Going With the Flow
I must admit, I am a fan of life! In my opinion, every moment is important, and for me, today has been no different.
To quickly summarize the experience, I was mentally reviewing my recent ‘Balance of Opposites’ post when I came across a news report on a female ESPN anchor. There was a video, that for the most part, was not unlike any other news story; someone has an issue with another person’s attitude, lifestyle, etc which ultimately sets a definable defensive tone. However, there was a particular comment made that really stuck out for me … she no longer talks about wanting a work / life balance because balance means everything is equal (while I am paraphrasing, this was how I interpreted the essence of her point). Truthfully, the statement was profoundly HUGE for me because shortly after hearing it, I found myself in a conversation with a similar flavor to one I had had only yesterday regarding the subjective versus literal nature of words. Have I mentioned I love life? Well, I do and it’s synchronicities like this that make me smile from the inside out…..and in this case, I was fascinated by our unconscious interpretations which makes life both colorful as well as subjective. It’s no wonder we find ourselves at odds with other people; there is a lack of clarity which brings me to the Third Agreement (from don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements): don’t make assumptions. Assuming something creates an imbalance and possible disharmony …
Nevertheless, to me, words are merely constructs of man, each with their implied meaning; however, let’s be real ….. every one of us lives with our own set filters through which we see, hear and experience life. Yet, we go through life so rapidly that we mistakenly assume we know what’s going on or being said without asking because we have our own relationship to the words (this includes how we define and apply them); now, add emotions into the mix and you get countless interpretations. So when I heard this woman’s idea of work / life balance, I thought it might be fun to explore the word ‘balance’ from a different perspective and see it at play every day with very little input from us.
With regards to balance meaning things being equal, it becomes necessary to consider the definition of equal. It’s a fact, equal weight does balance out on a scale. We can also measure things like time and money for the sake of agreement; however, beyond the things we believe we contain and control, balance and equality become elusive. Honestly, from what I can tell, the more we seek to control our world and experiences, the more out of balance life appears to become ….. or does it?
This is where I would parallel balance and equality with water as they seek their own level, rising and falling as life calls for it. For hundreds of years, scientists have consistently remarked about an undefinable recognition within nature that maintains homeostasis. In other words, when there is a disturbance within the system albeit in the body or the environment, the organic nature of our existence is wired to survive, first before improving enough to thrive. What I find compelling and equally suggestive is how well the environment around us handles its endless stress. It doesn’t concern itself with balance, it simply allows nature to take its course.
We, on the other hand, are so afraid of what might happen or feel SO out of control that all we focus on is protecting, reclaiming or restoring because who or what can we trust?! What I find particularly interesting is if I were to talk about this with someone, are the number of reasons why he or she couldn’t just let ‘nature take its course’. Please know, I understand the differences between being a tree versus being human; I’m more interested in the general idea and mapping it onto the human practices in order to improve not only our immediate circumstances but the outcome as well.
How funny, the saying ‘an eye for an eye’. just came to mind. This is not balance; well, at least not when it comes to nature. Again, I’m aware of what it means to be human which includes our crazy making interpretations. In all honesty, our ability to think and reason is both a strength as well as a weakness, and it is for this reason, we require interventions and assistance. The challenge is accepting that balance is a part of life YET does not appear equal. To put this another way, poor health is actually the body trying to survive by crying out for assistance. While natural remedies are a prime choice, there are occasions when manmade interventions are required. THIS is nature seeking homeostasis. When you ‘heed the call’ and do what’s necessary, you are aligning yourself with nature …. THISis synergy; you are recognizing a need and cooperating, and at the same time, not one person is demanding everyone and everything involved pull their same weight. In fact, everyone and everything is doing what they or it can with what they or it’s been given. I know this last thought may seem a bit odd; however, I’m demonstrating how balance is not about equality, it’s about creating harmony and whatever that takes is perfect.
The same can be said for the way we view time and money. Are they really out of balance? Yes, there are extreme financial differences around the world; yet, how much money does one need to feel emotionally balanced? Is there a price tag? What about time? How much time do we need to feel balance? Consider this: each of us has 168 hours per week at our disposal. Granted work schedules vary; yet, if we mapped it out, we would see that each of us spends more time off than we do working! So how is it that so many of us complain about working too much and needing that work / life balance? My question is what’s really out of balance? Is it your time and / or money OR is what you’re really dying for joy and pleasure ….you know, less stress?! Rest assured, I understand time and money being two necessary interventions in many cases; however, it wouldn’t matter if you made as much money as your brother, sister, neighbor, co-worker, etc AND had the same amount of time off as they did; unless you allow yourself to delight in this moment because IT is important, no amount of time, money or medication is going to restore a true sense of balance.
Fundamentally, I see balance as an experience. In all honesty, the way you spend and make time and money is in alignment with your needs. You know what’s cool? This is how your body maintains health; by adjusting its chemistry in response to the information coming in and when it needs assistance, it lets you know. This is balance. This is valuing every aspect of life and using to your advantage. The words dis-ease and dis-order can be applied to society as much as the body. Our challenge is seeing them for what they really are: opportunities to align and restore balance which begins when we value the moment at hand.