When I was a little girl, my mother had a vegetable garden in our backyard. Each of us had our favorite. My brother loved the radishes and my dad appreciated the green beans. My favorite were the cherry tomatoes. Each one was just the right size to pop into my mouth. Warm from the sun, they would explode with flavor in my mouth. I couldn’t get enough of them!
Until the day I broke out in hives. After some searching questions about what I had been doing and eating, my mother came to the conclusion that my love of cherry tomatoes had caused the problem. It wasn’t that the tomatoes were bad for me, it was that too many of them overwhelmed my body. For several days, I itched and went without tomatoes until the hives healed. You can be sure that I was careful not to eat as many tomatoes after that!
Isn’t that same thing true in our daily lives? There are people, occupations, foods, objects, pastimes that aren’t harmful in themselves but too much of them can hurt us, can cause our systems to shut down because of the overload. Here are just a few of the things that can be too much for me:
–Too many people and not enough alone time
—Too much work and not enough play
—Too many hamburgers and not enough salad
—Too many books and not enough movement
—Too much time on screens and not enough time using my hands to create
–Too much busyness and not enough time for reflection
–Too much doing and not enough being
People, work, food, pastimes, and many things to do aren’t necessarily harmful in themselves, but too much of any of them can cause my life to tilt out of balance, which leads to a sense of unease in my spiritual and emotional life. The solution is often to take a break from those things in order to recalibrate my system. Then I can add the books, screens, and other good things back, being more careful in the proportion of time and attention each is taking in my life.
What good thing do you have in your life that can be too much? What do you do to balance that thing out so that you don’t get “hives”.