For a very long time I thought I just hadn’t figured out the right balance. I thought that when I finally got everything piled correctly at either end of the proverbial scale things would feel easier, would feel right. But, be it the work/life, family/self, exercise/rest equation, I never seemed to quite manage which ever two opposing forces were weighing on me.
I wondered why?
In retrospect and through plenty of introspection (navel gazing…call it what you will) I can emphatically say, yes, I tend toward an all or nothing approach to things. I mean go big or go home right. And if you’re all or nothing in all aspects shouldn’t they balance out?
Anyway, all or nothing wasn’t working for me, so I moved to moderation, moderation, moderation (yawn). Aside from being boring, the balance still never came. Things were no longer frantic but that unsettled feeling remained.
So I decided to dump the balance. I mean I hopped right off that linear, horizontal notion.
Rather than continue to spend more and more energy scrambling back and forth seeking the sweet spot of equilibrium than on what I was actually doing in life, I stepped off the scale and centred my life.
Huh? (With a raised eyebrow.) What? (I know that’s what you’re thinking.)
To be centred…for me, it means I’ve put the things that matter the most to me at the core of my decisions and actions. That is, earlier this year I began to truly focus my energy on my family and my life at home.
To some this might seem like I’m moving backwards, or maybe anti-feminist or even selfish but wiser people than me have ascribed to the “what other people think of you is really none of your business” philosophy so I’m going with that.
What I know is I don’t have that unsettled feeling anymore. Things feel right. Problems and challenges have not disappeared, in fact, new ones have emerged but somehow there now is a sense of calm without boredom.
I can’t pinpoint a specific date or event that led me to let go of the idea of balance and transition to thinking in terms of being centred but the shift has brought a sense of relief and revitalization.
Here’s how this change in thinking and acting feels.
Imagine a restaurant server holding a large unbalanced tray at shoulder height, zigzagging through tables and past patrons while struggling to keep the wobbling tray aloft. That’s how I felt before – a lot of the time.
If you’ve ever thrown a clay pot on a pottery wheel you know the feeling of being centred. The clay is still and calm in your hands. You’ll also likely know the feeling of being off-centre. The pushing and pulling. The knowing that you’re going to have to fight the clay to get the sides to rise and when they do, one side of the wall will be thin and the other thick and the opening will swing wildly out of orbit. You might be able to salvage the pot if you slow down and trim the top but often the vessel will just collapse on itself.
For me, the idea of balance functioned on a linear plane. Opposing forces at opposite ends. Only two sides to the equation. If it’s wasn’t on that particular linear plane forget it, it wouldn’t work in life
Rather, thinking about being centered invokes a global sensibility. I now imagine my life as a sphere where I can consider multiple (maybe infinite?) aspects – not just two. It allows the simultaneous consideration of family, work, love, health, spirituality, creativity, growth and whatever else is going on. Depending on what gets put at the center of that shiny marble, or ball of gel, or however you visualize it, that sphere simply moves in a different direction. Nothing falls off, nothing tumbles down. There is no catastrophic collapse and failure of an unbalanced and tipping scale.
Thinking about being centred gives me freedom – opportunities – options to totally jump to another spot in the globe of life and things will readjust. Relationships and interests may alter their locations but they’ll still in my sphere.
With this change of thinking I feel enveloped and supported by all that is in my life instead of at constant odds. There is a simplicity, gentleness and ease to living.
Now to learn the art of rolling.