Sunday, April 19, 2015

Finding Middle Ground

In honor of my birthday this month (55 this week), I'm joining a book club with a few of my fitness friends.  We're reading Goddesses Never Age by Dr. Christine Northrup.


 Dr. Northrup encourages us to enjoy the pleasures of this life - with a few parameters.

You don't have to swear off chocolate, rich foods, or alcohol completely to be a goddess of pleasure . . .  The key is ritual. If you slow down and mindfully indulge in the ritual . . . your body will experience that food, drink . . . differently than it would if you consumed it while on the run – or if you used it as a means of distracting yourself from your anger or sadness. In a ritual, you consume consciously. . .  If you're going to have some chocolate cake, don't purchase some highly processed or cheap version. Buy or make the best quality treat, sit down in a comfortable place of beauty and grace and pay attention as you slowly savor it. Again, make it a ritual. 

She goes on to make an interesting distinction between moderators and abstainers. 

Moderators are able to enjoy a small bowl of ice cream and leave it at that. Abstainers find that one bowl of ice cream inevitably leads to finishing off the carton, and one cookie is never enough. Abstainers tend to do best when they abstain from all sugar for five or six days per week, leaving a day or two for eating whatever they want. 

I LOVE chai tea lattes, but with sugar and milk, they are an indulgence for me. Now I have them on Tuesdays and Thursdays after yoga class, my ritual. I splurge and enjoy them from my very favorite coffeehouse, often with a friend.  


I think this difference, between moderation and abstinence, applies to more than food.

I tend to be an all-or-none kind of person. If I'm in, I'm all in. I seldom do anything half-way, leaning quite naturally toward perfectionism.  I'm practicing yoga these days, and on my very first time, I stopped after class to ask the instructor a question regarding the breathing techniques.  Without hesitation, she began her response, "Well, for type A people like you . . . "  Apparently, I am quite transparent!


So here I am in my fifties, trying to discern a more balanced way of life. I often feel as if I'm on a sew-saw. But instead of effortlessly moving up and down with the natural rhythm, I'm either high in the air, feet swinging or plopping on the ground with a thud.

In the sorting process of this stage of life (I've cleaned the closets, the bookshelves, and decluttered again), I've pondered how to best proceed with blogging, too.

Here's what I know: I need a place to share my photographs. I need to show my work. I enjoy the interaction with friends who share my passion. I am honored that readers take the time to find my blog, read what I have to say, and look at my pictures. And I want to do the same for them.

But sometimes I feel overwhelmed, trying to do it all. And sometimes the requirements of blogging are at odds with other priorities in my life. For example, over the last year or so, I've maintained a 20 pound weight loss.  I was well on my way to diabetes, which runs in my family, and suffered with terrible acid reflux. A healthy lifestyle is high on my list.  But it's hard to get in those 10,000 steps a day if my bottom is glued to a chair in front of a keyboard and monitor.


Because real life demands attention, I've been considering how to best proceed with blogging.  Better to have a set schedule for blog posts?  Disable comments? Link-up with friends or not?

Honestly, the "old" me, would have thrown her hands up in the air and just turned the blog off. If she couldn't have all her pots in a row, she'd just as soon have none.


But, the "new and improved" version of me, is open to moderation. But moderation needs a strategy. Without clear boundaries, old habits will always win. The more specific an activity or goal is, the more likely I will be to do it.


I won't pretend I have those boundaries figured out just yet.

How to balance the rich bouquet of life . . .



. . . with the need for quiet and reflection


. . . and how to make the best use of time for a life of clarity and authenticity.

But I am truly grateful to have friends like you to help me along the way.  Wish I could sit down and share a cup of tea with each of you!


23 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, Donna ... whatever you decide to do, I hope you at least keep sharing your beautiful, inspiring, heartfelt words and photography with us. I look forward to your posts and I completely understand if someone doesn't visit or comment on my blog. Some days I too feel like pulling the plug, but then I realize I am blogging for myself ... I have my reasons and it's enough.

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    1. You are one of my go-to friends for inspiration and encouragement, Barb. And your wise words really hit home for me . . . I have my reasons and it's enough. I admire your honesty and clear thinking. And I'm following your lead!

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  2. I'm back to say that I adore each and every photo today ... they fill me with inspiration.

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  3. I have been enjoying your blog quietly without commenting for a while but I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate it. I love to follow photographers who can inspire me. Since I have been blogging since 2006. I can appreciate that you feel the need to take a break. Just know that what you do means something. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Peggy, Thank you! I read many favorite blogs without commenting - just being so grateful for the inspiration and the feeling of connection without any expectations at all. How wonderful it feels to know that we are helping each other - even when we do not realize it. Your kindness is a blessing for me!

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  4. Donna, my friend ... you're talking to me!!!! I can do 'just a taste' but I'm struggling with my weight and like you, have that darned acid reflux thing going on. But you've given me to ooomph I need to keep from getting discouraged or disheartened. Keep writing like this and keep sharing these beautiful photos! Happy Sunday!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Dotti! I so enjoyed your recent flower photos - and maybe that's the best prescription of all - getting outside and making pictures! You encourage me and I'll do the same for you.

