What does it mean to have balance in your life? This word gets thrown around a lot, not only in my writing, but as a trending topic.
Personally, I believe it’s not healthy to live life in extremes. Not all work. Not all play. Not all chocolate. Not all vegetables. Life is about experiencing and growing. Balance is that perfect sweet spot in the middle that doesn’t really exist unless you are paying attention. Just like a Libra scale — you have to pay attention to how many coins you put on each side of the scale for it to level out.
The secret is that you get to define what balance means. You get to learn how many hours of work it takes to be productive, how much physical movement feels good, and how many social events you want to schedule. You get to be in charge of your life and that all happens when you wake up and start paying attention. Shocker, I know, but as humans in our busy and over stimulated world, we forget that we get to create our own definitions. We don’t have to live by the “book” or recreate the perfect photos we see on instagram. We get to take charge in every moment.
When I coach, I see people dip into frustration, self-loathing or failure because they can’t figure out how to create the perfect balance in their life. Have you ever felt that? I know I used to. I remind my clients that they are human and are not supposed to magically get it. You aren’t supposed to come up with the perfect schedule your first time around. It is about trial and error. It is about growing and learning to pay attention. The knowledge you gain from your experiences is balance’s secret sauce. Your definition of balance unfolds when you work your values and priorities into your day, learning from when you over- or under-did it. It is about not judging and criticizing yourself, but supporting yourself in the growth of trying something different next time. Balance gets to be a mindful exercise you can practice each moment of each day. Whether it be food related, scheduling your time or keeping your energy and emotions in check, balance gets to be your area of growth and ownership.
I remember when I lived in New York City, I felt I wasn’t being productive unless I was running around like a mad woman. It wasn’t until I met with a meditation teacher that I realized I get to balance my time and schedule the way I want. What a novel idea! Instead of busting ass to make it to four appointments only to feel worn out and tired from all of the travel and schlep, I would consciously only schedule three. I recognized that adding that fourth appointment would push me over the edge, throwing me off balance. I would be no help to myself or to anyone else.
To this day, I continue to practice that awareness of balance. Whether it be mindfully setting my schedule the night before, being conscious of my veggie and treat intake or making sure I move my body in some way, I constantly check in with myself to find my balance.
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