Sharing Your Views on Balance

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Wow!!!  Last week’s 3 part series on BALANCE definitely struck a chord with many of you!  I’m so grateful for your comments.  It can be lonely facing a struggle by ourselves, so it’s comforting to know we have common obstacles.  Plus, when you share your thoughts and perspectives, it turns this monologue into a dialogue – and that can be powerful for all of us.  So today’s blog will be sharing YOUR views on balance (the reader’s comments will be in “italics”).

virgin.com

virgin.com

I am also as you described, an all or nothing kinda gal.  I’m either totally engaged and focused, which has caused other parts of my life to spin out of control  (or better said, get little attention) because I have always struggled with multiple goals at one time! I get consumed with what I’m excited about!  So the balance thing is always a topic of discussion for me to strive towards!”

I love that you don’t just set one goal, but you have multiple goals you are working towards at one time.  However, I also totally understand the dilemma that can create.  Unless the goals overlap, it’s nearly impossible to work on two different goals at the exact same time.  For example, in my crossfit journey, I have a goal to get faster during my workouts, to build my stamina and not stop to rest during the timed portion of a workout.  I also have a goal to get stronger and be more powerful so I can lift heavier weights.  I can’t work on both of those goals during the same workout.  There’s nothing wrong with this scenario, as long as we are aware that we have more than one goal we are working on and we pick and choose (balance) when to devote attention to one over the other.

cartoonstock.com

cartoonstock.com

This one really speaks to me!  As a single mother of 4, attempting to run two companies, I struggle daily with balance. I’m actually sitting in the dentist chair typing this because this will be my only down time today.  I have been told that if I learn to delegate some of my responsibilities I would find more balance. I know that I am like you and give 100% to everything I do. So my question to you is what do you delegate ? Or do you just do it all yourself?”

The act of “delegating” is a a powerful concept with many benefits!  However, there are a few obstacles to overcome as we learn to delegate.  The first challenge I experienced when delegating was having to surrender control of the outcome (yes – I’m slightly type A!).  The second difficulty many women face when delegating is the guilt trip they put on themselves.  We feel some warped obligation to be super women and DO IT ALL!  But we’ve got to learn to let that go!  I’d rather accomplish less, but do it really well and be calm and peaceful in the process.  When we can get past those 2 obstacles, the last step is to determine what to delegate.  My organizer and blogging friend Amy gave me a great piece of advice a few years ago.  She said “if the task doesn’t require your voice or your unique skill and ability, then give it away to someone else to do!”  Her point was that we should be spending our time doing the things that only we can do.

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I’ve learned not to strive for a balanced life: it is not possible.  However, we can achieve a FULL LIFE. At any given point, one aspect of life demands more attention, focus and/or energy than another aspect. We owe it to ourselves and those in our lives to recognize and attend to that. The other components can take a little less attention temporarily, it will be their turn soon enough. It’s just a difference of one word, but the concept and goal is entirely different, and achievable.”

YES – I love the idea of a FULL LIFE!  I’ve added that term to my communication as a replacement for the word “busy”!  I found the more I said I was “busy”, the more stressed I felt.  So instead I choose to say I have a “full day”.  What I find most powerful about what you shared is your comment “it’s just the difference of one word” – meaning the difference between striving to live a BALANCED life and living a FULL life.  We often don’t realize it, but the words we choose to think, speak and write have a huge impact on how we process life.

spiritalhotchpot.worpress.com

spiritalhotchpot.worpress.com

Balance may or may not be attainable. I think it is just a perception. Focusing on the moment and giving your attention to whatever it is you are doing AT THAT PLACE IN TIME can be more fulfilling that becoming a “juggler” of many things. We as women often try to “conquer” and do it all to prove to ourselves and others that WE CAN! As you said in your first post, usually some other area in your life is sacrificed when you try to do or have it ALL! But, true harmony is appreciating each and every moment……slowing down to realize each breathe is precious!”

So beautifully said!  When I feel out of balance or in a state of disharmony, it’s most often connected to me being focused on the future instead of the present, and battling with unfulfilled expectations.  When I can quiet my mind (NOT an easy thing to do!) and be present in the moment and grateful for that moment – that is what harmony feels like to me.  You nailed it!

earlytorise.com

earlytorise.com

I loved reading your balance blogs. I’ve tried for the past two years to find balance and have found moments of balance, but not an overall sense of it. I’ve heard before that balance is NOT something we should strive for. When I first heard that, I was really put off by the person saying it. I think I get it now. I’ve accepted that 100% balance is not possible, and I’m ok with that. What I try to do is bring myself back to that state of mind after whatever chaos takes over temporarily. Somehow letting go of the possibility that complete balance is achievable has been a huge weight lifted off my shoulders! Between that and praying a lot, life is good!”

The ebb and flow is the surrendering to the chaos that sometimes takes over.  It’s important to follow that up by giving ourselves permission to move forward from that point, rather than feel the pressure to stand all the dominoes back up before continuing on with our day.  I too have felt a weight lifted when I let go of my quest for this perfect picture of balance.  When we strive for something  that is impossible to attain, we set ourselves up for failure.

