inspirational tools to create life balance in your everyday

embracing new roles: march 2009


Stepping outside today, it is a symphony of rain outside our front door. The drip drop on the roof, the rush of the water onto the smooth rocks beneath the drain pipe, even the whoosh of a little blue bird adds to the melody. Everything is soaked to the bone and feels full and ready for life. This week, I’ve spent days nesting in our new home near the fire, drinking cups of tea and allowing our impression to begin soaking into these new white walls.

These indoor days have given me no excuse not to continue unpacking all of our boxes. It is a slow process, but as I unpack our physical objects onto shelves and into cupboards, I’ve noticed myself also unpacking the roles that I’ve played over the years. The role of writer comes out as my books show their spines again, swimmer comes out as I set up a space for my goggles and kick board and fins, yoga teacher comes out as I set up my meditation space and find a corner to lean my mat, wife comes out as I unpack Peter’s shoes and then friend, daughter and sister are held cherished in our photos.

And as I unpack these items from their tissue paper and bubble wrap and the new white rooms begin to reflect our colors, I wonder what else will bloom from this time. I wonder towards the future and hope that these new blank spaces might hold the helmet of a cyclist or the fabric of a quilter or the maternity clothes of mother or the seeds of a gardener. Some days more than others, dreams feel close. And then those days sneak in where it is difficult to trust in the positive unfolding of our lives. The antidote that I’ve found for this doubt, is simply to begin from where we find ourselves today with much compassion for where we have been.

It is like the pages in the coloring books that I was given as a child. They seemed so thick at first and I would wonder where to start. All of those blank sections, waiting for color, intimidated even an avid colorer like myself. A perfectionist, for most of my life, I would line up all my crayons and choose carefully at first, making certain to keep in the lines and encouraging my little sister to do the same. But as time went by, my body would relax towards the soft pages, and I wasn’t so much choosing the colors as the colors were choosing me. The strokes of the crayon would become wider and I wouldn’t press as hard. There was flow as I relaxed against the space that I was becoming familiar with. And at the end I would find the tips of the crayons bleeding into one another, creating sunsets of color and little stray lines that had danced off the edges. When the page was all colored in and there was nothing left to do, I would look down and see a picture that was never what I had imagined at the start. Yet through the experience it had become mine, imperfect and beautiful.

When we’re embarking on taking on new roles in our lives, we often hesitate. We begin with our heads, reading manuals and studying what previous souls have found. Then when we gain some momentum and we find we’re ready to let go, our hearts seem to find their way into the picture. What is most important is that we start. And one of the first steps to beginning something new, is shaking off the labels of who we are and who we aren’t, both in our own eyes and others. These ideas of who we are, can be so sticky that they prevent us from trying anything new. And although the journey can be frightening, it is far outweighed by the beauty that can bloom from simply beginning.

Recently, our friend Kristy was visiting from Australia. We went out for a day of exploring in the rugged coastline outside of San Francisco and deep into the lofty trails of Muir Woods. At the end of the day, we were feeling full of new images and the camaraderie of being with old friends. We were driving down a country road when just ahead of us an animal was trotting its way down the road. Peter yelled from the backseat of our car, “It’s a coyote!” I hit the brakes and we watched as the coyote trotted towards the car. Peter launched himself from the backseat up through the moon roof, camera in hand. By the time he made it out, he was only able to catch the tail of our new friend as he wandered away.

Intrigued by this unexpected gift in our day, we turned the car around and followed this mysterious animal towards a large field. Peter grabbed the zoom lens and headed out. Kristy and I followed at a distance as the coyote traveled to the middle of the green field and Peter trailed behind. The coyote eyed him with intent and Peter dropped down into the grass onto his belly drawing himself into a perfect version of cobra pose. It never hurts to be married to a yoga teacher! In response, the coyote dropped down as well. Each time that Peter lifted is head so did his new friend.

Kristy and I watched, as they both got comfortable in their new roles. Peter would inch forward a foot or two, snap away and drop down eye level with the coyote. This dance lasted for nearly forty-five minutes until Peter, and his version of the wolf, were only ten feet away from each other. It was in this moment, that it occurred to me on a heart level how hard my husband had worked to become an accomplished photographer.

Two years ago, he had saved his pennies for a good digital SRL camera and then enrolled himself in a beginners photography course at The Australian Centre for Photography. It was there that he brushed shoulders with novice to advanced photographers and stretched new muscles on a number of projects. He was exposed to a whole new world with terms and rules that were foreign to him. And from an interest that began as a tiny flame, his passion was able to grow. Yet, it was only in this moment, some years later that the role bloomed for me. I suddenly saw my husband as an advanced photographer, comfortable with his art form and passionate enough to inch one moment at a time towards a new opportunity in this role.

When we got back into the car, not only had we experienced an amazing moment in nature, but I had realized that everyday there are opportunities for the many roles that we’ll meet in our lifetime to unfold. It is by being open to these new roles, and not clinging to the old, that we enrich our own lives as well as those around us.

This month I encourage you to try on your new hat. Whether that is literally wearing a new style of clothes or more figuratively taking steps towards a new role for yourself, just start. Take the time to look back on your journals and circle any interests or passions that continually are mentioned. If you don’t write, ask your friends and loved ones if they have heard a passion of yours that you may not be aware you are mentioning. Recently, a new friend from Hawaii, reminded me in an email of my desire to start making quilts. Already this had fallen behind the bookcase of my life, and here a friend was able to scoop it to the forefront again. These dreams are so fragile, they need all the support they can get.

When you are ready, take a walk and listen in that solitude to an interest of yours that you would like to see bloom. Start by coloring in one square at a time and watch as the rest of the picture emerges in colors that are new and vibrant and surprising. Go out and find your version of Peter and the coyote, one that you will feel alive in. I promise, the journey you will uncover, simply by beginning will be made up of experiences you could have never have planned.

This is a monthly inspiration piece brought to you by author Christina Adler at ‘everyday balance’. If you would like to share your experience with these tools or subscribe to this inspiration piece each month, please send your name and email address to chrisadler@everydaybalance.net or by clicking on the orange subscription icon at the bottom of the page. For information regarding life coaching appointments in person, by telephone or online, send an email to the above address with your name and phone number or visit the contacts section of this website. Photo taken by Peter Moore in Muir Beach, California.

posted under 2009 life balance

chamomile vines


in between the vines
tea leaves grow
bright white petals
circling their own yellow sun

like fluffy planets
they combine into
a silky milky way
where rain drops and birds breeze by

and as I ponder
my steps get caught in the clay like mud
and my shoes
are nearly taken hostage

after these weeks of rain
this dance
of sunlight
in the midst of a wet wet week

ripped me outside
with the sound of velcro
from my fire lit home
so that I could feel

this lightness
in an otherwise
heavy week
of conversations

and opinions
and it is as if the earth
were encouraging
me just to calm down

with this soothing avenue
of chamomile
which bloomed while
I’ve been asleep

and dreaming
towards the many outcomes
of our woven together lives

and our
it blends like tea
steeped and varied

all of our petals
yet changed by our individual experiences
and then the whistle blows

high pitched on the stove
and we awaken knowing
that time and again are lives continue blooming
from this moment which we spend

turning on our axis
year in and year out
pulled by our own gravity
until a window opens once again

copyright – Christina Adler – 1 March 2009 – Windsor, California USA

posted under 2009 poetry