Friday, September 7, 2012

Learning to Juggle

I know I’m not alone in managing a myriad of priorities everyday. Somewhere between being in private practice as a psychotherapist and writing coach, being a student, writing a book, being a wife, stepmother, grandmother, niece and friend, I frequently feel like a juggler about to drop the ball.

Recently I had the opportunity to take an actual juggling lesson. As I was practicing the beginning step, tossing one ball into the air and catching it, I realized that I was doing more than learning to juggle. Juggling seemed to be a theme running through my life. Here’s what I learned:

Start With One Ball at Time

In fact, learning to juggle takes lots of practice. Before I can learn to juggle even two balls in the air, I have to learn how to catch one ball at a time. That’s a good reminder that I can only do one thing at a time. Trying to do more than one thing at a time is “false economy.” Neither one gets my full attention.

Sometimes I Will Drop the Ball

No matter how hard I try, I won’t always catch the ball before it drops at my feet. There are times, when I simply forget to take care of something important. Mostly that happens when I have not written down a task I need to do or did not note something I need to take care of.

When I Do Drop the Ball, I Pick it up and Keep Going

If I drop the ball, I just pick it up and keep practicing. That’s fine for juggling balls. But if I have neglected something that impacts someone else, I apologize and do my best to fix it. I try to take care of what needs to be done, not dwell on what did not get done.

You Eventually Learn to Hold More Than One Ball at a Time

In juggling, after learning to catch one ball, the next step is to be able to catch two balls with one hand. This step reminds me that I have greater capacity than I thought. I have noticed that when I have limited time to get something done, someone I manage. I learn to do more than I thought I could.

You Need to Stay Focused on What You are Doing at any Given Moment

No matter how many balls I am trying to juggle, I need to stay focused on what I am doing. If I allow myself to become distracted, I will run into trouble (and get hit in the head)!

I may never learn to be a great juggler, but what I have learned from juggling is to pay attention to one thing at a time, forgive myself if I make a mistake, trust that I have greater capacity than I imagine, and that I do best when I stay focused on whatever I am doing at any given time.

Take good care, 


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1 comment:

  1. One thing at a time. No other way with writing. Inspiration comes from the end of my fingers whether they hold a pen or touch a keyboard. If I have a problem with ideas it's that I "waste" a story by telling it to friends instead of writing it. But if I imagine I'm telling it to friends while I'm writing, I can recapture it. Using a notebook helps, too.