Have I mentioned that I used to be a dance teacher? Balance was a physical quality back then. Something that all the dancers strived for. Some days it was elusive and their performance would be off the entire class. Other days they felt strong, their steps were clear and precise, and they felt anchored to the Earth.
As a life coach, I still haven’t gotten away from balance. So many of my clients — especially the women — want balance in their lives. The start feeling frazzled and overwhelmed and balance seems to be the elusive answer. But the truth is that they want to feel strong and anchored to the Earth so they can perform better, just like my dancers.
Now a dancer can tell you exactly what a plie or pirouette is. Those are very specific movements. But they can’t really define physical balance or tell you how to get it. It’s something you just have to feel, and you have to make these little tiny adjustments to achieve it.
That’s how it is with life balance, too; it’s a feeling, not a thing you can get or do. And sometimes you have to make these little tiny adjustments until you’re suddenly and easily feeling balanced.
Ironically, the first thing to do to start feeling life balance is to stop using the word. By saying you “need more balance,” you’re just adding one more thing to your “to do” list. It’s one more thing that has to get done; and when you don’t get it done, it becomes another reason to beat yourself up.
“Why can’t I just find some balance? What’s wrong with me?”
The other reason to banish the word from your vocabulary is that balance is a Blanket Word; it’s a word that’s so general, it covers up your feelings and needs. A Blanket Word lets you hide from yourself. Instead of hiding, you need to get clear on what balance really means if you’re ever going to feel balanced.
So what feelings and needs are you hiding? Before you throw out the word, you need to get clear and define it. Ask yourself:
What do I really want from balance?
What do I need right now?”
Some people want balance to have more peace in their lives. Others want more time alone or with family. Others want to be appreciated or understood. Whatever your answer, chasing balance isn’t going to get you any closer to your wants and needs.
But once you’re clear on your wants and needs, you can align with those wants and needs. You can then make those necessary adjustments to your life.
I once had a client who was really family oriented. To show support and be involved in her children’s education, she joined the PTA. Yet every time a meeting came around, she dreaded going. It through her whole week off-balance.
So we examined what she really wanted when she used balance — what the word “balance” was hiding. What she wanted from balance was joy. She was already a pretty joyful person, but when she wasn’t balanced, she lost that joy for her life and what she was doing. Her PTA duties were not giving her any joy or satisfaction.
When we dug even deeper — getting even more clear and specific, we uncovered what she needed right now. She really needed more time with her family — all teenagers who would soon be leaving the nest. On the surface, it looked like the PTA was the perfect thing for being involved in their lives, but it was actually taking her away from her house during family dinner. She needed to be directly involved in her children’s lives instead of in a supporting role for their education. She quit PTA and spent that evening home with her family.
Sometimes we don’t feel like we can quit an activity to get more balance. Or we have a list of tasks that just need to get done, which feels like the exact opposite of balance. How can we feel balance when we have those situations?
The answer comes when we connect to our soul. Take a step back and look at the big picture. What’s really important in your life? What are your top priorities? What are your fundamental values? Get clear on what makes your soul sing, then ask yourself:
How can I make a soul connection?
I think anything can be connected to your soul. Almost ANY job can be framed to provide a soul connection. A cleaning lady provides peace and order to a home and family. A fast-food worker gives time to all the people seeking quick nourishment — time they could spend on very valuable endeavors. The person at the gas station is providing us with energy that allows us to drive to our next amazing life experience.
Just look at what is important to you and make the connection. The connection is what makes our work meaningful. When my daughter was a baby, I used cloth diapers. I never minded the “extra work,” because it connected to my environmental values, my parenting values and my financial values. There was a very strong soul connection that gave my extra laundry a lot of meaning.
Can you even begin to imagine what life would be like if you made those soul connections? What if everyone did? How about if you just stopped worrying about being balanced, and just let it be a signal that you’re not living life easy?
Because that’s exactly what it is. It’s just a signal and nothing else. It’s not some elusive thing that we have to find or get to successfully dance through life. It’s just a signal telling you that it’s time to get clear and connect.