One of the best things about starting to question - well, everything - is that after a while you start to enjoy it! Last year "balance" was kind of a big theme for me. I even put it in the center of my awesome "Mind, Body, Spirit" Venn diagram (and if that doesn't say "IMPORTANT!" then I don't know what does.) Balance has taken on an almost Legendary status in our culture - especially for the modern mama. Last year I argued that: There is no formula for perfect balance. Balance will look different for every person and it changes with time too. Still sounds pretty good. And of course I talked about children and balance, and how it's best if we can let go of trying to control them so that they can find their own balance.
So when I was reading Danielled LaPorte's The Fire Starter Sessions, and she proposed that - there's no such thing as balance - I did an emotional double take. WHAT?!? What does she mean, NO SUCH THING?? But the incredible thing is that instead of writing her off as some ranting lunatic, I almost immediately warmed up to the idea. I didn't just accept it as "truth" because she's so cool; no, I just liked that she was challenging an idea that was so deeply ingrained in me. And I understood quickly the point that she was making. She was talking about people who are profoundly passionate, who go deep into their work, who become so engrossed in something that everything else disappears. She was talking about becoming so focused on something that things like sleep and eating "healthy" food become extraneous. In the same way that I argued that "normal" can be boring at best, and harmful at worst, so can this idea of balance. This is especially detrimental when people ignore their callings and ditch the inner voice that guides them for an artificial idea of what Balance "should" look like in their lives.
But I still believe that it is important to take care of all of our needs - from the mental, to the physical, and the spiritual. So if I'm going to let go of the idea of balance, what am I going to replace it with?
My answer is "Flow". This word has also been on my radar a lot. I put it in my desire map between the feelings of "On fire" and "Peaceful":
The idea that I had is when there is a good balance (haha, old habits die hard!) between these two seemingly opposite feelings, then things will flow. What I've really begun to notice though, is that my core desired feeling of being "Connected" is my base - particularly with my family. When I am connected with them, then everything else is free to flow. When I am not, it's almost impossible for my my other core feelings to flow.
As I reflected more on this idea I also realized that "Balance" has a certain judgement attached to it. If we are trying to balance two things, we think of a scale and there being a perfect "amount" of the two things that will bring the scale into alignment. Any little bit off from this perfect amount on either side and we are out of balance - which means WRONG. A great example to me is exercise. Honestly, I still don't exercise that much since having my kids. But for someone who was extremely involved in sports and exercise right up until that time, it just doesn't bother me. I am active with my kids - playing tag, pushing them on swings, bouncing them on my birth ball until my arms almost fall off, learning to hoop with my daughter, sometimes taking walks (or even small jogs), jumping on our friends' trampoline with my son... and none of it is at a level that would be considered a sufficient amount of exercise by almost any expert. Yet, I am healthy and happy (and slimmer I have to add!) than I have ever been in my life.
I talked about how "me-time" as an idea doesn't sit well with me either. I think this is related to the idea of balance. From the outside it may appear to some people that I don't get sufficient "alone" or "down" time or time to do things that matter to me. And I'm not saying that I don't struggle sometimes. I do. But I struggle most when I try to force things and grab at what I feel like I deserve. If I can shift and trust that Life will give me what I need and accept each moment for what it is, Life has not yet failed to deliver. I live joyfully in the moment, connect with my loved ones, and get to do the things I am passionate about.
I become the flow.
When do you experience flow? Does this resonate with you or does it seem like "semantics"? If the idea of balance resonates with you, does it usually make you feel good to focus on it?
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.