BALANCE, reconsidered…

Good morning, loves!

So the other night someone at my reading asked me how I maintain balance in my life. My first response was, "I'm delighted that you think I DO!" But my next response was to offer up this thought…that perhaps it is time for us to reconsider the aspiration of balance in our lives.

I say this because I feel and fear that the lovely word "balance" has accidentally become yet another weapon in the arsenal that we use against ourselves — yet another piece of evidence that WE ARE NOT DOING IT RIGHT. How many of us can truly say that we are living perfectly balanced lives? That we have it ALL sorted out, and that we have reached (and maintain) an immaculate equilibrium between work, family, love, health, self-care, care of others, creativity, rest, passion and devotion?



(Pause here to allow a tumbleweed to blow across the empty, silent plains….)

I sure haven't gotten there. And yet that's what the magazines all tell us we are supposed to have, supposed to BE. But do you know anyone who has truly achieved it? I don't. I'm not sure I would want to be friends with anyone who has achieved that, because she would probably be kind of rigid and intimidating — and anyway, how would she compassionately understand the struggle of real and messy humanity?

Because here's the thing about balance — it is, and maybe should be, a momentary and fleeting condition. We may reach it at certain instances, and it is glorious in those instances. But then the ground shifts under our feet again. Because we live on a planet that spins at a thousand miles an hour. And the people who surround us (family, friends, lovers, coworkers, neighbors, antagonists) are spinning even faster than that. And our own poor crazy human minds are spinning even faster than THAT.

So it is no wonder that sometimes, just when we feel we've reached a point of perfect balance, we topple over in the next moment. (Or someone shoves us. Or we collide with a moving object.) We are all moving objects, you guys, in a constantly changing landscape.

There is no shame in being mostly out of balance. That's kind of what it is to be alive.

So don't harm yourself, ok, if you feel that you have not reached that perfected state of constant equilibrium to which we are all supposed to aspire? It comes and goes, people. And then it comes and goes again. We stand up, we fall down, we do it again.

The more important thing, I think, is to cultivate flexibility amidst the wild circumstances of life…and the MOST important thing, I guess, is to cultivate the kindness and forgiveness we need to show ourselves and others grace when we all inevitably tumble over flat on our faces. Or asses. Or faces and then asses. As I have done many times, and still do.

Bruised face, sore butt, brave heart.

Just be forgiving.

Be good to you,

via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall