September 12, 2015
Do you ever stop and listen to the genuine life concerns and complaints of those around you? When is the last time you’ve listened to your own concerns and complaints?
No, I mean really listen, as in pay attention and hear the cry of the heart – from the real place of distress and concern.
It occurred to me recently how many people I have heard crying from their hearts – not that they had tears flowing from their eyes – about the crazy-busy schedule that their life demands were creating. Depending on the season of life each person was living in, the type of activities and demands on their schedule varied.
The common denominator among everyone I listened to was the slave-driving nature of their daily demands and schedules.
Work/ Life Balance
Some were mostly referring to their work-life balance. The descriptions of expectations and pressures associated with the responsibilities and relationship dynamics of jobs and careers was truly unbelievable. This was especially true as I listened to the dual demands of sustaining and supporting the needs and relationships associated with a family. In all, not both but either the work demands or the family demands consisted of more than a full time job! Factor in the professional culture of extensive over-time, and the work-life balance ship seemed titillating close to sinking right before my eyes.
Others were mostly referring to the demands of their children’s schedules. The descriptions of sports, dance, ballet, gymnastics, music, martial arts, tutoring, civic clubs, and church demands – and too many other social and technical activities to remember – were literally crammed into one calendar! The sheer logistical coordination for time and parental taxi-cab services was mind boggling and exhausting to imagine.
Care Giving Demands
Still others were mostly referring to the unbelievable issues associated with full-time care giving. The descriptions of the physical and/ or medical demands upon the care giver were truly shocking – just visualizing what a care giver must do in a 24-hour period of time. These demands coupled with the nightmare logistics of dealing with the healthcare and insurance systems caused me to feel a strong combination of anger, compassion, and exhaustion. And, most mind numbing is the apparently common occurrence that care giving happens in solitude for so many people – and often without much consistent support or meaningful acknowledgement.
Bringing it All Together
Could it be that when we separate the life demands that are absolutely essential for shelter, food, clothing, and health from those that simply are not – that some of the causes for being overwhelmed, overbooked, and over extended could be eliminated?
What if we didn’t try to keep up with the social demands that scream at us to be and to do all that society deems we must be and do in order to ring the bell of success and achievement?
Are you so physically exhausted and sleep deprived that you feel mentally foggy most of the time? Do you feel less than or as though you are failing simply because you have nothing else to give – yet so much more of you is still required? Are there days when you just simply don’t feel like getting up and going – for no real reason that you can clearly describe?
In all of these scenarios, is it possible that in all of your running to keep up with the life demands of your schedule that you are really running into and running over others on a regular basis?
Are you running into the self-esteem and self-worth of others by trampling over their need to simply be acknowledged and included? Are you missing the simple needs of others that are hidden in plain sight because you are too busy running to and fro?
Most importantly, are you running rough shod over your own core needs simply because you are running so fast to keep up, to control, to satisfy, and to maintain?
In all of your running, where can you simplify the demands to those that meet the most basic needs of life, love, and relationships? Where can you help others, or ask for help, in ways and in areas that really matter? Where can you make a conscious decision to choose a mindset and attitude of joy and peace – especially if you truly cannot change anything about your life demands? Where can you touch the lives of others with joy – in simple kind of ways?
No matter how crazy busy each of us are, we can take three minutes to speak words of encouragement and joy to someone. It’s free.
Did you know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? What if you ran your life race in such a way that you might win the prize that really matters in all of eternity? Could it be that running your race to win the prize that matters is really associated with winning in the areas that really matter in the end – those associated with life, love, and relationships?
I’m thinking that running life’s race in such a way – and with a focus that wins what really matters – probably doesn’t include running over people, or your own needs. It’s just a thought.
Connect with me @ firstname.lastname@example.org to touch the lives of others with joy.
Living in the Joy of Life,