All this talk about balance these days… everywhere you look there’s another IG post or lengthy webinar trying to inspire you to achieve a life of balance.
First of all, what does BALANCE look like to you?
It’s a somewhat abstract concept when applied to life, isn’t it? The word balance means a condition in which things are equally distributed.
Seriously, give me a break, equally distribute life? … just how could you possibly do that? Evenly distribute your life?
Or, more accurately; how do you now RE-REDISTRIBUTE your life evenly?
Let’s see .. “Ok, I spend 8-10 hours a day working and only maybe that many hours a WEEK spending quality time with my family, I will now spend half my time at work and half my time playing twister with the kids.”
Mmmmm, that’s not going to work. When do you sleep? Eat? Shower? Clean? Do yoga? Walk the dog? Go to the bathroom?
So now what? Now you RE-REDISTRIBUTE your life so that everything gets an equal amount of time, effort, emotion and attention…. That doesn’t even sound good in theory! Obviously you don’t need the same amount of time for brushing your teeth as you do for sleeping, that’s just silly. But that’s what a (literally) balanced life would be like.
Let’s review; by definition, a life of balance would cause all sorts of problems in every aspect of your life. But, the concept still feels really good and the idea of a life of balance is empowering! So, we strive and we reach and we spread ourselves thin, trying to achieve what we think is “balance”.
Here’s the thing… By striving so hard to create balance, we create imbalance.
As a verb, balance means to keep in a steady position (now we’re cookin’!), which leads me to the concept of BEING balanced, balancing YOU. Not “creating a life of balance” or “striving” to achieve it or scrutinizing yourself, your priorities and the way you live your life because they don’t LOOK balanced.
Look at yoga. In tree pose, we stand on one foot with the other leg bent and the arch of that foot against the standing leg’s thigh (like a flamingo). Arms can be out like branches or in front of you, with hands in prayer or wherever you choose. This is both one of the easiest and hardest poses in yoga. As with any yoga pose, the stronger you are in it and the deeper you go in your commitment to it, determines how steady you are, for how long and when you must come out of the pose.
So, in tree pose, you are balancing, but the pose itself is not “evenly distributed”. One side of your body is doing one thing and the other side is doing another. Your ability to stand there balancing is due to adjustments made within your body and mind. You chose to make your body fit into this pose with (relative) ease and hold steady.
I know you know where I’m going with this…
Guys, your life is never – I repeat – NEVER going to be “balanced.”
And that’s ok! In fact, that’s great! But you know what can be balanced? That’s right.
What do you need, as a vibrant soul in this human experience, what do you need to feel and be steady? Answers such as; “I need more money to feel and be a steady being” are not allowed. Know why? Because a steady, balanced person always has what they need. Not because they bought it, but because they make adjustments within their body and mind to fit into life with ease (the ease part takes a lot of practice!)
Some simple ways to dive into becoming a person of balance are:
- Start a gratitude journal. Every day, at whatever time works best for you (but ideally the same time each day) jot down a few things that you are particularly grateful for that day. Put it in perspective.
- Speaking of gratitude, make a habit of thanking people. When someone lets you pass them on the highway, I don’t care if they can see you or not, say thank you. And wave, just in case they do see you.
- Do things to prompt gratitude in others. Hold a door open or compliment someone. Feed that good vibes machine!
- Choose your battles. Do you have a teenager sneaking out, late at night? Yea, address that. Does he or she forget to turn off the TV once in awhile? That’s likely not worth an argument. Does your neighbor have tons of unsightly junk on their yard that’s a turnoff for potential buyers of your home for sale? Ok, you should probably work on that. Does your neighbor’s lawn look like they skipped a week or two mowing? That’s just not something worth your time or energy. In choosing your battles, you’re accepting things for what they are, which is really good practice. You’re also creating a more peaceful environment.
- Take a look at what makes you feel good. What keeps you steady? Do more of that.
- Learn to say no. If you want to be balanced as a person, you have to look out for yourself
At the end of the day, what we all want is to be happy. Grasping for and/or achieving the pie in the sky“balanced life” will not give you happiness. YOU are going to give you happiness. You are going to trust this life and stand strong no matter what it throws at you.
What I dream of is an art of balance. – Henri Matisse