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  5. You always find the best books. Is there something between an abstainer and a moderator. I feel like one week I am one and the next week I am the other, maybe that is the Gemini in me. I have done better sticking to a set schedule for blogging this year, usually Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, not always sure what will post on those days, but I usually post something. I will be taking a sabbatical of sorts in May, with graduation and hopefully vacation I don't expect to be blogging much and I am ok with that (I should have done it last year). June will be a new month filled with stories from May and new adventures into the summer. But mostly I want to get out there and enjoy life.

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    1. Sarah, From our online friendship, I would say you are a moderator. You always offer such common sense advice - always with self-compassion and grace. I think you've got your act together! So, enjoy the breaks from blogging when you need them - and congratulations to Mallory and your entire family on graduation! Can't wait to see the photos from all of your upcoming adventures!

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  6. A very thought provoking post Donna, along with so many beautiful photos ! I would to join you for a cup of tea too :))

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  7. hello donna : ) such a thoughtful post and I resonate with so much of it. Including the part about being glued to the blog..... and I have two. And many days I ask myself why? So much time spent....and who really reads it... a handful of people? But in the end I think I agree with Barb... that I blog for me. and if it makes me happy. hope you find your balance...

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  8. So glad the new you stopped to consider before throwing her hands in the air. If you never returned a comment or visited another blog we would still read and enjoy your photos immensely. I only once in awhile return comments. I'm still a working woman and my attention is needed elsewhere these days. Love ya, girl. Take care of yourself.

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  9. Happy Birthday! I always enjoy your thoughtful posts and your beautiful photos. Both the words and photos are inspirational and I'm happy that you share them with us.

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  10. I know we have talked about this and I still haven't found the answer and there probably isn't one. I am so much like you in the exercise and give my all or nothing department. I wish I wasn't and I try not to be like that but it keeps coming back to me. All I can do it try as we both try. I for one with my blog don't feel the pressure of getting a post up, I have realized it is for me as a journal, I know we have talked about turning comments off and I still go round and round with that one. I think blogs are becoming non-extinct these days with social media being the way most want to go but that isn't for me. I much prefer my blog for my photography interests and journal keeping. While I love the comments that isn't the reason I blog so again I go around and around on the taking the comments off my blog. No answer here but the book looks so interesting and will look that up. I always love your post and whenever you put one up is fine with me just keep in touch my friend because I love your talks and your beautiful images, they speak for you in every way my dear friend.

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    1. Forgot to say Happy Birthday sweet gal.

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    2. Barbara, You always know just the right thing to say to make a friend feel perfectly accepted. Thank you. I agree with every word of your comment and appreciate the time you take to encourage me. And it will be my pleasure to do the same for you - whenever you need it.

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  11. Happy Birthday month to you Donna...I also like balance and this year I'm much better at it...I got out of control while taking classes here on line and left myself little time for the other things I love...like writing and editing and most especially reading...and just having a day to putter around my house sorting and cleaning...
    So with Be Still coming to an end I've decided, no more classes for this year...taking some of the pressure off...I've also found being a bit older than you...those decisions are not as hard to make anymore...you'll find your way and my guess is that you will always find time for your beautiful photo's...maybe you'll just do less...but give yourself the breathing room to do whatever life brings you that you love...

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  12. A happy birthday to you Donna! A great age to be alive and well! Cheryl has covered my thoughts nicely...I too am older than you...being retired has freed me of feeling the need to accomplish more than I can physically or mentally handle. For years, I gave and gave when I worked full time, and now it's time to leisurely enjoy my day to day normal routine. If I feel like it, and have time to blog, I do, but it isn't something I feel is necessary. I'm actually still deciding about turning off comments. There seems to be a lot of self made pressure with maintaining and posting on a blog, and I come and go with "liking/disliking" them. I love seeing the photography, and yours today are marvelous!! Hope you have a wonderful year of 55.

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  13. Oh my, your photos are such a delight for the eyes! :)
    A beautiful thought provoking post. Do whatever feels right for you and makes you happy.
    A very happy birthday to you, Donna! xo

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  14. Happy Birthday! I too am enjoying the Goddesses Never Age, it is a wonderful book. Blogging does take a lot of time. I try to post two times a week which keeps a camera in my hand... I need to be creative. I comment when I can and still worry about offending someone if I don't get to their site, but I just do my 'balanced' best. Do what feels right for you. I tell my daughter the quote from Dr. Suess all the time 'Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.'
    Your photographs are beautiful! I need to dig up some bulbs. They look great in your photographs. :)

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  15. Happy Birthday, Donna. And what a fabulous birthday post. Your photos are sensational. I loved, loved, loved every last one of them. Your words are very wise too. I think we all strive to find balance in our crazy, busy lives. I go through life feeling that I'm never quite managing to keep all the plates spinning. At the risk of making a sweeping generalisation I've got a hunch that us girls suffer more from this than the chaps do. We respond to our children and their needs in a way that hasn't got an off or a slow-down setting. My husband is much more single-minded. He can focus on one thing to the exclusion of the others, whereas I'm always pre-occupied with what the others need, which results in feeling that I'm never totally delivering on anything. Good luck with your goals - and, for totally selfish reasons, I hope you find time to carry on with your wonderful blog. All the best, Bonny

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  16. Love your blog and wondered how you find the time to do so much! Hope you find the middle ground that keeps you happy:)

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  17. I hope you had a wonderful birthday, sweet friend! I meant to get back here much sooner, and then the week just got away from me. I'm sure you will find a rhythm that works for you here on your blog. Your words and images are always so inspiring, Donna! Bless you. You are in my prayers.

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