Big Sur, May 2008.  Photo taken by Pixie Campbell.

I remember a magazine sidebar I read several years ago, that detailed the perfect day – including all the things that various experts say must be included in your daily routine.  You know, meditation and yoga and walking and a full lunch hour and a dinner at the table with your loved ones and meaningful phone calls and financial reconciliation and a nice hot bath and reading to the kids before bedtime.  Yeah.  The article revealed that the perfect day was about 28 hours long.

On day 2 of my Best Life Challenge I had a lovely, peaceful morning: coffee, morning pages and meditation.  Centered and solid, I launched into the day and proceeded to run myself ragged with obligations – rushing from appointment to appointment, arriving a couple of niggling minutes late to every one of them.  My acupuncturist moved a ton of stuck energy, an excellent healing that left me spaced out and exhausted by 6pm.  Unfortunately I had also torn the living room apart for a re-paint (did I mention that I’m in a psychotic nesting phase?), and the discombobulating mess I came home to just drained my energy further.  Sitting in a depleted stupor, I recognized a troubling and long-standing issue of mine – and my first insight of the BLC: I do too damn much.  Eric often chats with a former supervisor of mine while Harper is romping at the dog park; the other day he updated her on all that I have going on while I’m home this winter, and how my brilliant plan to do nothing had gone awry.  She quipped, “Maggie isn’t really good at doing nothing, is she?”  How astute.

“I do too much, and somehow it’s never enough.”  Those are the words I heard myself saying one night in a room full of strangers.  The words stuck; this false belief needed some serious examining so that I could undo the tangle of habits and thoughts that it had spawned.  I’m happy to say that it’s gotten better over the years, but among great days I still find myself swinging between extremes of imbalance, either cramming too much into a day or suffering the inertia of an empty calendar.

So my first insight of the BLC is to remember balance above all things.  If I complete my checklist every day but end up exhausted, that is not my best life.  If I rationalize my way out of tending to the items on my checklist, that is not my best life.  Balance requires honesty with myself, and compassion toward myself.  It’s just this balance that I am reminded of when I attend yoga classes at Zuda Yoga (my favorite yoga studio in Sacramento).  The teachers there have a wonderful capacity for gently nudging me further than I think I can go into a pose, while simultaneously extending loving compassionate reminders that I am going far enough into the pose right now, in this moment.  “Just notice that you can stay in this pose even a little bit longer…you’re going right to your edge…and we all have an edge, so honor that too…it’s okay, it’s okay…this moment is all that matters…”

Powerful medicine for a woman who frequently forgets to honor her edge.

Speaking of the edge, it is past 11pm and time for me to contemplate sleep.  I’m reminding myself at every turn that this experiment will not be a failure as long as I show up and honestly do my best.  As I remember hearing in one Zuda Yoga class, the lesson is not for yoga/life to be easy.  The lesson is in how you talk to yourself when it gets hard.

(Honesty and compassion.)

Good night, dear ones.