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.

 morebalance3

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 Harmony of Ebb & Flow

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I hope you have found value in extending the conversation of balance in our lives throughout this whole week.   For me, it’s been a tumultuous week filled with an abundance of unbalanced ups and downs, sprinkled with a few instances of feeling completely balanced. But in the end, it validated my instinct to abandon the search for living a balanced life.  Maybe balance isn’t what we should seek at all.  Perhaps it’s the ebb and flow of life that brings us harmony?

tides

When I  first think of ebb and flow, I immediately see a picture of the tides rolling in and out.  Soothing as it is to watch the waves crash up to the shoreline, that is not the ebb and flow I’m referring to.  In a broader sense, ebb and flow can be described as give and take, a rhythm of alternating forward and backward movement, an increase and decline, constant fluctuation, and a frequently changing situation.

Aaaaahhhhhh – now that is a much more accurate description of life, wouldn’t you agree?

  • Balance is a straight line – Ebb & Flow is like rolling waves
  • Balance is rigid – Ebb & Flow is flexible
  • Balance is black and white – Ebb & Flow is shades of gray

onefoot2

Imagine for a minute that I am balancing on one leg, and this is a representation of living a balanced life.  If you attempt to disrupt my balance by throwing a ball at me, I might catch it.  But there’s a good chance the force of the ball will cause me to either struggle to remain balanced, or I will lose my balance and fall.

Now picture me standing on a playground swing, moving back and forth in a steady motion, and again you attempt to disrupt my balance by throwing a ball at me.  I might catch it, but if I don’t, the force of the ball may affect my speed or rhythm, but I highly doubt it would cause my ebb and flow to come to a screeching halt!

ebbflow

I hope my words are painting a clear picture for you to grasp the differences between balance and ebb and flow.  Now it’s time to put the concept into practice in our lives, or at least attempt to.  It’s a 2-step process that begins with an action and ends with a mindset.

The action is to create a plan or structure for your day, week or month, that on paper appears balanced.  The idea is to schedule the different areas of your life ( family, spirituality, work, fitness & health, friends, etc) in such a way that it fulfills you.  Keep in mind, this would be your ‘perfect world’ vision of your life.  Based on all we’ve discerned about balance and the reality of our lives, chances are the schedule would rarely unfold exactly as it is written. This is when step 2 – the mindset – comes into play.

ebbflow2

The mindset I’m referring to is living in a chosen state of ebb and flow.  When the plan or structure of your day begins to crumble, take on the mindset of ebb and flow.  Surrender to the circumstances you can’t control – ebb your emotions, the fear, concern, anxiety or upset that the circumstances may cause.  Then literally roll with the punches – allow your day to flow from this new starting place.

The point is that we can’t control many of the curve balls that are thrown at us.  We can attempt to catch them or dodge them, but even then the outcome is uncertain.  The only thing we have the ability to control is our mindset.  Living in a place of harmony comes from a mindset that can ebb and flow,  rather than one that teeters and crashes to the ground.

Harmony doesn’t come from living a balanced life,

it is the result of how we choose to react to the life we live!

 

I can tell you from experience that this requires practice – intentional, purposeful practice!  Practice designing your schedule each day, week and month to ensure you are spending your time doing the things that matter most to you, the things you love!  And practice experimenting with your mindset regarding ebb & flow.

choices

with Joy & Gratitude,