“Reading is a collaborative act between text and reader, so no text is read ‘objectively,’ and none gives up pure meaning. We bring ourselves to everything we read – including the people around us, the most complicated texts of all. We perceive patterns and connections; we foreground some things and subordinate others; some details we fail to see altogether. The best we can do is to try diligently, continually to expand our vision. This is where imagination collaborates with fact, taking us toward some kind of truth.” – Gail Griffin
Love after love
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Today, I am reflecting on this story:
A fox who lived in the deep forest of long ago had lost its front legs. No one knew how: perhaps escaping from a trap.
A man who lived on the edge of the forest, seeing the fox from time to time, wondered how in the world it managed to get its food. One day when the fox was not far from him he had to hide himself quickly because a tiger was approaching. The tiger had fresh game in its claws. Lying down on the ground, it ate its fill, leaving the rest for the fox.
Again the next day the great Provider of this world sent provisions to the fox by this same tiger. The man began to think:
“If this fox is taken care of in this mysterious way, its food sent by some unseen Higher Power, why don’t I just rest in a corner and have my daily meal provided for me?”
Because he had a lot of faith, he let the days pass, waiting for food. Nothing happened. He just went on losing weight and strength until he was nearly a skeleton.
Close to losing consciousness, he heard a Voice which said:
“O you, who have mistaken the way, see now the Truth! You should have followed the example of that tiger instead of imitating the disabled fox.”
– by Massud Farzan
The phrase “work/life balance” bothers me. It conjures up an image of a teeter-totter, or old-fashioned scales, where the goal is to keep the same amount of weight on both sides.
The implication is that work is something separate from life. I understand that for some, it’s separate from the more enjoyable parts of life, such as travel, or time spent with family. But still, we spend so many hours of the day at our work; I would hope that most people find their vocation enjoyable on some level.
Instead of the “scale” metaphor, I find it more useful to think of my time as a pie chart.
If we look at our time this way, the options become clearer. We have 100% of a day, and no more. If we want to spend more time, say, with family and friends, we’ll have to subtract that time from another wedge in the pie – for example, we can sleep less, or skip TV time. If the “commuting” wedge seems disproportionately large, we might move closer to work to free up some of that time.
The pie will look different for each of us. For some, work and sleep might be the largest wedges – and if that makes them happy, it isn’t wrong. Others might feel that time with family and friends should be the largest portion, and will adjust the others accordingly.
There’s no perfect “balance,” and there’s no one right “pie.” The right pie is your pie. The key is to right-size all the pieces.