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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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Words of Our Lives

Energizing, satisfying, engaging, introspective, exciting, insightful, smart, current, thoughtful, illuminating, nourishing and colorful. This fall, I found myself standing in front of a wall of words at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. I was immediately drawn to the bright colors, bold graphics and choice of words. I suppose they represented the promise of what the museum was about to offer.

As I entered the museum, I left the words behind. Some paintings were familiar, like old friends. Other exhibits had things I’d never seen before. It was fun and stimulating to see the different galleries.  When something caught my eye, I stopped. Things that didn’t interest me, I passed by. I was selective.

I started to think about how visiting a museum is very much like how we live our lives. There is so much to choose from. There are many things to experience. It doesn’t all make sense or even interest us. Life can even be overwhelming because of the vast amount of choices, so we search for a comfortable balance. We pursue what “catches our eye.”

For me, I’d rather see a little and really enjoy my time, than try to take in everything and become overloaded. Perhaps it has something to do with pacing or maybe it’s a matter of knowing when to say “no.” Finding that right balance takes effort. Sometimes we have to go overboard in one direction before we can bring ourselves back to a place that feels better.

I often hear comments like, “life is so crazy” or “life is so busy.” It’s as if we allow ourselves to visit every gallery and view every painting. We don’t let ourselves be more selective. For me, I’ve figured out that to truly enjoy my experiences, whether it’s being with family, working with clients, visiting a museum or reading a good book, it’s essential that I allow myself time to focus on those things singularly. I don’t try to pile multiple things on one another. I’m like the kid that doesn’t like her peas and carrots to touch. Give me one thing at a time so I can fully enjoy it without any other distractions. Perhaps that’s a bit extreme. Ultimately, you want to find the right life balance and mix that works for you.

The word wall that promised also delivered. My time spent at the museum was energizing, satisfying and colorful. In fact, the wall of words set the tone for the rest of my day in the city. Each experience was enjoyed, one moment at a time.

When do you feel most balanced? How do you know when you’re out of balance?

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Reader Comments (5)

You are absolutely right. I think for a lot of us, we try to juggle too much, we think too much, we do not live in the moment. We do not focus on one part of our life that needs attention, instead we stress our lives, we spend hours reading books and searching for answers. The answer is right there in our innermost mind if we would just listen.


December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWorknMomJournal

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love what you said about listening to our "innermost mind." So often we are moving so quickly that we don't give ourselves the time or space to really hear our voices. Allowing ourselves to do so also helps us be more present.

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Wonderful analogy! It reminded me of a Chinese buffet restaurant that's popular in this area. If you try to sample everything, you end up overstuffed and you really don't remember what you've had, because the different dishes all get mixed together on your plate. But if you choose just a few things you know you'll like, it ends up being a much more enjoyable and satisfying experience. The next time I'm there, I will remember what you said. We tend to think of "balance" as a time issue, but it's really much more encompassing than that.

August 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

That wall of words would call to me too! I love that giving ourselves permission to prioritize is what really makes the difference in balance. Thanks for sharing!

August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

In preparing for an upcoming retreat where I'll be doing a session on "Balance," I went back to reread some posts. I came across this one and discovered your comments from a few years ago that I never responded to. My apologies for the long delay. Love what you both shared.

@Janet- What a great analogy about buffets and our tendency to overstuff. Great observation about balance being more than a "time issue."

@Ellen- Permission to prioritize and be selective...essentials in the balance equation. Thank you for emphasizing that idea.

July 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

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