Saturday, 26 February 2011

Will I find the Middle Way?

I've always been an all or nothing girl. A whole packet of biscuits, or none at all. Diet coke all night or getting wrecked. I can't do anything by half measures. Much to my chagrin. And this is the problem with me, I think. (Well I have a lot of problems, but here is not the place to discuss all of them, not the squeaky fingers against the duvet in bed problem, nor the button phobia which I share randomly with two other members of a small nursery-friends group!)

I need to find and follow the middle way. At my twice-monthly acupuncture session this morning, I gave the following example to my practitioner. 
"When trying to lose weight, I decide to eat grilled chicken and brown rice all week. When I can't be bothered to cook it, or I just don't fancy it, I then go the opposite way and order a pizza. This is instead of deciding the eat sausages'n'mash, admittedly not as healthy as chicken and brown rice, but a helluva lot healthier than a pizza."
When I said I needed to follow the middle way, she said that was a Buddhist term to describe the character of the path that Siddhattha Gotama followed to enlightenment. Wikipedia states that The Middle Way is a dynamic teaching as shown by the traditional story that the Buddha realized the meaning of the Middle Way when he sat by a river and heard a lute player in a passing boat and understood that the lute string must be tuned neither too tight nor too loose to produce a harmonious sound.

This sounds like the right way for me to look at my path too. I have always looked at things in black and white, pass or fail. When I was waiting for my degree result, if I didn't get a 2.1, I said I wouldn't have gone to my graduation ceremony. I think I set myself up for failure as I set too high standards for myself. I wouldn't do this for anyone else, so why do I do it to myself? 

Blogging - I have been blogging for just over a year as A Humdrum Mum. (I have in fact blogged for five years, but not anonymously, only for my son on his own blog with photos for family etc.) It's been brilliant, but recently during a wretched work period, I have lost my mojo. I have kind of located it again, but the all or nothing phenomenon lurks here too. I started off thinking I have to blog 3 or 4 times a week to "get more readers/followers", comment on everyone's blogs in order to get comments back. Of course this is all true, but I realise I have more readers than followers, and hardly anyone who reads actually comments (but the comments I get I very much appreciate!). So having stopped blogging as much as I think I should has made me realise that I can blog when I want! It doesn't really matter! The middle way...

Now I enter a whole new arena for this all or nothing thinking - my son's education. He is doing well at school, he enjoys learning at home and we love doing his homework together. The upcoming parents' evening I am very much looking forward to. But I am trying very hard not to be a pushy parent. I am going to ask his teacher "What is the most he is likely to achieve?" and "Is he achieving that?". For me, hard work and application is important, as long as he is enjoying it, of course I don't want him to feel stressed or anxious by this. I say all of this hoping like mad that he is doing well at school and is set to achieve what he deserves. What he needs to find is the middle way - achieving and enjoying.

Maybe I can apply this middle way notion to my wretched work problem too. Counselling advises to bring work into a neutral position, neither positive nor negative. Is this neutral place the middle way? Being involved enough to feel valued and part of a team at work, but not involved as much as to feel rejected or betrayed? 

This is a work in progress. I am a work in progress! And I thank you for reading my ramblings.