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staying balanced: just be.

Posted Nov 20 2009 10:03pm

Happy Friday, everyone!  I’d like to introduce a new feature I’ll be posting once every week or two.  

The holidays start next week – one of the busiest and often most stressful times of year.  Everyone will be faced with traveling, office parties, family gatherings, friendly affairs.  Gifts need to be found and bestowed, elaborate meals planned and cooked.  I know I can always use some reminders to keep myself balanced this time of year, not necessarily in terms of food, but in body and in mind.  This series aims to do just that.

I was looking through some old photographs a few days ago, and I stumbled upon one a friend of mine took while we were traveling in Croatia.


I remember when she took it well: it was our first real night there [we arrived late the evening before and didn’t accomplish much other than dinner].  But this night, we had a plan.  Classy as ever [read the sarcasm], we picked up individual-sized bottles of red wine, then searched for an entrance to the tiny beach near our hotel.  Later we would be moved to an apartment just outside the city’s walls, a short ten minute stroll to a much larger sandscape; but for one night, that private beach suited us just fine. 

With the sun going down, it was pleasant weather for jeans and bare feet.  We settled ourselves on the sand, and, separated from the noise of other tourists, we were faced with the realization that we were without a corkscrew to open our bottles.  Ingenuity made a sharp rock very useful, and eventually, we were able to sip, staring ahead at the waning orange sunlight and the blue of the sea. 

We talked some and we watched some.  There was no agenda, no plan.  We simple were.


Society tends to pressure us to always do.  Those five minutes while we wait for water to boil can be spent banging out crunches and planks.  Dinner can be eaten while we educate ourselves on the day’s news.  Every day, there seem to be fifty new suggestions in magazines and on blogs, teaching us how to be better multitaskers.

I always ponder over what I should be doing – the scope might be as wide as what I want to do with my life, or it might be basic, such as what I will do on Saturday night.  Rarely, however, do I think of just being.  

My mantra this holiday season is simply to remember the peace of that sunset, and let myself be.  No matter where I am, I can wake up early in the morning and lay in bed for five minutes in the darkness.  I can take five minutes and step outside for fresh air, even when it chills my bones.  I can sit with a family member or a friend, two forks, and a slice of leftover pumpkin pie, and I can just be.

IMG_0332balancing meal:  spaghetti squash, chickpeas, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, pepitas, lemon, paprika, tahini

Goals are wonderful things, but now and then, it’s important to step back and lock away all thoughts of exercise, food, friends, work, and the future.  It’s never wrong to take a short five minutes and do nothing at all.  With the quiet weekend I have ahead, I might just take an entire afternoon.


How do you let go and just be?

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