Is Balance Possible in our Life?
Is Balance Possible in our Life?
By Gord Riddell and Kathy Ryndak
As multi-faceted as we humans are, one of the most difficult things we can do in our life is to create a balance between all the various aspects of daily living. A very common problem is certain areas of life may, at times, overwhelm other aspects creating a sense of being out of control. We can become overly focused on our job, our relationship, our family life, our spirituality, our emotional process or our health. Our challenge is to find a place inside where all the various aspects have a place to peacefully co-exist inside us: but all the while understanding, that at certain times, one area of our life will absolutely require more attention than others.
It is natural to have a sense of excitement, enthusiasm or concern for our experiences. However, our natural tendency is to focus on just those areas. We become so engrossed in learning, experiencing, doing and/or figuring out things, we often let other areas slide, sometimes much to our detriment. The concept of moderation comes into play here insofar as everything in our life needs attention to one degree or another. The more we focus on just one area, the greater risk we run of distorting what life is all about- living.
Here are a few key aspects to see where we may be able to create some balance for ourselves:
1) Our Jobs: For many, many people, what we do, the positions we hold and the money we make, define who we are as a person. The danger here, firstly, is overly identifying our career with who we are as people. In other words, what we do, defines who we are. If there is a change in our job situation such as, we are fired, laid off or retire, we may have lost all sense of who we are and can no longer balance our life in the face of change. The current age of technology seems to have made our work life longer and harder rather than easier. To balance our work life we need to have a strong sense of who we are as humans without the title or money. We want to use the rewards of our job to enhance our non-working life and lastly, to stop using our job as a place to hide from our personal life.
2) Our Relationship- Relationships can be all consuming because they provide so much energy, both positive and negative into our life. Relationships can provide us with love, support, caring and fun but they also trigger our childhood qualities and issues. Relationships are the biggest catalysts we have to bring old wounds from the past to the surface in order to have the chance to heal them. Due to the intensity of feelings we can not only forget our self in them but also totally lose our self-identity. To create balance in relationship we have to remain very aware of who we are, what we are bringing into the relationship and make sure we spend time on our own, with our friends and pursuing our own personal interests apart from our partner. If we are waiting for our partner to give us a life, the relationship will be doomed very quickly.
3) Our Spirituality- Spiritual awareness and spiritual practise are important for a balanced life. Spirituality provides us with a deeper understanding of the world around us as well as our role in it. It can provide us with a sense of peace and the tools to better know our selves. It can become out of balance when too much of our focus goes into our spiritual practises at the expense of other areas in our life. Meditation, prayer, chanting and drumming are all tools to help us establish a balanced life; they are not an end unto themselves. While discovering and exploring our spirituality is exciting and new, we do need to keep a perspective on how we use and when we use these new tools of awareness.
4) Our Emotional healing- We all have issues. We will all have issues until the day we depart this planet. When we make the decision to enter into emotional healing, we need to know that it can become totally consuming and overwhelm our sense of living. We need to keep perspective on the fact healing is multi-leveled. In other words you may have to revisit certain areas of your life many times to get at very deep levels. Often this can take a long time. We can have awareness of our process and how we move through things but for many the danger is staying in our wounds and old hurts and reliving them over and over again. To create balance in this area we need to learn the ability to turn on and off the process we are going through. We do not need to wallow in our pain nor do we need to endlessly keep processing or going over it and over it. We will learn that if we carry on with our day-to-day activities, our very capable subconscious mind will continue to do the work that needs to be done.
5) Our Health- Like many of the areas already touched upon, our health can go out of balance when we focus only on our body. Extreme exercise, nutritional regimentation and obsessing about bodily aches, pains and functions can take away from our overall enjoyment of life. To balance we need to look at how our health concerns and practices enhance the quality of our life not the quantity of our life. Regrettably there is no award for who has the most fit and nutritionally pure body at the end, because we are all going to leave the planet eventually. Live a little, no, better yet live a lot!
The human mind is prone to both obsessive thought and compulsive behaviours. This tendency can overly focus us into one area of life at the expense of all the others. Our challenge is to be able to explore, enjoy and experience the many facets available to us in our life in a balanced way. Our awareness must continually monitor our tendency to go out of balance and adjust accordingly.
We need to be constantly aware of where we are personally, in all aspects of our life. As a tool, imagine if you could take a photograph of your self with various aspects of life. For example if you feel your job is consuming too much time of you and we took a photograph, where are you in the photo and where is your job. In this case you are somewhere off in the background and your job is front and center. In doing this little exercise you can see in your mind’s eye that you may need to do some rebalancing. This is your life and yet you are in the background overshadowed by your job or any other aspect. When we have things in balance you will always be front and center, or at least sharing front and center, in these imaginary photographs of you and your life.
The creation of balance is never easy. At times certain areas of life will demand more attention for a given period of time. The danger is once we learn to put other people, places and things before ourselves we will then lose a sense of our self and the ability to stand back and rebalance things. Keep using the photo exercise as a way to check where you are and keep moving yourself into the forefront.
At the end of our life, no one ever wishes or regrets they had spent more time at the office or run more miles, we wish we had spent more time with loving people, soaked up more sun on the beach, played in the waves or climbed more mountains. It really is all about quality, not quantity. Now go out and have fun!!