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Life is like ball juggling

Not being able to let go. Pushing too strong. Moving too slow. Finding it difficult to balance more than two things at the same time. Thinking about another thing while doing what I have to do at the moment. Thinking “I got this!” and a minute later feeling frustrated because I actually, didn’t get it.

This is definitely describing several aspects and moments of my life, but also the main things I recognized myself falling into, as I’ve been learning to juggle balls these last two weeks.

It all started while reading The Power of Full Engagement, by Loehr and Schwartz. In that book, they tell the story of a person that wanted a bit more joy and play in his life and a way to disconnect from meetings and stressful moments. This person learned how to do some all juggling and spent 10–15 minutes a few times a day to try something new and fun, and was very happy with it.

I’ve always found ball juggling something fascinating and almost impossible to do (never tried thou). You have to be very present, focused, trying to coordinate your hands, arms, sight, and body position while not letting the balls drop. I am a clumsy, anxious person that really does not coordinate the body parts properly for this type of activity. And I really never tried it because whilst I saw it as something fascinating, I didn’t find the “use” of it.

Two weeks ago I said to myself that I wanted to learn something completely new, push my boundaries and actually learn something that has nothing to do with work nor academics and… because life works in mysterious ways…I read in that book about this person doing ball juggling…and it felt just like the perfect thing to do.

Believe it or not, I started having philosophical conversations with myself while I was juggling the balls (definitely not being focused as you see!) and this whole article came to mind while doing it. Sometimes I don’t let go of a ball on time and it got me thinking….I do the same thing in other aspects of my life. I also find myself thinking about how difficult it is to keep all balls moving and falling in place, and yes…that’s exactly what I think about my life sometimes with work, study, friends, family, mental and physical health. The main thing I’m working through right now is that I drop the ball way forward with my right arm and can’t find a balance. This is surprisingly similar to what happens in my life…always trying to move forward, not stopping, just forward.

But the funniest and most eye-opening experience of it all has been being OK with letting all the balls drop to the floor. As easy as it sounds, I want to catch them before they fall as I don’t want to make extra noise, or to feel that I failed again or…god knows what!! The simple fact of letting them drop to the floor and laughing about it brought me a lightness and joy that I wouldn’t have thought this “silly” activity could give me. And it taught me that it is good to let go, and laugh about it — in other aspects of life too.

I am nowhere close to being good at ball juggling, and I honestly do not care. It is fun, it takes my mind off of whatever I’m doing at the moment and allows me to recharge and recover my mental and physical energy.

We all need more joy and lightness in our lives. Doing things just for the sake of it and not because it is a means to an end. I know I do. And now that I have seen again how these random acts/activities can actually help me in other aspects of my life, I am more confident than ever.

So, go ahead and do that thing you always wanted to do but never thought it was useful. Learn tap dance, ball juggling, playing cards, painting mandalas, etc. Give yourself space to learn something new and enjoy the process. Because it is not about learning to be great…it’s about the journey!

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