When I thought of the subject of this blog about 2 months ago, life was a lot different. I was thinking of gaining a pound while on a diet because my eyes are bigger than my slow metabolism. Seems so trivial now.
And yet, it also turns out to be the perfect topic for today.
We’re into the second week of lock-down – voluntary lockdown which may turn into an involuntary one. The reason for forcing everyone to isolate is because too many people continue to ignore that call. Regardless of the truth of that, or of how people chose to isolate, the real point is that people’s tolerance is becoming very low as their anxiety shoots up.
I thought I was pretty calm about this most recent chaos, except that I blew up at a colleague who said something that may have normally annoyed me a little and now is intolerable. That fairly minor incident made me aware of my rising anxiety, and also helped me see that same rise in the people (virtually these days) around me.
As a result, I’ve been practicing grounding and de-stressing techniques daily – sometimes hourly. I don’t want to become closed and callous to the suffering of those around me. I want to remain open-hearted and connected as much as possible. With this in mind, I thought of Aristotle.
It was from Aristotle that I really learned of the Golden Mean – it’s everywhere, I know, but I learned it in my studies of Aristotle. For him (my understanding of him), it’s about being magnanimous. His Magnanimous Man was a person who practiced the Golden Mean, who lived in a balanced and open way. Not guarded, or miserly. Not foolishly either. Instead, this person is generous of spirit and moderate of action. (Lao Tsu also had something to say about this – you can read it if you subscribe to my newsletter).
The idea of that magnanimous person is something I now include in my daily meditations.
How to make work life balance work
Quote of the Week
“Better stop short than fill to the brim.
Oversharpen the blade,
And the edge will soon be blunt.
Amass a store of gold and jade,
And no one can protect it.
Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow.
Retire when the work is done.
This is the way of heaven.”
Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 9
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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist. To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co