Remember, our life is about the journey, not the destination.  So let’s enjoy riding the “ebb & flow”!

with Joy & Gratitude,

The Search for Balance – Part II

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I hope you found value in taking a few days to ponder this concept of life balance.  Since starting my last post ‘Is Balance Attainable’,  I have become very aware of the moments in my day when I feel balanced and the ones when I do not.  Balance feels like a well oiled machine where all the moving parts fit together perfectly.  When life goes as planned, the way I anticipate it should go, and it meets my expectations, that’s when I feel most balanced!  The best word I know to describe this feeling is harmony – the different parts of my life sing in harmony with each other and the sound is beautiful.

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There is a moment when the plate spinner gets all his plates spinning with sufficient speed, a moment when he doesn’t have to attend to any of the plates, a moment of total balance and harmony…..until one of the plates begins to teeter.  This is the reality of life – we can create that moment of pure harmony but it rarely lasts very long.  Inevitably, some part of our life is always teetering.

Yesterday was a perfect example.  I woke early in the morning feeling calm, focused and ready for an awesome day!  The schedule was planned out with precision and included a few set appointments, writing time, family time, work out time and a little ‘do-nothing’ time.  Life was good – until a plate started to teeter.

hairout

My first appointment ran 30 minutes longer than expected, followed by the drive home taking an extra 10 minutes due to traffic.  Once home, one of my family members (his name will remain unpublished so I can’t be accused of throwing him under the bus!) misplaced something he needed, which required a search party to stop what they were doing and begin the hunt for the desired item.  And if that was not enough to totally set me back, I found out at the last minute that my signature was needed on a document, which required a 15 minute drive from home, in the opposite direction from where I needed to be going.

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Sometimes we can recover from a wobbling plate, other times it creates a domino effect.  On this particular day, all my dominoes got knocked over!  The series of wobbling plates certainly threw off the physical schedule, but more importantly, it shattered my internal balance.  With the gymnast or the plate spinner, we can clearly see when there is or is not balance.  However, in our day to day lives, we can’t always see the balance, instead there is a feeling inside, a feeling of harmony or disharmony.

With a deep sigh (partly defeat – partly relief), I’ve decided to abandon my search for living a balanced life.  But I’m not giving up my quest for living a life of harmony, one that makes beautiful music.

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So if it’s not BALANCE that brings us harmony….what is it?

The really important life questions can’t be answered without taking time to process them, understand them, and incorporate them into our lives.  Keep sharing your thoughts, insights and revelations with me….and we’ll bring some sense of completion to this conversation on Friday!

with Joy & Gratitude

Is Balance Attainable?

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I’m in search of BALANCE in my life….and if I were a gambler, I’d bet I’m not the only one!

I have a very specific flaw that has made my quest for balance a huge challenge.  I’ve been described as an ‘all or nothing’ kind of person.  When I do something, I give it 110% , or I don’t do it at all.  Giving that level of commitment to something can be very rewarding.  However, when I immerse myself into one or two aspects of my life, it’s usually to the detriment of the other areas in my life.

Thankfully, I’m a work in progress and this is an area where I’m striving to make significant change.  My goal is to live with awesomeness in every aspect of my life, not just one or two areas at a time.

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BALANCE

– a state of equilibrium, to be equal or equivalent

– a harmonious or satisfying arrangement of parts, as in a design

– an even distribution of weight, enabling someone (or something) to remain upright and steady

 

I have many different pictures in my head when I think of balance.

I see someone holding a yoga pose with strength, grace and ease.

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I see a gymnast effortlessly performing intricate footwork

and powerful tumbling on a 4 inch wooden beam.

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I see African women stoically navigating uneven ground

while carrying heavy jugs of water on their heads.

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Unfortunately, these visions of balance couldn’t be any further from the reality of what my life looks like.

A more accurate visual representation of my life would be that of a plate spinner.

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The feat of keeping all the plates in perpetual motion is awesome to see.  But if you watch the plate spinner himself, instead of the plates, you’ll notice he is frantic, agitated and unsettled.  His body moves non-stop while his mind focuses with laser precision on whichever plate is losing speed and in need of his urgent attention.  His role is unforgiving.  If he fails, and lets a plate come crashing to the floor, he doesn’t fulfill his goal of being  an accomplished plate spinner.  Yet when he is successful, he sacrifices internal peace, harmony and balance for accomplishment.

Wow, that is NOT a pretty picture!  But unfortunately it’s how many of us live.  This leaves me wondering if it’s realistic to even strive for a balanced life?  Is it possible to distribute ourselves evenly throughout the multiple segments of our lives?  And if it is possible, can we maintain the balance consistently throughout our life?   A yoga student may only hold a pose for a few minutes at most.  The balance beam routine lasts less than 5 minutes for the gymnast.  Even the plate spinner doesn’t keep all his plates spinning indefinitely.

Hhhmmmm…..this is a perfect place to pause.

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I think we should take a few days to ponder the concept of balance in our life.  Is it possible to live a balanced life?  What does a balanced life look like?  How do we create balance in our life?  What prevents us from living a balanced life?

Talk to me – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Stay tuned for my next post on Wednesday, when we will continue to explore the quandary of living a balanced life.

with Joy & Gratitude,