Hello dear friends!
How often are we told that balance is the key to happiness? It seems like finding balance is both a trendy topic and an impossible feat, especially for today’s modern woman. We’re expected to fulfill so many roles, to “have it all”, and to juggle a million responsibilities, all while never smudging our makeup. It’s a lot of pressure to deal with, and then we’re told to keep things balanced so we can find fulfillment and joy in life, and we’re not sure how to do that or even where to start. The truth is, balance is highly personal, and we each need to find our own ways of staying balanced that feel right to us.
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~Thomas Merton
But first, we need to discover what it means to be in balance, and what that looks like in practice. In essence, balance is all about harmony and equanimity, or the quality of being unshakable and calm in the face of everyday stressors. When you have balance, you feel like you are on solid ground, and have a good handle on all the aspects of your life. In a balanced state, you don’t feel like your heart, mind, or energy are being pulled too strongly in one direction or another. You embody your diverse skills and interests in a way that is sustainable and clear-headed. That all sounds wonderful, but how do we know when things are in or out of balance? In order to get a good view of our starting point, we need to take stock of how we spend our time and effort.
When we consider where our energy goes each day, it’s helpful to break it down by category, starting with the two main aspects of internal and external influences. From there, we can subdivide them into specific areas of focus:
Internal- covers our inner worlds, self-reflection, and time spent investing in ourselves
o Health- caring for our bodies with nutrition, exercise, and sleep vs. allowing treats and off days
o Mind- intellectual and creative pursuits vs. letting the mind rest and recharge
o Heart- giving vs. receiving love, affection, and compassion
External- covers our outer worlds, our social interactions, and activities
o Work- challenging ourselves to meet goals vs. simply going with the flow and seeing the bigger picture
o Family- fulfilling your familial or household duties vs. setting healthy boundaries for an egalitarian home
o Social- satisfying our need for socialization and connection vs. investing in solo time
o Fun- making time for things you enjoy for their own sake vs. not overdoing it or binging on leisure time
Using these things as a rubric, we can take a hard look at how we spend our time and energy, and perhaps identify some areas where we feel out of balance. In theory, when all of these aspects are equal, we feel awake, nourished, joyful, and fulfilled. But don’t worry if you are seeing lots of imbalance in these categories for yourself right now! There is a natural undulation in the flow of life, and things come in and out of balance at different times, and that’s okay- see tip #2.
The true telling if your life is out of balance is how you feel when you tap into your inner voice. Often, our intuition or higher self speaks clearly when things are pulled too thin or we’re starting to tip over, giving us signs and symptoms as a way to try to get our attention. Some of those might be:
· Feeling like you never have enough time to do everything
· Losing interest in the things that you used to love
· Falling apart of relationships, both romantic and platonic
· Indigestion, difficulty sleeping, anxiety or panic attacks
· Addictions to coffee/alcohol/drugs
· Feeling out of touch with your spiritual path or Divine purpose
· Having no free space on your calendar
There are as many ways to fall out of balance as there are people on the planet. Remember that your path to a blissful, balanced life is personal to you! When you’re ready to get a hold of your life and feel the easy and harmony again, here are a few tips for you to put into action.
1. Look to nature
Mother Nature is the ideal example of balance. Just as there will always be cosmic balance in the universe, there is always balance in the natural world. You can find inspiration in the seasons, the phases of the moon, or animal life cycles to provide a rubric for how you can ebb and flow with grace. Align your life’s work and play with these steady rhythms, and you will find balance in a natural way.
2. Think longer term
Too often, we get shortsighted when we think of balancing our lives. We panic when we don’t block out equal sections of time or money to spend on work, play, health, romance, etc…and we worry that we’re out of balance. But true balance is actually seen over a longer period of time, perhaps 6 months to a year. It’s perfectly natural to invest more time in something for a while, like getting your business off the ground, or caring for a newborn baby, but these energies should even out over time. Don’t stress out over the short-term imbalances, and focus on the bigger picture.
3. Write it down
We are notoriously bad at miscalculating how much time and energy we spend on certain things, so it’s helpful to write things down. Take inventory of your life by journaling what an average week looks like- how long you do certain tasks, how you spend your money, and even how you would rank yourself using the above categories. This can be a helpful overview, and if you continue journaling for a month or two, it can really clarify what needs to change.
4. Make a commitment
You want to have peace and balance in your life, but changing old habits is hard. Even harder is giving up society’s expectations of you that have been ingrained in you for years! But you can do it. Remember that you are in charge of how and where you invest your energy, and when you make a commitment to change something, keep your word to yourself. Don’t blow off that art class your soul is longing for, just to put in a few more hours at work, and don’t skip that meditation session for yet another boozy girl’s night out.
Finding your personal confidence and harmony doesn’t have to be impossible, especially when you bring your mindful intention to doing so. Be patient with yourself and remember to meet your setbacks with ease. Blissful balance is within reach, my friends!
Wishing you the best, and as always...
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~