Balance. That word is around us a fair amount. We hear it in yoga class. We hear it at the bank. We hear it at the gym. We know it intimately when we’re trying to carry a rather large pile of folded clothes upstairs to bedrooms. Balance means the most to us, probably, when we feel we don’t have it emotionally, soulfully and mentally. When the natural equilibrium of our inner selves is off kilter. And to be honest this feels like an awful lot of the time. This is why so many of us strive for it, because we don’t feel we have it.
I feel I am often striving for balance. This has inspired a book I’m writing: My (beautiful) Unsettled Life. Balance is that sought-after state of being when we feel an equal peace with our families, our work, our health, and our mental spiritual well-being. Or at least we think it is. I have learned that balance is not a constant and we should not stress about it being so.
Balance is sometimes called an act, a balancing act. As if it’s a performance. Mothers are often coached to find balance in their lives. “Take time for yourself“, as you raise your children. “Be sure to fit time into your busy careers” for walks, to read a book, or take a long bath. The thing is, sometimes that feels like an expectation, a responsibility, that tips the scale a little off balance. “Great now I’m not giving myself enough time“, it might feel. This is what I’ve learned, that our own sense of balance is not found in perfectly taken care of quadrants of our lives, but is found in the peace we have with the unsettled, unequal, unbalanced nature of life.
I now love going to yoga class. I didn’t when I was in my 30s and I had a thousand other things to do. It was then that I thought I should go, to give me balance. That was the wrong reason to go. I love it now because I’m not trying to fit it in to a perfectly timed perfectly balanced life. I like it now because I notice it. Because I’ve had time to learn a little bit about breathing, because I love the moments at the end of class when we lie on our backs and our teacher talks us through a gentle and quiet meditation. In that moment I feel balance.
Balance for me now is acceptance of my life and my role in it. For the beauty of its unsettled nature, for its lack of perfected equal sides. It’s OK to be a little late sometimes. It’s OK to let go of expectations. Imperfections can be quite beautiful. Balance is knowing that the day-to-day seas of life can be still, or can be unsettled and rough. Balance is knowing I can navigate the waves. Balance is knowing that I may be tipped to one side that I might be bounced around, that the winds of busyness will blow in my face, but that is the beauty of my life. Balance is not a lack of being tipped, balance is the strength, the perseverance, the gentleness with yourself, to see the beauty of the waves, and the ability to be at peace with the unsettled.
About the author
Deb Lace-Kelly is a media expert with 30 years in the industry, including television news, and university teaching. Deb has worked in Public Relations with On Q Communications, Doctors Without Borders, and the Jane Goodall Institute. Deb loves her projects as a travel organizer, writer and photographer.