I’ve been juggling a lot on my plate lately. In fact, I feel like a juggler spinning plates on dowels - one on my head, one on my shoulder, one in the palm of my hand.
All the while, juggling fruits in my other hand and navigating my way across a room full of toys and kids’ clothes.
That’s been the metaphor of the past ten days. My husband has been traveling for work, kids need to be in lots of places and sometimes all a once, my eighth grader was leaving on his school trip for which I had a four-page packing list, and I started a new coaching group yesterday.
All good things going on - but lots of spinning, lots of balancing, lots of precise navigating. I’ve been managing by trying to take it one day at a time - not looking too far ahead at what’s coming down the pike.
And yet, I couldn’t help but notice one eyeball sneaking a peak at what I needed to be on my game for next.
Yesterday morning something shifted. Perhaps it helped that the eighth grader and his suitcase have left the premises, so there remains no “last thing” to remember to pack. Perhaps it helped to have kids off to school for the day - knowing nothing more will be added to the clutter in the family room over the next five hours.
But mostly, I think the shift had to do with the sun making an appearance.
I walked to the post office in the morning and felt the sun on my skin. I felt like the tulips in the front garden - opening, opening.
I took an hour at lunchtime to go for a longer walk. Amazingly, the sun was still shining. I walked along a rail trail with a canopy of trees overhead. I could almost see their leaves unfurling into their true maple-shaped selves.
I noticed myself taking deep breaths, filling my lungs all the way. My shoulders relaxed on the exhale and wound themselves farther down my back. Apparently, I’ve been walking around with my shoulders curled up toward my ears, and I’ve been breathing only as deeply as my collar bones.
I guess this is the risk of juggling spinning plates for a lifestyle. No body awareness, the only stretching and jumping happening in my mind - an incessant mental ping pong, holding the paddle in a death grip.
By the time I arrived back at my house, the tulips had launched themselves to full openness, their petals spread wide, risking the pull of gravity for the rays of sunshine on their innermost parts.
I could feel the sun calling me to unfurl, encouraging me to spread my arms wide and stretch my neck and chest towards the sky, towards the warm embrace of springtime.
Renewal is the word that comes to mind. The tulips, the trees and I have been diligently going about the business of spring in a huddled up sort of way. Not until yesterday’s sun showed up could we really sing with the joy of it.
That's when all those spinning plates stopped. I was aware of a much bigger picture - having to do with flourishing and renewal and drinking up the exquisiteness of just that moment.
I let the moment soak into me, imprinting itself on my cells, feeling grateful and holding onto a sense of being simply enough.
The sun has returned again this morning, and I am aware that there’s no need for a spinning plate routine.
Instead I set an intention for the day: being present, being open, being simply enough.
Where does your spinning plate routine show up? What might help you to put it down? What intention would you like to set in its place?
Jessica Curtis is a professional coach who helps people cultivate intention and live from a place of meaning and authenticity. If you think you could benefit from working with Jessica or want to invite her to work with your group, reach out to start a conversation.