About a year ago, a friend of mine was going to be leading parenting classes for new Moms. She reached out to me about coming in to talk about finding balance in their lives. I laughed and told her, “I’ll come in and let them know that there is no such thing!” She politely told me that perhaps she would look elsewhere to find a different leader on that topic. Oops, a missed opportunity perhaps, but I just can’t lie. I don’t mean to be a downer! What I mean to do is give you permission to let go of the expectation that “someday” when all contingencies have been met, you will be in a state of total balance. If you are constantly searching for the elusive state where everything in your life is in perfect harmony, well, that may be a fruitless search. It is better to look within for a state of internal balance because our lives will rarely allow for external balance to exist.
Balance means that everything is getting its fair share; your time that you have for your spouse or partner, your children, your work, your friends, your hobbies, your exercise routine, your laundry, cooking, and everything else that you would like to fit in to your day has equal time and energy. Does that sound like life? On any given day, some of these things will move higher on the “to do” list and others will move down. And it’s okay to not be in total balance! The part of you that remains in balance, no matter what, is the higher part of you that can discern what you need. The idea that once everything is in perfect place that life will be a breeze is just not how the world works. We have to realize that the perfect place is right now in this moment as we choose it. The world will not shift to your demands, but you can shift your perception of the world, and in doing so, create what will allow you to thrive. More work? Go for it! More sleep? Absolutely! Wake up 10 minutes earlier to meditate each day? YES, please!
The wisdom of our Jewish tradition points out the numerous ways in which we connect with our spiritual life within the confines of our daily life in order to find more calm in our chaos. Life will certainly not slow down for us, but we can engage in mitzvot to remind us of what’s important at any given moment. The pauses that are built into daily Jewish life are also ways in which to remind ourselves of what’s important; saying a blessing before we eat, or observing Shabbat where we literally unplug from everything for 24 hours so we can bring ourselves back to center. It’s the spiritual equivalent of a reset button! Even if you are not strictly observant, the smaller step of not using your phone or computer for a day (half a day?!) is a great way to be reminded of what’s truly important. There is a sense of gratitude that comes with our ability to acknowledge that our busy, crazy lives are part of a larger whole.
There is so much pressure to “have it all”, but what does that even mean? We cannot believe that the images that we see on social media, or on t.v. are real. These are lives that have been carefully curated and the outcome is something that is unattainable and certainly unsustainable. It’s not to say that we can’t be inspired by what we see, but it’s a good idea to let go of the concept of total harmony in all aspects of our lives at all times. Perhaps it’s more about embracing doing less and enjoying the spaciousness that comes with more time to decide what would serve us best. This seems like a nice counter to the constant striving and achievement based pressure cooker happening all around us. Let go of the myth of balance and instead make choices that bring you in closer alignment with the peace and calm and yes, balance, that is available to you whenever you are ready to listen.
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