February 11, 2019

Let’s play a better game than ‘life-balance’!

Oh Great!

Now, look at the state of me!
Sopping wet. Soaked through. And it’s bloomin’ cold!

I should know better than to stroll past puddles the size of a small lake…
with lorries like that roaring from the coast and through East Grinstead.

But I wasn’t thinking, was I?
Well, I was. And that was the problem.
I just wasn’t thinking about dodging puddles at 6:35 on a dark, rainy morning.

What I was thinking about was whatever my mind had plucked from the early morning darkness and twinkling lights…
and was ruminating on, while I paced heartily on my 2 mile+ morning Wake-Up Walk.

Outside, even on a Winter’s morning, is such a good place to be… to think… to wonder.

In the Spring, Summer and early Autumn, I like to sit on my Thinking Bench.
But in every season, musings flow while I walk and walk.

I let things I’ve read and studied roll over and over in my mind.

I take the companionship of great thinkers with me.
And they teach me about Life… and how to live it more adventurously and joyfully.

Out here, I start to compose and structure sermons, meetings, workshops, conference keynotes, masterclasss.
They are all given birth in these morning miles.

Away from the noise and interruptions of the modern world: from technology and smart-things.
From in-trays and inboxes.

Here I can listen to the whisperings of the universe.
They change me.

Then – when I arrive at the door of my garden office (my ‘ShedQuarters’) –
I am not quite the person I was when I stepped out from my warm home, 35 minutes ago.

You see, my exercise, my walking, my bee-and-butterfly gardening, my ministry, my volunteering, the complexities, challenges and sweet memories of our family relationships and experiences…
They’re not there to give my life ‘Balance’.

Because this Life-Work Balance thing that we talk about so much today…
Well, the very way we talk about it, shows that we don’t quite understand how we work mentally and emotionally.

As I invest more and more heavily in those things that are meaningful outside of my office…
As I engage with great minds, hearts and lives speaking to me through the wisdom of centuries…
As I challenge my body and my faculties…
As I allow both body and mind to mingle with the wonder of Nature of which I’m born…

That investment changes the person that I bring to my work.

I bring my humanity to my office and my profession.

And the richer that humanity – the more fulfilled and passionate my engagement with the beauty of this world, and the best of me –
The more depth I can bring to my work.

So, I don’t plunge into Life to compensate for the hours I grind away at work.
My plunging into Life helps me bring more substance and relish and laughter to that work.

And I do so, because I love the wholeness of that Life, with all of its frustrations.

Because, ultimately, wheresoever I am – office or home – I’m still me.
It’s really all one single life.
Not Either-Or.