Hopefully you have been noticing my absence recently. Hopefully. But I have had a lot going on and one of the courses I am taking in a quest for another degree, this one to finish up my Bachelors in Organizational Leadership at Columbia Southern University, has been challenging. Challenging in a good way, but challenging, just the same.
While we must simplify our lives sometimes, we need to maintain balance. If we let things get below a certain level of stress, we become complacent, we get lazy, we lose our edge. If we add too much stress, we actually lose focus as our vision narrows, we become distracted and prone to error, and we suffer.
Like one of my new distractions, pictured here, we must also get some rest. We sometimes feel like we need to cram eleven pounds of shit into a ten-pound bag, but if we fail to recharge, we won't be any good to anyone. Thus, we need to step out of the batter's box, relax for a little, then re-engage.
One of my favorite authors, Timber Hawkeye, today on Facebook related a story that may be familiar to some of you already (it's been around a while). I had actually it heard a while ago myself, but he deservedly gets the credit for bringing it back to my attention:
A professor stood in front of his philosophy class with a bucket full of golf balls. He asked the students if the bucket was full, and they all agreed that it was. He then poured a box of pebbles into the bucket, and the pebbles naturally rolled into the open spaces between the golf balls. When he asked the students if the bucket was full, they again agreed that it was. The professor then poured a box of sand into the bucket, which filled up everything else. All the students responded with an unanimous "Yes!" when he asked again if the bucket was now full. Finally, he poured two cups of tea into the bucket, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this bucket represents your life. The golf balls are the important things (God, health, friends, family, and favorite passions). They are the things that even if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles represent things like your job, house and car, and the sand represents everything else (the small stuff). So if you put the sand into the bucket first, then there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.
Don't spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, or you will never have room for what's truly important. Set your priorities and take care of the golf balls first, everything else is just sand. But remember, no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a cup of tea with a friend.
We have priorities in our lives that we must balance, but we can't forget what is important to us. This blog, Firehouse Zen, is extraordinarily important to me as it has enabled me to meet amazing people, have great discourse, learn a profound amount about my world as well as myself, and on occasion, make me feel like I am contributing to your world as well. So don't think I have given up: I'm just slammed right now. This especially happens every Fall and eventually the cycle catches back up, with so much going on in my life at this time of the year. But please, continue to share with me on here, on the Firehouse Zen Facebook page, and on the Firehouse Zen Twitter page as well.
Find what is important in your life and keep it there. Don't forget the basic things we need for having a full life, expand your horizons, and reach out a little. As always, stay challenged, stay flexible, but most importantly, stay balanced.