Balance, Not One Size Fits All
I posted a few weeks go on my Instagram about writing. And I love your thoughts so I asked what you all wanted to read about and almost every single private message response had the inquiry of 'how do you balance it all?'.
And I have been thinking about balance. My meaning of balance. What are all the things I actually have to balance in my life. How does balance feel? And the biggest question: am I actually in balance?
I find it to be an elusive word.
Because balance looks different to every single person and how they operate, what their values are, what their beliefs are. I do not believe in a one size fits all balance. Well, to be real, I don't believe in a one size fits all anything, ever. So, my personal definition of balance is a space within my mind and body where I feel stable, in choice and responsible for my actions.
And holy shift, I have done a lot of work to get to that definition in my life, in my psyche, in my actions. And holy shift, I fail a lot. And I forgive a lot.
Here are my ways I rock the balance, or as you all wrote, here is how I balance it all:
1) I listen in to my own body. Okay, okay, I really practice listening to my body. I would say from my teens to mid twenties, I tuned out the channel that is called BODY. I listened to my mind, I compared myself to others and I tried to prove, prove, prove. As I started to rebuild a relationship with my body, tune in that dial that had gotten real fuzzy and allow the sensations to speak to me, feel the feeling that bring me into the present and start to know the feelings that make me so actually aware when I am off, hello responsibility. THIS is where I have a checks and balances for BALANCE, the relationship of mind and body sensations, or what we call in my work, body triggers. I urge you to listen in, even if you don't want to, the awareness is where choice lives.
2) I know what is most important to me, what matters to me, what fills my soul cup way up. Do you remember that vase analogy? You take a vase and you have sand, little rocks and big rocks to place in the vase and a glass of water. The big rocks exemplify your priorities, the little rocks are more second hand priorities on the to do list, and the sand is like little details and less priority. And it goes like this, you put it all in starting with sand, then pebbles and big rocks, and you pour a glass of water and that vase runneth over. HOWEVER, you start with big rocks, then little rocky pebbles and then sand and there is way more space and water fits in that vase. It is magic. Okay, it is science and spatial awareness, however, this is how we are living. Are you putting those tiny less priority details first and living your most important priorities last on your list? As Michael Jackson would say, 'better make that change, gonna feel real good, j'mom...CHANGE'. Know what is important, I do this through my core values and I allow myself to put my big rocks in first, my family, my time with nature and my connection to myself and others go on the calendar first. Then comes the rest where time is available. Try it.
3) Speaking of TIME, I find this to be a heavy hitter when it comes to balance. So many of us are rocking beliefs that go like this: "I never have the time", "I am always late!", "Who has time for that?", "Where does the time go?" or for real, "Where the f*cking f*ck did the time go?". And we live in reaction to time. I still do this some days. However, I have been trying on a new belief that goes a little something like this: "Time is on my side and we work together". This, THIS THIS THIS, is were I take responsibility for my language that creates the lens in which I see the world, in which I watch the clock and how I make it all happen. This is where I take responsibility for everything that goes on my calendar because I was the one that said YES to it. And this is where I am able to create time, like Hermione in Harry Potter with her time-tuner (herd alert). I feel that language is powerful, use it wisely especially with TIME.
4) I lean on my people to tell it to me straight. I have a powerhouse group of people in my life that I have hand selected, or the Universe hand elected for me to run into and I was wise enough to see them, hear them and keep them around. These people are on what I call my Board of Directors and they are the ones that reflect my actions when I am too deep in the details and perhaps way out of balance. My husband is a master at this, a MASTERmind at knowing when I have too much on my plate, when I haven't sweat and moved my body in a week or when overwhelm is creating a weird tone in my voice and in my overall energy. And I have a few others that will sit me down and tell me the truth when I have gone off the rails and I love them madly, deeply, truly for this. AND, here is a big and, I have given them permission to be this in my life and asked them to continue to boldly call me out, even when it feels uncomfortable. And they do and I listen with grace. It may take me a few minutes, hours or a day or so, and grace always follows. Choose your people wisely, appoint them to your board and pass out the permission slips for accountability.
5) Last one. And you better get your notes out because this is a doozy of an F word. Forgiveness. When it comes to balance, I have learned to forgive myself faster. When I have gone off balance, when I put the sand in first or when my friends call me out that I am out of control, I used to go into a tailspin of self judgement, self doubt and fear. Fear that you don't like me anymore, fear that I don't know myself, fear that I am so far gone that I will never be able to come back. And now, I stop, collaboration and listen. Oh yes, I just did that. I stop and pause, I listen in to my body and my people and I collaborate and I forgive and create choice in that moment. It might not look like balance in my schedule or my days right away, yet it feels like balance in my mind and body and it has to be there first!
You tell me what balance means to you. And perhaps try on a new language twist, clarify your values and making them your big rocks and for the love of love, forgive yourself so much faster. This is a practice and we get to meet yourselves in all the moments and get responsible versus reactive.