When you think of finding balance in life, it’s not surprising if the first thing you think of is the balance between your "personal" life and your "work" life. That is, after all, the most common type of balance we are taught to achieve. Sometimes we will also hear about finding balance between friends and a significant other, or balance between your blood family and your in-laws. For parents, it can be a balance between prioritizing your children and making sure your relationship doesn’t slip through the cracks. There are a million and one things we should be balancing externally on a daily basis, but what we rarely talk about is the balance that has to happen inside of us before we can even think about anything else.
I have lived nearly every day of my life out of balance — with no stability, harmony, equilibrium, or middle ground. When I was angry, I was livid. When I was sad, I was depressed. When I was happy, I was elated. I was a swinging pendulum with no control over what speed and in which direction I would be tossed, and I was never just sitting still in the middle. The constant highs and lows of life left me in an endless pursuit of adrenaline and dopamine. It wasn’t until COVID hit that I had nothing to do but realize what this had done to me. It was when I had no distractions of social interaction and outings to focus on that I learned how deeply uncomfortable it was to sit with myself.
The lack of balance in my life had turned me into someone that I did not want to spend any time with.
Through my reflections, I realized that at the very beginning of it all, one cannot be balanced without a deep understanding of oneself. What does it mean to be in balance? Someone who is in balance is someone who is able to separate the difference between a bad hour and a bad day. To be in balance is to be able to take a step back in moments of conflict and understand what is happening before reacting. Balance, in general, is the ability to navigate emotional hardship with as much grace, patience, and calmness as possible. Of course, balance is not always simple. It is difficult to be balanced when approaching a problem that feels like an attack, and sometimes our emotions will get the best of us. But when that happens, can you balance yourself again and recognize where your response may have contributed to the conflict further?
When we are spiritually balanced, we have a sense of meaning and purpose that can guide us through life's ups and downs. When we are emotionally balanced, we are able to form deeper and more meaningful relationships with others, which can bring us joy and fulfillment. When we are mentally balanced, we are able to make clear and rational decisions, preventing ourselves from causing our own heartache.
The only thing you can control in your life is yourself. Balance allows you to navigate the joys and sorrows of life without experiencing the whiplash of constant highs and lows in response. Being balanced means that when the tide rolls in, you can withstand the waves. It means that when life is good, you feel great. And when life is not so good, you can recognize that things that aren’t good now will be good again soon. Balance is about perspective and mindfulness. It's not always easy, but it is more than worth the effort to practice a balanced lifestyle so that we are better equipped to handle life's ups and downs.
In the end, balance is the key to living a peaceful life. It's about finding equilibrium within ourselves so that we can navigate the external factors of life with greater ease and grace. When we are in balance, we are able to be fully present in each moment, living life to the fullest and enjoying all that it has to offer.
In the stillness of a peaceful mind lies the beauty of a balanced soul.
A harmony of light and dark entwined, a symphony of being that makes us whole.
Spring 2023: Balance, coming soon!
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