- a yoga master?
- an old-time beam balance weighing out gold?
- a gymnast on a beam?
- spinning a basketball on your finger?
Balance can be a tricky word because depending what visual comes to your mind will determine how well you judge yourself, and sometimes others, at the way you spend your time and therefore how you spend your life. So with these various images of balance, my questions is:
Is my balance and your balance the same?
I have given up on the life/work balance in terms of the beam balance with one side going up and when the other goes down. There is simply no possible way to spend equal amounts of time with my family or other ‘relaxing/non-work’ activities as I spend at work/doing work. For a very long time, I thought, and even more people told me, that the more I worked, the less I loved/cared for my husband & kids. People may or may not say this directly to you, but imply it all the time. What I have come to find is that there is truth about the amount of time we spend in what ever the activity and the results we get. What we focus more on, we typically get more of. However, I don’t believe the goal is to focus on keeping track of time. The goal is for balance.
This kind of balance that I seek is what we see from those of us who strive to master the art of yoga. When I started yoga, I could barely stand in the warrior pose (a relatively easy pose with both feet on the ground and arms outstretched). As I continued on with the practice of yoga, I learned that when I focused on trying to balance, I typically fall. But when I focus on breathing and stretching, I can usually achieve the pose. I believe our life balance is similar. Focusing on how well I blend a variety of activities throughout my day and not allowing a single activity to take over my life should really be the goal. Focusing not as much on the quantity of time spent with loved ones, but the quality of what is happening during that time. There are many families who spend a ton of time together each week, but what are they doing: running from activity to activity with earbuds in and phones in front of their faces – how can we make that time useful to help us achieve the blend and balance we need?
In the end, it is hard to know if we are spending ‘enough’ time with the ones we love. Many friends whose children are now grown often tell me I will miss this life stage (another blog on that statement to come). I used to completely scoff at the idea, wishing my kids were grown or at least older than the current crisis. As my boys have grown, I have realized that each day is an end to some part of their childhood. To combat this losing battle, I must take advantage of the time I have with them each day, instead of focusing on spending ‘enough’ time. So this morning, this afternoon, this evening, focus on connecting to your loved ones. Be silly and make your kids laugh (for my boys that would be anything dealing with toilets or bodily functions). Hold hands with your husband. Take time to sit with grandma and just look at the clouds. You never regret those moments and these are what truly make your life blend all the sweeter.