It seems that balance has became a buzzword in the last decade: “find your balance”, “balance is not something you find, it’s something you create”, “life is a balancing act”. Many inspirational quotes do just that, inspire us to look for the balance, subtly reminding us that we may have a sense of imbalance within us. Perhaps in seeking to create our balance, we have uncovered another area where we find the absence of “enough”. If you’ve read my past blogs, have worked with me, or if you’ve had a deep conversation with me, you know I am passionate about the topic of abundance. Our discomfort with enough/sufficient/content (which is true abundance!) leads us to focus on what we don’t have (less/scarcity) or what we feel we need to obtain (more/excess). We may find ourselves striving for more so often that we inadvertently give our sense of internal security to the externals where we seek excess. If we have more money, more things, more people in our lives, we will then be secure. Society adds to this pressure by rewarding more productivity, more achievement, more activity. No wonder “enough” does not seem to equate with “abundance”!
I like to think of balance in terms of a teeter-totter. (See my way-technical illustration below!)
On one side we have Scarcity: lack, inadequate amounts, insufficiency. On the other side we have Excess: more than necessary, lack of moderation. Right in between the two is that sweet spot, the pivot point of balance. This is where we find nothing lacking and nothing in excess. This is where we have enough, this is where we are enough. This is where we find and learn how to recognize our very own personal “center”.
This concept can be applied to all areas of our lives. Think of your life balance. Yes, life balance, not work/life balance (I’d like to think work is a part of our lives, not work OR life). In our lives, we balance many things: family, friends, work, social time, alone time, sleep. When one area is getting an excessive amount of our attention, often other areas are lacking, leaving us feeling unbalanced and out of sorts. We may feel tired, cranky, and low on energy. If we apply the teeter-totter concept above, we can understand the areas that are out of balance and work to obtain a better sense of balance by reducing the excess and offering attention to the areas of scarcity. An example would be when we find ourselves working too much (excess). Perhaps this leads to spending less time/attention with our family or friends (scarcity). We may feel exhausted, unfulfilled, and craving fun. If we bring awareness to this sense of being unbalanced before we find ourselves out of sorts, we can adjust: maybe coming home from work early one day of the week and intentionally adding fun experiences to our days, setting time aside for those who matter most in our lives even in the midst of a busy work week or intentionally going to bed earlier to make sure we are getting 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. These are all small ways we can work to bring back a sense of balance to our daily lives.
Applying balance to the holidays can bring a new and lasting sense of enjoyment to the season. The holidays generally bring “more” to our lives: more time with our extended family or family of origin, more food, more alcohol, more social commitments, more money being spent. If not intentional, we can wake up on January 2 and be depleted of energy, health, money, and self. Balance looks like moderation (another great word for “enough”!) : some social time, some alone time (I suggest hitting your meditation mat especially during the holidays!); some money spent, some money saved; enough tastes of good food, enough saying no to unhealthy foods. With a little intention, the holidays can be a time of equanimity. Equanimity is a concept you want to know. Merriam-Webster online defines equanimity as “an evenness of mind especially under stress”. And equanimity is all about balance.
I challenge you to consider your current life balance. Do you see areas of scarcity? Areas of excess? What areas can you tweak or bring intention to in order to develop more balance? Now consider the upcoming holidays. Are there ways you can bring intentional equanimity into and through the holidays? What would it be like to maintain a sense of “enoughness” through the holiday?
Balance is fluid. Some days we nail it. Others we teeter. As with all things, bringing awareness and intention into our choices allows us to live the life we want. And that feels equanimous.