Life is balance. It's the kind of balance you have to have if you're walking a tightrope. Sometimes that tightrope is 2 feet off the ground, other times above the Grand Canyon. The skill is the same. It's only the consequences of a fall that are different.
It's both. It's balance.
As I posted yesterday, I'm reading Thich Nhat Hanh's Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life. I'm enjoying it a lot, because it focuses on skills that I am somewhat deficient in: relating to the now. There are times and places I'm very good at mindfulness... places like the mountains, the ocean shore, out on a whale watch, at festivals... these are places where I find engagement in the now very easy. I probably need more of those times.
I can't focus on the now 24/7. No one can, and keep a roof over their head, their kids fed, and their car running. There is a time to put off instant gratification to provide for a safe or gratifying future. We need to budget. Plan for retirement. Plan a route for our trip. Make meal plans. But again, if we do those exclusively, we are miserable.
One of the interesting things that Thich Nhat Hanh says is about hope. He says that hope is good, but it we dwell in hope, that can get in the way of seeing and experiencing the now. It keeps us focused on the future, rather than the present. I'll add that it also keeps us looking toward something that we may not be moving toward.
Hope without action is vain. It's another piece of the balance puzzle: we need hope to keep us going on the journey, but when we stop and only hope, we're no longer on a journey.
The glass is both half full and half empty. Life is both struggle and joy. Progress is made with both hope and action together. Without balance, we will fall to one side or the other, which doesn't move us forward in life, and ultimately results in exactly the opposite of what we desire: stagnation or loss.
It seems to me that we spend so much time choosing and adhering to strict ideologies that many of us don't have that balance. The are are more ways to see the glass than either half full OR half empty.