Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Place Between All and Nothing

The Place Between All and Nothing

The adage says, “give it your all or nothing at all”.  I have lived my life with this philosophy, whether it is in sports, work or life.  Often, in “living” this way, I wasn’t living at all, I was in survival mode. Yet, as I reach a milestone half way between 0-100, I find myself looking for the place between the all and the nothing.  In this place, I can relax, I can breathe and I can be.    

Fifteen years ago, while working a high stressed corporate job I decided to walk a marathon.  Now walking or running a marathon is a beautiful experience not only for the usual health benefits, but also because of the major sense of accomplishment, especially for a non-runner.  This marathon was for a worthy cause, children’s cancer and I was training with friends.  It was a perfect scenario.  Except for the fact that not only was my career in full force, but so was my social life, leaving little room for rest after the extensive marathon training.  I was certainly in the “all” mode.         

As is often the case, when we are over taxed in life, life reacts to balance us out.  I was “giving it my all” and ignoring the nothing part which is just as vital and essential to healthy living.  My body, specifically my back reacted by shutting me down for almost a month, where I could not even walk.  Through rest, which I fought every step of the way, I recovered enough to walk the marathon.  Yet, days before the event my body again reacted by having appendicitis.   I missed the marathon, instead lying in a hospital bed.

My mind was determined, my body and my spirit had another plan.  They wanted balance.  They wanted the place between the all and the nothing.  I didn’t listen.  A month later I had a seizure.  Thankfully the neurosurgeon said my body was over-stressed and its reaction was to shut down.  Learning my lesson¸ at least for the moment, I learned that when giving your all make sure you leave room for the nothing.

Flash forward, five years, after the birth of my daughter (and another seizure the day after her birth) I traveled to Guatemala to visit orphans.  Still in the corporate stressful job, now with a baby daughter to care for and the need to visit Guatemala to pursue an adoption, again I was “giving it my all”.  “Nothing” was nowhere to be found.  After preparing my work and my home for the trip, a full day flying down south and then a night with no sleep I met our sponsor child.  Upon seeing her I was overwhelmed with emotions and seizure three happened.  Lesson learned, for good this time.  This began my journey in finding the “place” between the “all” and the “nothing”, not just one or the other. 

Almost a decade after the first seizure as I waited for my daughter to come home from Guatemala I quit my corporate job in order to pursue “the place between all and nothing”.  I no longer feel driven or obsessed with “having it all”, “doing it all” or even “being all” to everyone.  Today, my life is balanced between prayer and meditation, caring for my family and pursuing my love of writing and humanitarian causes, while spending as much time outside as possible in the beauty and tranquility of Mother Earth.  I have found the “place between all and nothing”.  

Join me here even though it is a quiet place, it is also a healthy place.  Your mind, body and spirit will thank you.

Love, “with a heart of peace”,

Susan J. McFarland
February, 2014

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