I never liked the circus that much as a child. Scary clowns, people dangling upside down, at risk of falling. Juggling can be a bit tedious after a while. So looking at my life as a circus, using it as a metaphor, is really quite funny!
The juggling thing seems obvious. I am a working mother of two young children. We’ve been trying to renovate a house, for the last 7 years, whilst building my business. Juggling is actually quite a mild idea when I think about all the challenges I keep moving and all the balls I keep in the air – having food in the house, having clean clothes for us all, making sure homework and reading is done, keeping the house clean(#fail), managing the family finances, working(!), keeping up with friends, keeping up with home emails (let alone work ones), planning a holiday (ha ha), keeping my marriage healthy, keeping my children healthy, keeping us all happy…ahhhh. Balls get dropped.
Even the most skilled juggler has a maximum number of balls he can manage before it gets too difficult. For me, at home, I usually start dropping balls when I try and introduce something new, without letting go of something else. I can’t just add in 3 exercise classes a week, without something else giving, a ball dropping….its just not doable. Or if one of my children wants to start a new class or hobby…that’s another ball a mother has to juggle! We have choices. Do we try and juggle more and more and more, do we decide to let something go, consciously accept we are not perfect and will drop something or do we get stressed and annoyed when we can’t manage it all? We are not super shero’s.
Last year, I started writing and painting about how I felt like a tight rope walker. I had this sudden image of me wobbling along the tight rope of my life, trying to keep focussed and keep my ultimate aim in sight – my ideal life and business. I realised quite quickly that I keep getting distracted by other things, things which cause me to look down, lose forward momentum, wobble and fall off!
I also realised all the helpful things a tight rope walker does to get to her destination – stay balanced, take small steps, keep moving, keep focussed on the goal/destination, ignore distractions and she certainly does not look down. I also realised how much time and energy I spent working on making my safety net, tighter and stronger, so much so that I stopped moving forward. My safety net was my old job, keeping money coming in, training in my old job….all things that were not related directly to my new goal, my new business, my overall vision for my life!
So what about being a clown? As I was writing this piece, I had a phone call from a business coach who is also a clown! I took this uncanny coincidence to ask him to sum up, in one sentence, what he feels being a clown is about….he said that for him, it is finding anyway he can, to make someone laugh – and that’s different for everyone!
I have realised the supreme value of laughing in recent years, and I often do things to make myself and my children laugh. Laughing breaks the downward cycle we often get into. It makes you shift to a different place in side and often helps us see a different perspective, bringing more flexibility and resilience. It helps us realise how we take things far too seriously, most of the time. Laughing gives our bodies lovely happy chemicals, including serotonin and helpful endorphins. These all help us keep well. Laughing helps our face and body muscles toned up (and reminds me to use the loo). When we are with someone and we laugh, you realise that you both see something in the same way, that you are both human – laughing connects us.
So I strive to make people laugh. When I teach or speak, I often play the fool…I’ve often been told I should do stand up comedy! At home, I point out funny things to the kids, laugh out loud when at all possible and be silly as often as I can. Life is short. It a good idea to enjoy it!
So yes, I am like a mini circus. I juggle, clown and spend my life walking a tight rope, and like a circus, life is colourful, meant to be fun. In the Big Top that is my life, I am the Ring Master trying to ensure that everyone, including me, enjoys the show.