I’ve recently had reason to be reminded of two important life lessons or “theorems” that I learned years ago, but which bear occasional repeating, at least for me.
The first is that there are times in life when everything is just swell. Every part of life – health, relationships, finances, etc. – is working just right and things are great. It’s tempting in those times to believe that this is the result of finally “getting it right”, that you have at last “arrived”. . . and that it will last. Big mistake. There are definitely times when everything seems perfect, but it’s always temporary. (I think the Buddhists call it impermanence.) The image that came to mind when I finally figured this out for myself was that I was balancing on a big ball, and in that point of balance, all aspects of my life simply worked. But what I also figured out is that you can’t live on the ball forever. Something will always happen to knock you off and everything won’t feel perfect anymore. That’s just how life is.
A couple of corollaries to the On the Ball Theorem are: 1) When you are on the ball, it’s a waste of time, energy and joy to worry about what’s coming to knock you off; and 2) Time off the ball is also temporary, and you’ll always find yourself back up there again.
Another important life theorem – or maybe it’s just a third corollary to the ball thing – is that when something in your life goes out of whack, it’s really important to nurture the areas that are still “in whack”, so to speak. That is, if you have a financial setback, be sure to take care of your health and your relationships. If you experience a break up or loss of a loved one, make sure you pay attention to your bank balance and your health. I think of this one as the Baby Crib Mobile Theorem. If you take one of the little dangling teddy bears or ducks off the mobile, the whole thing is out of balance. And if you let that happen in your life, you could have a real mess on your hands.
So that’s it. Nothing new or earthshaking. Just a few things I want to remember when things are going well, and especially when they’re not.