Monday, 9 January 2017

Live in Balance: Daily Choices

It always amazes me that once you decide to either do or work at something, information about that subject seems to pop up everywhere. From my mailing lists to articles shared by online friends - living a life in balance or harmony suddenly appeared to be the flavour of the week.
Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, word count target progress
Live in Balance 2017
I am not complaining, quite the contrary. Seeing all this information, or experiences shared by others, work well to inspire me to keep working at it. Of course, it is early days, but reading about good intentions versus commitment, can be a good starting place. A place that helps to get (and keep) my head in the right place and on track towards my goals.
I am not sure that we actually learn from the mistakes or the experiences of other people. Many people are of the opinion that we read about others' experiences (good or bad) and yet deep down still think that we won't make the same mistake even if we make the same choices. I am no expert in human behaviour, but from what little I understand of the world, I have to agree.
Take smoking or alcohol as examples. There is no way that people who smoke or drink excessively cannot be aware of the consequences of their actions unless they live in a hole somewhere and then at least they won't hurt anybody else with their choices. But the information is there. People who have rehabilitated themselves from these bad habits, share their stories to anyone who wants to listen, and still, the number of smokers is on the increase. And the same can be said of alcoholism.
Please understand I am in no position to judge but didn't they make a choice at some point in their lives to use these dangerous substances? Or do they choose not to seek help to stop once they have become addicted?
So if we don't learn from mistakes made by others, and we persist in living down the rabbit hole, what do we have to do to break these chains around our own minds? Is it simply a choice, or is there something more?
I think the first step is the choice, but it shouldn't end there. All choices to change something in ourselves or our circumstances will come with sacrifices. And therein lies the fundamental reason why we continue to live doing the wrong things to ourselves or others.
Why it is so easy to slip back to old habits?
No one likes sacrifices. No one will choose pain. So why should you?
Why should I?
Why did I choose to lose weight? Or do more art? Or write the equivalent of three novels in one year?
Doing art and writing provides me with a lot of satisfaction, and pleasure even, but the sacrifices still have to be made. To be honest, I have been writing for sixteen years now, and I don't miss the one thing I decided to sacrifice to make the time to do so: watching TV. Taking up art again, was simply another creative activity I added to please myself.
Losing weight, on the other hand, is not that simple. The choice is easy: I stick up my hand and say 'I do', but this choice comes with both sacrifice and pain. Trust me, I will avoid pain as far as I can. So what now?
It is early days. And my will-power when it comes to the temptation of food and snacking is anything but strong. I don't know if I will make my target. I don't know how difficult it is going to get.
Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, art goals 2017
Live in Balance 2017
What I do know is that if I don't learn from the mistakes made by others, or heed the advice of those that went before me, I could end up killing myself. If that is not something that scares you into commitment, trust me, it sure as hell scared the living daylights out of me.
So here I stand at the beginning of week 2 of my year to Live in Balance. My bravery of before is seriously lacking right now. What I do have is the choice to do this today. And choose to do this tomorrow. And when I get to the day after, I will have to make the choice again. Pain and sacrifice now. So that a month or three from now, I can continue making these same choices, perhaps with more bravery and less pain. And if I can manage to make this choice enough times, the pain will go away and so will the threat to my health and ultimately my life. So I choose the pain, today.

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