Today is the autumnal equinox (the first day of fall) in the Northern Hemisphere. What does the equinoxes have to do with dreaming big? For most of the world there are only two days where day and night are in balance. No competition — even steven — 12 hours of each. I think if you want to dream big, you need to have balance in your life. So what are some ways we get out of balance?
I was asked by a colleague one time, “How do you balance teaching and being a single mom?” I replied something like, “I don’t. When I am at work, I am guilty because I wasn’t able to get my son breakfast or go to his school field trip. When I am with my son, I feel guilty that I’m not getting my papers graded or doing research for my lesson plans.”
In the decades that followed that conversation, I learned to live in the now and to balance work and home. The balance was more than making sure the two sides were equal. If you keep putting the same amount of weight on opposite sides of a seesaw — eventually the board in the middle will snap in two. This happens with people too. People keep adding expectations to their days until eventually they snap.
Breaking The Closet Rule
There is a rule to keeping your closet clean. If you buy a new item of clothing, you must get rid of an item of clothing. This works for life too. At least if you want to fulfill that Big Dream. If you take on a new project, you need to get rid of an old project. There are only so many hours in the day.
Say your day is perfectly balanced between the hours needed to write the best-selling novel that has always been your dream — your family — sleeping — chores — recreation — spiritual practice — eating… And your pastor finds out you’re a writer and asks you to write the church bulletin. If you say, “yes” and give nothing up — I hope you enjoy stress. Stress and guilt aren’t part of the Big Dream. If you say, “yes” what are you going to give up? Most often when people take on a new project that is not part of their dream — the time they set aside to fulfill their dream diminishes. Now you’ve shown the world that your best-selling novel isn’t a priority and by the Law of Attraction, I can guarantee you’re going to have more people calling up and asking you to take on a project for them. People might think you’re a great person but don’t expect to see your face on the jacket of your book.
Your life is now like an over-stuffed closet — somewhere among all those outdated — wrong sized clothes is your favorite shirt. But after pawing through 25 items of clothes you don’t even like, you give up.
10 Items or Fewer Grocery Line
I’ve gotten in the express lane at the grocery store and stood waiting 10 – 15 minutes for one person to be checked out. This person has a broad interpretation of what ONE item is. Item one is ten cans of cat food. Item two is 3 dozen eggs. Item three is seventeen cans of beans…. Item ten is eight bags of chips. In their head, as long as it is all cat food — no matter how many cans — then that is one item.
If you’re not finding the time to pursue your dream — check your item list for the day. If you’ve balanced your day with write my novel and on the other side do the housework — something is not getting done. Your one item — housework — is really: laundry, vacuuming, dusting, mopping, make the bed, dishes, clean the cat litter, scrub the bathroom…. I’m tired just typing out this incomplete list. These things need to be done sometimes but if they are not part of fulfilling your Big Dream, see where you can back off a bit. Great Aunt Maggie has not haunted me because I don’t do hospital corners on ironed sheets for a bed that gets made while it is still warm from where I slept. And dust bunnies actually start looking cute if you give them names.
I’ll keep this simple: solitaire on the computer, TV marathons of re-runs of your favorite show, gossip, getting drunk and staying in bed the entire day with a hangover… spending hours worrying about something you have to do a week from now…. I’ll let you decide if I listed these out of personal experience.