Tuesday’s Chill Pill: seamless juggling

I’d never heard of contact juggling before yesterday. But once I saw it I was mesmerized. Rather than tossing a bunch of items in the air, the juggler must always keep his hands on the ball. Where a traditional juggler is impressive in his physical strength and stamina, the contact juggler is almost balletic in his grace and fluidity.

I couldn’t help but reflect on the parallels to juggling in real life as I watched. Most of us juggle the various priorities in our lives like the traditional juggler. We expend great effort in keeping all those balls in the air.

But what if we took a cue from contact jugglers?

Notice how the juggler in this video starts out with many crystal balls. While he handles them gracefully, things only get really interesting when he puts all but one down (around 1min 30sec).

Suddenly the canvas expands dramatically from his hands to his entire body. The observer shifts her focus too – from the external orbs in his hands to the seamless interaction between the juggler and his object. Two become one and both become more spectacular in the process.

I think the same holds true in life. It is obviously possible to juggle more than one thing at a time. But choosing to focus on one thing is transformative. Both juggler and “jugglee” become something greater. And I have to say, on the whole, I’d sure like my life to “look” (and, who are we kidding, feel) more like the graceful dance of the contact juggler. It looks…effortless.

And effortless sure sounds good to me.

Now, I’m not advocating eliminating all the different balls in your life. Life would be pretty boring if that were the case! But rather than trying to hold multiple things simultaneously, simply release one before embracing the next.

What do you think? Am I reading too much into this? Do you feel more graceful when you focus on one thing versus many? Do you think you and the things you are juggling would be transformed with greater focus?