I got back into yoga again, after not practicing for years. Really, the motivation was to improve my mental well-being with meditation, and to add to my exercise regime. I wasn't entirely into the chanted mantras or spouted philosophy at the beginning of class. I closed my eyes and tried to find the quiet space where I could focus on my breathing and shut out the outside world.
One day, though, while counting breaths, something my teacher said broke through. He talked about how we always try to separate the different aspects of our lives -- our work life from our home life; personal from professional. And ne'er the twain shall meet. But, life is life. So invariably how we are in one aspect will impact all others. So, then, how do we find balance? Instead of thinking that our lives must be segmented and compartmentalized, how about thinking about it in terms of making effort vs. allowing?
Sometimes we must effort more in some areas -- maybe there's a busy project at work, or else a loved one who is sick that must be taken care of. We must, then, allow in other areas in order to compensate. When the project is over and the illness has resolved, we find other areas in which we effort and allow.
For the longest time, I held steadfastly to the notion that I must keep my work life and home life separate. I was one person at work and quite another one when I left the hospital. I had friends, it is true, who saw both facets, but for the most part, work was work and play was play. This idea of "life is life" resonated strongly within me. With time and reflection, I'd started to feel that I no longer wanted to engage in a life that was so divisive.
Not having worked since May, I've had time to explore other passions, such as art. I've made efforts much more in the realm of creativity, and allowed my scientific brain to lapse for a time. I'm feeding the artistic side of me as it was famished for so long and there was a glut of science in my life. At some point, I think there will be more effort in the realm of science, and some allowance for art -- but seeking balance in both.
Art, too, is about effort and allow. You have an idea in mind as you start, but you allow the piece to take shape organically and make itself known on canvas. Recognizing this push & pull has made me more forgiving of an artist, and towards myself.