Linda: With us, as with so many of you from whom we’ve been hearing, the challenge these days, is to bring balance into our lives. And when the scales are continually shifting with changing demands and opportunities in work, play and family, it can become quite a juggling act. For some reason the image of the circus juggler balancing the spinning plates seems most fitting these days. The thrill and excitement of meeting challenges on several fronts at once can be tremendously invigorating, yet living “on the edge” too much of the time can lead to frustration, disappointment, or worse, to the dreaded “burnout.”
Living with a commitment to a balanced life doesn’t mean that we never get off track or caught up in one thing or another, but it does mean that we can recognize the indicators that point out the need to put in some corrections. These indicators could include irritability, a general feeling of restlessness or dissatisfaction, chronic fatigue, difficulties in sleeping including inability to fall or stay asleep or early rising, loss of appetite, obsessive eating or disinterest in sex. These are all signals that some things missing or out of balance in our lives, and we can best identify the source of the problem by confronting ourselves and or lifestyles with a direct self-examination.
When our best efforts fail to uncover the cause of the imbalance, then we might consider involving the efforts of a second party to help in this process. This can be a friend, spouse, family member, therapist, support group, or anyone with whom we fell a sense of trust and caring.
In a committed partnership we have the advantage of having another person so finely tuned in to us that we can often get input and feedback from them long before the initial manifestations of imbalance explode into a full-blown crisis. The more trust and caring that we can cultivate in our relationships, the sooner we can identify and catch ourselves getting side-tracked from a balanced harmonious life. We need to remind ourselves that imbalances are inevitable; they are part of the game and the object is not to avoid them, but rather to be awake and conscious enough to recognize the indicators that reveal the need for correction and then to take appropriate action.
It often can take surprisingly little time to get things back on track again. For example, when our work is consuming such a large chunk of our lives that we find ourselves disconnected from our partner or the rest of our family, a weekend, a day, or even a high quality evening together can begin to bring us back in alignment, regenerating the feeling of connectedness that we all need.
Balance requires clarity about our priorities and a willingness to forgo certain desires and temptation s in favor of what is truly most important to us. We often “bargain” with ourselves and or loved ones, “promising” to repay the lost time that we are directing towards other activities. The cost of playing this game can be high, particularly if we’ve already gotten a lot of second chances. See if you can live your life as though this is your last chance, honoring those priorities, which truly matter to you, and see what kind of a difference this can make. When we remember what is really important to us, and live with that priority in front of us, we’ll never go far off the track for long.