Last Sunday I celebrated the end of my cleanse with what I jokingly call a 'retox'. I bought a delicious bottle of Indian Wells Red Blend from Chateau St Michelle. I swear it's the most delicious red wine you can get for under $20! I am not a connoisseur, but I can usually discern a great wine from a not-so-great wine.
I'm writing about wine today because I feel drawn to discuss finding a good balance in life. We probably all know people who are 'extremists'... who tend towards an all-or-nothing approach. Someone who decides they love running and they do it every day rain or shine through injury and illness. Maybe they find a game they like and it's a daily event, at the exclusion of all social activity, or they go raw vegan and never turn back. And then there are the people who get fed up with Facebook, make a big announcement that they're leaving... but usually a few months later they quietly creep back on (I knew they would!). Some people thrive in that extreme environment.
For me, and probably for most of us, there is a middle ground, a delicate balance between effort and ease-- like in a standing yoga pose where you ground down to reach up, you find a strong base, you stretch your spine up, and then relax your shoulders and face, unclench your jaw. You let go of tension in order to move forward.
Some clients worry about telling me that they like to drink wine at the end of their day. It usually makes me laugh a little... the misconception that 'wellness' or 'health' means never drinking or having a treat. I find great joy in sharing the theory that 'healthy lifestyle' allows for treats, it allows for letting go, it means you thrive in a healthy balance. A good rule for me is the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I know I am making choices that fully support my physical health and wellbeing. This allows for 20% of 'flex spending'... maybe a treat I wouldn't normally choose, maybe a nap instead of a walk, maybe a TV show when I 'should' be reading. These treats allow for balance in mind and soul, and take the strain off of an extreme approach. It also keeps you from beating yourself up when you make what may be conceived as a less-than-perfect choice.
In a great book "Zen Mind, Beginners Mind", the author explains "to give your sheep or cow a large, spacious meadow is the way to control him". To me this means, allow yourself to roam around in a zone where there is room to play and enjoy your life, knowing that you will not be lost. The tighter you hold on to control, the more suffering you instigate. The more you keep yourself from your desires in a strict, stuck way, the more the desires and cravings will control you.
So... I open up a delicious bottle of red, I aerate it into my glass, I swirl and smell it, I enjoy a first sip. I taste the flavors balanced and symphonic in my mouth. I feel my life is balanced and in harmony.