Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Everything in Moderation - EVERYTHING!

“Chrissy, why you sleep so late?”

These are the words my friend heard every morning from the cabin steward on the cruise ship. Is my friend lazy?

Sometimes I can’t get my son to get out of bed. He actually wants to stay in bed much of the day (not even sleeping). Is my son lazy?

The answer I have decided is No – and Yes. And I have decided that it is okay – or can be okay. I guess the real question is – how long will this go on? Is this an everyday behavior or is this a today behavior. Another important question might be – is there anything that you must be doing today, but you are choosing to do this instead? Notice I didn’t say “could be doing” today, and I didn’t even say “should be doing” today. If there is nothing immediately due or truly compelling to be done at this moment I say – why not stay in bed all day or sleep so late?

Here’s one of the platitudes I incorporate in my life, which may sound very familiar to you, except for the new ending: Everything in moderation – including moderation.
If you’re truly living the life of EVERYTHING in moderation, you must put moderation in your moderation mix as well.

This means it’s okay to splurge every once in a while. If you drink in moderation, then it must be okay to over-drink once in a blue moon. And if Blue Moon is what you're drinking – all the better. It must be okay to ever-indulge from time to time. This is helpful because it means we don’t have to beat ourselves up with guilt when we go overboard on something we know is unhealthy or unwise. Now grant you, there are some boundaries to this platitude of mine – where we must consider safety and security. And also, we must recognize that if we take the risk of exceeding the moderate levels we – or society – have agreed on, we must be prepared to accept the consequences of what we do and how we act. If you are compelled to speed this one time – you might get caught, and have to pay the piper – I mean the penalty, I mean the fine. That's fine. That’s part of the fine balance.

The key I believe is the healthy balance. Let’s take for example the lazy people. I choose to be productive and consistently move forward. Every once in a while though, I choose to be totally and completely lazy. If you want to lie in bed all day – do it!

Now if this becomes your norm or your habit or your default – you know you’ve got an issue you need to deal with. It’s hard for me to let my son have his lazy day, but come on dad – every single day doesn’t have to be a go-go day. “What did you accomplish today? Nothing? You should be ashamed of yourself.” You stayed home from work and you weren’t really sick? You fell off your diet? You should never swear! All these nevers and you better nots and how could yous can leave some marks that can wear on you and be as unhealthy as the misbehaviors themselves.

In the Quantum Vision we talk about inhibiting behaviors and choices that keep you from moving forward. These are the things we want to recognize and modify, minimize or eliminate. But let’s also keep an eye on the prize. What is it we are really after? If my friend Chrissy holds a high value to staying up late to do whatever – it is understandable that sleeping late will be an acceptable balancing choice. And recommended too. We don’t want Chrissy staying up all night enjoying herself and then getting up in the morning bright and early just because a person shouldn’t “sleep so late.”
Keep an eye on the big picture. You’re on a cruise. If that balance of time is suitable to you – stay up all night and sleep half the day – for the entire cruise if you want. Son, do that for a day – heck – maybe two days.

But also – be aware of moderation for your out of moderation behaviors. If you’re a person who is not living your dream or realizing your vision or reaching your goals and you are continuing to make these kinds of “beyond moderate” choices – it’s time to recognize that and make a change. When you’re back from the cruise, it’s time to change the party/rest pattern and get to your goals, visions and dreams. If you get stuck in the lack of moderation you can be sure that you won’t be moving forward toward your vision, goals and dreams.

Don’t be afraid to break that mold of moderation every once in a while. It can be empowering to know that you’re not a slave to a list of behaviors that seem to inhibit you from feeling free and energized. Surprise yourself. Be a rebel. Be unpredictable – to yourself, and to others. You'll be more alive and more lively.

Again, this is not an invitation to engage in behaviors that are always unwise or unhealthy or illegal and be absolved of all responsibility. This is an invitation to loosen some of the rigid holds you might be placing on yourself and also an invitation to relieve yourself of the guilt and shame when you step a bit too far over the edge every once in a while. It’s okay. Make sure it doesn’t become your habit or your obsession. If it does, you have to look at this a different way and make some adjustments.

So – sleep all day. Stay out all night. Drink too much wine. Show up late. Eat that second piece of pie. Then get back on the “Everything in moderation” track until the next moderation moderation. (Which better not be tomorrow.)

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