We all know the story- Goldilocks finds her way into the Three Bears’ home ( a little trespass and B&E is overlooked here), and she wanders around their house. Investigating the chairs, the food and finally the beds she makes herself at home. She not only looks at but tries each item and after finding the “just right” quality of each she sits, she eats and finally lays down to rest, where she is ultimately discovered by the bears who evidently forgive all when they see how cute she looks when she sleeps. Or something like that.
The story itself is all wrong, you don’t go into other people’s houses, try their furniture, eat their food and sleep in their beds. You just don’t. But the message about finding “just right” is the real nugget of the story. And that is what has always been my take-away.
In my active addiction ALL or NOTHING were the only qualities I knew. You were my friend and liked everything that I did, or you were not my friend. I always went to bars where there was live music or I didn’t. I did not know levels of quantity – I always wanted more. I was ON or I was OFF. Excess was a way of life. I was always “all in” without regard for the propriety or duration of my actions, or in disdainful reserve, not participating at all. To be in the middle was to be boring. And I, above all else, was not boring or to be bored.
When I became clean and sober I discovered that I needed to find moderation. My recovery required total abstinence from substances, but other areas of my life invited me to test the waters in finding the medium way. Neither too tired nor too active, neither too busy nor slothful, neither too promiscuous nor too reserved; I wanted to find balance in my life.
At first it felt as if I were not engaged or involved; excess was my only way of feeling connected. Being moderate felt uncomfortable. In some circumstances it felt like I wasn’t trying, or that what I was doing wasn’t good enough. Only when I was over working or over doing did I feel as though I were doing enough. Only an excess of feeling indicated engagement. In other circumstances that were difficult or where emotions felt too much I retreated entirely. No engagement what so ever.
Times changed, I learned to practice the art of “SOME”; in my relationships, in my activities, in my appetites, in my service. Awkward at first, it eventually became my new normal, if even for a moment. I was becoming accustomed to what “just right” felt like.
When I get a new job, I need to find out how I can do my best without over-doing it. When I take a yoga class from a new teacher I investigate the sensations of the poses to discover how I can benefit from the practice without injury. Embracing service, in the rooms of recovery or in any volunteer situation I pay attention to the idea of too much or too many, or not enough / too few. Even buying gifts for the holidays I am liable to go overboard in one way or another unless I pay attention to “just right”.
Whether it is finding my seat at the table (my place in any community), the temperature / quantity of a meal (what nurtures or sustains me) or with the quality of my rest (restore rather than retreat) I pay attention. Finding the balance between atrophy and injury, between too much or too little, I find the medium way.
It is a challenge, it requires vigilance, the landscape changes and, as seasons of my life change, so do the qualities of “too much” and “too little”. With “just right” I can rest easy knowing I am enough, I do enough and I have enough. I can trust.
Kyczy Hawk RYT E-500
Author “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path” and “Life in Bite-Sized Morsels” and “From Burnout to Balance” among others. She is the founder of S.O.A.R.(™) Success Over Addiction and Relapse. You can join Kyczy and a host of other people in recovery every Sunday morning at 7am PT (10 am ET) on In The Rooms for the Yoga Recovery meeting.
A leader of Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) classes for nearly five years and a devoted teacher to people in treatment centers and in jail- Kyczy created a teacher training program for others who wish to work in this field. Trauma sensitivity and the somatics of moving home into your body are some of the basics taught in S.O.A.R.(™) Success Over Addiction and Relapse.