Warn­ing: Spir­i­tu­al Mes­sage Ahead

The Violent Volcano

Trey Rat­cliff via Comp­fight

 If you’re any­thing like me you’re on a con­stant mis­sion to cre­ate bal­ance in your life.

God? Chil­dren? Spouse? Work? Home? Health? Writ­ing? Self? In that order. Out of order. With poten­tial­ly a bunch of oth­er stuff added to the mix. Yeah?

A few morn­ings ago while dri­ving into work, traf­fic as insane as ever, know­ing the day ahead would be hec­tic, know­ing that I would not be able to accom­plish every­thing before clock­ing out, not hav­ing had my morn­ing cof­fee yet, and deep down wish­ing I’d just called off from work and feigned ill­ness, I had a lit­tle bit of a pan­ic attack.

Heart rac­ing. Head hurt­ing. Brow and palms sweat­ing.

I tapped through the library of pod­casts and songs on my iPod and couldn’t find any­thing that I want­ed to lis­ten to. So I turned it off. I start­ed to zikr, which for my non-Mus­lim friends means that I did some­thing akin to recit­ing the rosary. As I was talk­ing to God, I reflect­ed on two things that had occurred before leav­ing for work.

  1. I received an email from some­one who recent­ly read my book and loved it. It was a most love­ly wel­come sur­prise to know that some­thing I wrote touched some­one to such an extent that they want­ed to reach out to me. How awe­some is that?
  2. After read­ing the email I checked my book’s Ama­zon page to see if per­haps this love­ly per­son left a review. There was a new review but not by the per­son who wrote the let­ter. The per­son who wrote the review thought my book was mediocre at best giv­ing it a 2/5 star rat­ing. My first and only 2 star rat­ing.

I wasn’t bummed out by this. I long ago fig­ured it would hap­pen one day. And quite frankly I’m so new to all of this that I’m just hap­py some­one read An Unpro­duc­tive Woman and thought enough to write a review at all.

I reflect­ed on these two things and held them up in my mind as a sort of life metaphor. Each opin­ion about my book, both valid in their own right, exist­ing on oppo­site ends of the spec­trum. Me tee­ter­ing in the mid­dle. Me try­ing to bal­ance.

I’m not qual­i­fied to deter­mine what if any­thing God meant for me to glean from this suc­cess and fail­ure to reach my read­ers. For­tu­nate­ly, I did gain some­thing though.

  • No mat­ter how hard I may try, I will still be imper­fect.  But, that’s okay because Per­fect Is the Ene­my of Done.
  • I can’t please every­one with my writ­ing so I may as well please myself by cre­at­ing some­thing that at least I find worth in.
  • I can find the mid­dle ground in this life that often feels like noth­ing but extremes, if I try real­ly real­ly hard or just take it easy.

I also start­ed to think about the best review I’ve ever got­ten. It was four stars rather than five. The per­son who reviewed my book expressed true sup­port for my efforts in writ­ing my fresh­man nov­el and gave some very con­struc­tive feed­back that while not total­ly glow­ing, was still 100% pos­i­tive.  I feel as if I gained more from that one review than the review­er ever could have gained from read­ing my book. That review felt like bal­ance. That review is the one I always go back to when I need a boost, some affir­ma­tion that I am doing okay at this writ­ing thing and that I should keep at it.

For­tu­nate­ly, attacks of anx­i­ety don’t hap­pen to me often, but when they do, it’s usu­al­ly at times when I feel off kil­ter, when there are too many things to do, too many demands and not enough time or ener­gy.  Times when I’ve fall­en off that cen­ter line into the land of extremes.

I ought to have awe­some core strength, you know, because this bal­anc­ing thing is hard work.

What do you do to cre­ate bal­ance?