Humaning is hard.
There are so many layers of humaning. Many break your heart. Racial and social injustice. Inequity, systemic and otherwise. War. Violence. Illness. Pain. Loss. Disappointment.
Then, you add in all of the societal stuff. The messages of not enough. From the world and internalized in our own conditioning. Too old. Too young. Too big. Too small. Too ugly. Too pretty. Too ambitious. Not driven. Too bold. Too reserved. Works too much. Not committed enough. Helicopter parent. Or absentee.
And then there’s all the substance of our day to day. So many important buckets into which we have to choose how to allocate our most precious and limited resource – time.
All of these layers create the existential water we’re swimming in as we try to go about our lives.
There’s so much talk about work-life balance. Is it even possible? How can you achieve it? What does it look like? But, it’s so much bigger than that. It’s like existential balance.
So…how do we do it? How do we navigate it all? How do we keep going?
And, I’ll just say… I don’t know. At the end of the day, I’m bumbling along and humaning imperfectly like everyone else. I do, though, have three principles that provide some order to my bumbling and help me AIM.
Authenticity. Integration. Mindfulness.
I try to live my life according to these principles. And, to me, this means:
- Bravely showing up as myself, trusting that will lead to the highest good, even if my Inner Critic tries to argue that’s not good enough. Even if the existential water is especially choppy.
- Living so into my authentic self that all of the different parts of my self and my life nurture and sustain one another in a virtuous cycle.
- Staying awake and aware so I am in a position to live my life with intention and choose over and over again to do so, compassionately redirecting myself when I wander off course.
Am I perfect? Nope! Do I get this right each and every time? Hardly! But, the beauty is, that it’s enough to try. It’s like the quote attributed to Les Brown: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.”
I AIM. That is how I do it. Some days, I get pretty close. Other days, I’m way off. And, when I am, I give myself grace and keep trying. “Fall seven, rise eight,” as the Japanese proverb goes. I do the best I can on any given day. And, every time I AIM, I get closer than I would have if I hadn’t.
Some days will be harder than others. Some days will feel like the universe aligned. Just AIM.