Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Finding Balance {And Holding On To It}

Did women in the Middle Ages worry about finding balance in their lives?

What about pioneer women? Women of primitive cultures….tribal women….?
I seriously wonder this – because I wonder if finding balance is the never-ending theme that has plagued women of all times and all cultures or if it’s just a recent trend. We sure do seem concerned with it.

Marriage, Family, Career, Hobbies…there’s a lot to do.
But here’s the secret about balance that no one’s admitting: Sometimes when we say we want to find ‘balance’, I think that what we really mean is ‘perfection’. One is attainable; the other is not. We can’t be all things to all people all the time, but we can choose how much we can do and choose to be okay with that.

Learning To Stand and BalanceMy little boy is in the beginning stages of walking. He loves to stand and reach for things and cruise along the furniture. It takes a lot of balance. First he gets a firm grip on the coffee table and uses all his strength to pull himself to his feet. He grins immensely, excited to explore and conquer. He’s cautious as he maneuvers around, making only calculated, purposeful movements. Then after he’s had enough, I watch him, his eyes full of careful concentration, as he slowly lowers himself back down to the floor.

None of it is rushed or hurried. It’s focused and steady. He thinks about what he’s doing and why, and it brings him joy.

I can learn from him. Instead of trying to pull myself into too many directions at once, I could try living deliberately, focusing on each task as it comes. Perhaps we’d do well to remember that balance is less about flawlessness and more about having a firm foundation, staying centered, and slowing down just a little.

Otherwise gravity will take its toll.

Balancing Act of a MotherMy son has gotten so good at crawling now that sometimes he gets overconfident and zips over the carpet so fast that he ends up plowing headfirst into the floor. And that doesn’t feel so good.

I can relate to him on those days when I feel like all I’ve been doing is running from one thing to another until I eventually crash, exhausted and not feeling accomplished at all.
Balance is a state of mind, and I don’t think we have to give every little aspect of our lives attention in order to achieve it. In fact I think that when we try to achieve balance by doing everything, something important inevitably suffers.

Equilibrium is rarely achieved by throwing more and more stuff on the scales, right?
In my own life there are a lot of things that have been put on the backburner lately, and while the perfectionist in me says I need to step it up, the realist in me says, “Honey, relax and just pour your heart and soul into that stuff that truly matters to you.”

I like that realist. She makes sense.
She’s how I imagine those women in different worlds and different times to be – practical, doing what they can with the time they’ve been given, and not worrying about the rest of it.

What does balance mean to you, and how do you find it?