Rachel S. Heslin
Thoughts, insights, and mindless blather

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I'm trying to find the balance between what I think and what I feel.

For me, in this context, thinking usually encompasses those things which I "should" be doing, whereas feeling represents those things I want to do.

I often get caught up in the Shoulds, the obligations. Shawn calls it my brussels sprouts (he used to call it my broccoli until he discovered, to his horror, that I actually like broccoli.) I still have a tendency to overcommit, to promise things without always knowing if I can deliver, although I'm doing better. Some of the over-promising is intentional, a way of forcing myself to move forward at a faster pace than I know I can. But it's draining.

Learning to "give in" to what I want is also a good thing. When I play piano -- even if I "should" be doing laundry -- makes me feel better and gives me energy.

Yet only doing what I want isn't necessarily a good thing, either. Take relationships: with the guy I was seeing before I met Shawn (and with Spike, for that matter), we got into a mutual validation loop that felt really good, but it was too easy to become complacent. We already think we're the greatest thing since sliced bread -- why should we change? Why should we grow?

Shawn, on the other hand, doesn't allow his love for me to keep him from encouraging me and sometimes (sorry, Love -- you can be pretty forceful about it) badgering me to be more than what I am today, this moment. It's not easy. It's not always comfortable. But I would never have grown as I have without it.

And, once again, we come to the other side of the pendulum. When I went to Europe the first time, after graduating college, I zigzagged my way across the continent, trying to learn the history, culture and language of every place I visited in 6 weeks. Then I had a nervous breakdown, came home early and spent two months watching soap operas.

It was a good thing. I'd always felt a bit guilty, like I should always do just a little bit more. This proved to myself that I do have limits, that after a certain point, greater investment really does produce diminishing returns.

So I try to find the balance. If I feel tired, would a nap help? Or is it just inertia, something that, if I push to get started, will transform into kinetic energy? Sometimes it's okay to finish that book (in this case, Juliet McKenna's "The Thief's Gamble," which I highly recommend) or watch a movie; sometimes it's better to get to work.

Ice cream sounds pretty good, right about now.


Just because they say, "Action!" doesn't mean you have to do anything.
-- Marlon Brando

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