5/30/2014 2 Comments
BALANCE. It’s a word that's used often in our culture. Many of us are constantly seeking it. But what does it actually mean?
What would it feel like to live a balanced life? What would you do if you could free up just one hour each day to focus on yourself?
It is possible. Life feels better when you strategically align the life you live with the person you are becoming.
Living an authentic life leads to a balanced life.
In September 2012 the New York Times ran a story on straightening out the work-life balance, When the Work-Life Scales Are Unequal. Many of us work 40-60 hours per week (or more) and that doesn't include the work of parenting or personal and family commitments.
I've come to believe that “work-life balance” is a myth. Think about it, is your work really not a part of your life? It may not feel like it, but the reality is you are living your life (although maybe unconsciously) while you are working.
I used to think that balance was something you found and then life was good from that point on. Now I know better. Finding and maintaining balance in your life is a dynamic process…balancing.
What feels balanced to you in this moment may not feel as balanced one week from now. The process of balancing requires many subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, shifts in our internal and external world.
It's like practicing the tree pose in yoga. It looks like you're perfectly balanced and yet there are many tiny movements and adjustments required to maintain the pose (Unfamiliar with tree pose? Learn more with this 2 minute video from Yoga Journal). Take a minute to attempt the pose - you'll see what I mean.
Now I use the term life balancing. It's not something that will magically happen. I work daily to create habits and rituals that support balancing my life. It takes some time and effort but the return on investment is Big (yes, with a capital B).
Here are 3 things that are helping me to move towards feeling a greater sense of balance in daily life:
1. Set the intention. When I deliberately focus on cultivating balance in my life, the conditions that allow me to feel more balanced seem to appear. Energy follows your attention. When you are paying attention to how much balance you sense in your life, it raises your awareness and helps you to know if you're on track. Remember as you pay attention to be kind to yourself in the process. What you learn will help you to know what may need to change to create more balance and harmony in your life.
2. What is my vision for my life? Asking this question regularly has helped me clarify what it is I'm wanting out of life. The focus is not just on what I want to do. It includes how I want to be; how I want to show up in the world. Having a clear vision helps me in making decisions that support and move me in the direction of my vision.
3. Practice making decisions and maintaining healthy boundaries. Fear of making the wrong decision has paralyzed me at times...leading to no decision and inaction. This only creates more stress and throws you way out of any sense of balance you may have had.
I have learned that not making a decision is passive action; you are allowing someone else to determine what happens rather than stepping up to lead your life.
This lesson has been invaluable. I now practice making more decisions, giving myself permission to make a mistake knowing that it's an opportunity for learning...not the end of the world.
I also practice saying, "No" more often. This is simple and yet it feels so hard. I've recognized there are times when I don't say no because of fear of disappointing others or wanting to avoid conflict. I now ask myself if taking on a new commitment, responsibility, or task will move me closer to my vision or away from my vision. This has helped tremendously in being able to clearly say no without feeling guilty about that response.
Life balancing is a key component to thriving. And, it is possible.
Health and well-being are not simply the absence of disease. Love, joy, energy and a sense of purpose are some of the ways I define well-being, along with creating enough space in my life to show up and be fully present with the experiences I am having. This is my motivation for balancing my life.
I'm interested in hearing what gets in your way of balancing your life and what's helped you to overcome those obstacles. Leave a comment below.
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