos of others dictate her life.
What I learned from the fruits of her experience and sharing the most intimate details of the horror she went through...was finding hope in the most discouraging of circumstances. Some that we don't have control over. Prayer kept her alive and even thriving. Her mind and heart became her only sacred sanctuary. She grew strength in the knowledge that God would not abandon her and even if he had brought her to this very ugly place. She never gave up... She kept on going. She learned to be resourceful and uncompromising in these most dire of situations. She also experienced what true hunger was and living with the lack of the physical things we "need" most. These lessons she shared with me became a game-changer.
Anything is possible. Striving to live in Balance is a constant commitment to living the best version of yourself. It has its beautiful moments, but it is never easy. You will fall, but will also get up again as I am now. The weight and health journey encompasses so much more. It is a whole life package, not individual sections. Are you ready to choose balance over chaos? I know I am. Please join me.
*If you interested in knowing more about Milada's journey. Here is a wonderful article written by Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz, Love Will Wait for the National Catholic Register last year.