August 2018 E-News
Balancing Our Different Roles in the World
"Strive not to be a success but to be of value."
Albert Einstein
It is Monday morning and I am just back from a great week of vacation. I did a great job of staying off email while away. That’s the good news. The bad news of course, is that my email box today is busting at the seams.
One of the first emails is from my wonderful colleague Becca, and it goes something like this: “Just a friendly reminder that your piece for the E-Newsletter is due tomorrow. The topic is "balancing work, home, and self-care."  I find this a bit ironic, given that after a week of vacation self-care, I am out of balance in all the right ways.
I confess that the Monday after vacation is generally not my favorite day of the year. The better the vacation, the harder that first Monday. I love my job, but there is a lot to be said for sleeping in, reading on a beach, family togetherness and lots of time in nature. This happened to be an especially good week on Cape Cod, including precious time with our increasingly absent teenagers.  And I crave the change of perspective that comes from stepping away from work, and into a different kind of time. I see the world and my place in it differently.
Week long vacations are great, but they are also rare. I’m pretty much done for the year. So now its back to shorter versions of this step back time. Like vacations, these brief spiritual practices have everything to do with work-home-self care balance. Prayer, quiet, and meditation are often the times I have a chance to reflect on the whole of my life. Am I working too much? Too little? Which relationships need attention? How much stress and anxiety am I carrying, and why? Prayer, quiet and meditation help me to know the state of my soul, so I can make corrections and adjustments to my life before the wheels come off in one way or another.
Reading in the quiet, priorities often get realigned. Today these were the words that provided the reminder I needed to hear:
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
     and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
     and delight yourselves in rich food.
(Isaiah 55:2)
Thank God for vacation. And help me God, after vacation, to step back often—to realign, reconnect, and renew.
Reflection Question - We'd love to hear from you!
Each month we feature a question as an opportunity for our readers to reflect on their own lives. Just recently, however, we realized that we're missing out on your answers. So, we'd love to make this a conversation. Reply to this email with your reflection and we just might feature it on social media. We can keep it anonymous or not, depending on your preference.

What can you do to tip the scales of your life in a more balanced direction?
Finding Balance and Hard Knocks
Our upcoming Fall newsletter includes a piece by Parker Palmer that includes the following: “ The punishment imposed on us for claiming true self can never be worse than the punishment we impose on ourselves by failing to make that claim. And the converse is true as well: no reward anyone might give us could possibly be greater than the reward that comes from living by our own best lights. ” Ouch. Can’t we make this whole thing a tad easier?

Not long ago that quote would have been as meaningless to me as reading Einstein’s paper on relativity. But I get it now. “Claiming your true self” is no walk in the park – unless perhaps that walk includes a tornado blowing through. For me, first came the humbling recognition that for years I was chasing things I didn’t really care about. Things started to wobble as challenges at home and at work forced a hard look at who I was and what I was trying to do. Buffeted by all that, I was fortunate to come to a place where I knew clearly what the next steps had to be. But, that included finding new work and moving my family to a new state. Then there was the minor detail that part of what I intended to do more-or-less required changing the western world. And, I needed to get it all done quickly so that I could retire in peace. What could possibly go wrong?

A see-saw has a fulcrum. It’s the immovable pivot point that underpins the whole contraption. For me, fulcrum has become another word for unshakable faith - and perhaps a metaphor for the reward Palmer is talking about. I have some of the pieces, but my fulcrum is a work in progress. Once I have it, I have trust that staying in balance is going to mean fewer, less painful falls. 

Dan Quinlan
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Keep in Touch
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Doug Wysockey-Johnson     
Dan Quinlan  
Alice Barbera  
Rebecca Perry-Hill