Balance: How often do you hear, see or say this word? I, for one, hear it a lot. From childhood learning, to meal planning, health magazines, doctor offices, board rooms, food labels, therapists, teachers, bosses and world news, the term is widespread. We can use the word often, but when it comes to defining it, I find many are at a loss. As a Balance, Wellness and Movement Coach, I guide others in the quest to define and create their life on their terms. Rediscovering and defining for ourselves what some basic terms and concepts mean to us as individuals is the key to living authentically and meaningfully. This balance thing is no exception.
For a long time the concept of balance eluded me, too. To be honest, sometimes it still does. I have often wondered "does this balance thing even exist? And if so, who has it?" This initial curiosity has set me on a journey that continues daily, no end in sight yet.
In looking more closely at this all elusive state, I discovered some of the ways I have defined balance. I have equated to stillness and calm, success and perfection. This is a nice theory, a grand ideal, and a trap when I attach to it. Balanced living might include all of these things, though it is not dependent on them. Balance is not a state of complete stillness, as I have thought most of my life and until now, assumed, and become quite frustrated over. Looking at this belief now, it appears more like death to me. Accepting that I had been confused in previous interactions with balance allowed me to rediscover what it is in my life.
If balance isn't what I thought, what does it even look like? How will I know when I'm living it? Am I just waiting for someone else to tell me I have arrived at it?
Asking the question "what is balance to me?" while weaving in the tool of curiosity brought even more questions. Question, question, doubt, frustration, question, comparison... and then I had a revelation.
Sitting on one of those almost too fun to exercise with bouncy balls of all places, I noticed how when I got still and found my center, to remain there, upright and erect, I had to make continuous small adjustments to my legs, back, abs, and arms. A lot was being asked of me: my breath and focus were required as I kept these systems working together to keep me “balanced." This working to stay centered did not feel stressful or agitating, it did ask me to focus and stay committed. "This was it, balance!" poured from my lips, and then I tipped off and met the mat. I had met balance for a moment. My physic al body was not completely still though it might have appeared so from the outside. This moment on the yoga mat remains with me. A simple exercise with profound teachings.
Balance is not what I had previously thought. In an instant, my definition broadened and so had my experience of balance. No longer stagnant and fixed, I was free to explore balance in new terms. Stay curious and the answers will come.
Such is the way balance shows up in my day to day life. Accept the imbalance, ask meaningful questions and assess the situation from the inside out. Bring to awareness one area of your world that feels a bit off kilter. Get in touch with the situation or relationship and apply these questions to it:
Feel into these statements and practice how it will be to actually strike the balanced life you so desire. In celebrating the process of finding our own balance, new insights become available that were hidden from view when we were in resistance mode.
The idea that balance has to look a certain way will keep it in our future, never in the here and now. And who wants to wait for balance? I know I don't. Some equilibrium now and ongoingly sounds wonderful. As long as we stay in the "if...then" and "when...then," our power to choose the reality we live remains in the hands of others: other people, institutions, and circumstances.
My definition of balance is one that continues to grow, change and reveal itself in new ways. While I still wonder how balanced my life actually is, when I ponder on the balance thing there is a peaceful presence that definitely hasn't always been there. Putting to practice the tools of acceptance, curiosity, assessment and application (trying things out) have changed my relationship with balance into something rich, menaingful and rewarding. Balance is something unique to each of us, undefinable by anyone else. Continuing to identify what balance means to me has become fun as I've taken the pressure off and given myself a break for not being perfect. Both of these are daily spiritual practices. I might not be perfect, I definitely tumble, and there are areas of my life that are beautifully in balance right now. These are worth celebrating! And learning from for that matter. Where we are in balance can direct us to find balance and live it in the areas that are ready for a newfound centeredness. Take a moment and learn from your successes. Practically applying what has worked for us before is a simple and efficient way to attain our goals.
Ways to communicate with that balance thing and strike it where you want it include: make small adjustments, look for what's already working, practice adaptability, flexibility, patience, letting go of assumptions, have trust in your process, take the lens off other people's balance or lack thereof, shake the constantly available opinions of others, following your intuition, ask those you admire how they strike the balance they do.
Explore these concepts and apply them to your day to day when you want to find balance again. Remember, balance, like us, are continusouly growing and changing. Allow the balance of yesterday to transform into something equally satifying.
Remember, there is no one way to live in balance. Freedom comes from knowing what works for someone else might not work for you. We are all in this together and only you can discover that glorious formula for balanced living perfectly tailored for you! Question those assumptions, explore your world, stay curious, get on the bouncy ball, be gentle with yourself and find your way to balance as it is showing up today.
Ready, Set, Go, I believe in you!
Darcy Helene Meehan
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas