Looking for Balance
How do we define it? Balance. Is this idea of lifestyle “balance” universal? Even though we would like to think it is, we have to find our individual balance in our own way and our own time. We are told to “find balance” in our lives, to be present, to practice self-care. But how? Where do we go for the answers? Why is it so important to be balanced?
It is suggested that balance is a goal to strive for, or a mindset to conquer. But there is no one way to discover balance and no one path to achieve it. Therefore, the definition of “balance” is not where I recommend we start. As Buddhism teaches, balance is found WITHIN. We must mull it over, think about what makes us feel balanced. For each human, life balance is unique and is apt to change over time, even daily, depending on our life path.
Balance and change
My understanding of what constitutes balance in my life now is very different than when i was a young mother and teacher, or when I was in grad school, or when I was under pressure to meet a business deadline for my gallery. But those stressful times still required an honest recognition of what was required to achieve a sense of balance in my life. Balance may be fleeting and intageable and it may require a fluid mindset – one that is always open to grace. For me – that is where yoga and journaling come in.
Balancing through yoga
For almost 25 years, yoga has allowed me to practice balance. And I do mean practice. The practice of yoga requires us to access the mind, body and spirit. I think of this grouping as the three parts of my being. I know from experience when these are aligned, or balanced, I function at a higher level. I stay calmer. I am more creative. I have more patience with myself and others. I take challenges in stride, and even look at them more as possibilities than problems. One aspect of yoga that I love when discussing balance is that it actually physically strengthens one’s balance. The symbiotic relationship of the physical aspect of balancing in yoga meshed with the ability to calm the mind and balance the psyche is profound. It has been a daily reminder for me; that I need balance in my life to honor who I am and what I need to grow.
Trees as one example
Trees: Growth. Beauty. Balance. Rooting. Renewal. Strength. Flexibility. Expansion. Change. Awareness. All words of mother nature, but also of human nature. The art of it all expressed delightfully by Walt Whitman in an article by Brain Pickings. I read this article this morning, after beginning this post a few days ago. I couldn’t let this post go without sharing about trees, because they have come up multiple times in my hikes, my discussions about them in my yard with my husband, as well as in my yoga practice. So the post gets longer, because trees are just so important to this idea of balance that I had to share.
Trees are so like us and we are so like them. Symbiotic. Family in a way. Dependent on each other in a beautiful dance of need, desire and appreciation. A pure sense of being and oneness and yes – balance. Never ending. Always beginning. Balancing our lives, just like tree pose in yoga.
As I said, trees have come up a lot lately in my writing, my art and my daily life. ‘Tis the season of renewal –Spring. The canopy of protection is growing once again. I appreciate more than ever the trees’ warm embrace. But also the renewed challenge to grow and change and branch out. So simple and dependable is the relationship, yet so delicate its balance. Environmental roulette. Climate change. I worry about the slow death of trees and the canopy as we know it, need it, appreciate it. The slow erosion of humanity? I hope not. I choose to believe that our awareness of the plight of trees is simply the slow realization that we are one. To love and to be loved. Protect and support. Appreciate and honor the balance of ourselves and nature.
Self care as balance
There are other forms of self-care and physical activity that honor balance as well. The peacefulness of water has always been a place where I can find balance. As an example, I enjoy gliding along the bay on my SUP. Where do you find balance? I also still run, even though my pace is slower and more deliberate at my age. I write. I journal. I share my thoughts and feelings and observations personally and professionally. All these activities are avenues to finding and preserving balance in my life, but they also nurture connection, and satisfaction that I am one with myself and others.
Where do you find balance? How do you manifest the perfect combination of mind, body and spirit to achieve balance? Is it a constant search for some sort of holy grail, or is it just a sweet spot in your day? I would encourage your search for balance to include focused tasks that bring you joy and peace. I would also support quiet time away from others, physical activity, like yoga and a conscious choice made everyday surrounding time in nature, writing, and creating. Cultivating an inspired, artistic life is my personal mantra; so much so that it has become my personal AND professional focus. It allows me to easily remind myself that if my choices aren’t serving this focus, then I need to recalculate and begin again.
I recently read, Tips for Living a Well Balanced Life by Z. Hereford. From nurturing and self care to mindset and attitude, this article has some simple basic suggestions that you might find helpful, especially if life balance is a new concept for you. And lastly, I recommend journaling. I have two focused journaling processes that I employ. Yoga journaling and visual journaling. Because these are part of my blogging and professional focus, as well as a personal habit, I often combine them. But either way, I find great creativity, joy and inspiration in these daily adventures. I offer both of these experiences as guided practices. Both with subscription options of monthly or yearly.
The Yoga Journaling subscription is brand new. Read more about it or subscribe in the last RAD Post: Cultivating a more inspired life through yoga journaling.
Ultimately, making a conscious effort to focus more on BALANCE has led to a more inspired, more creative, and more fulfilling life. I am less stressed. I have accepted that I can’t control everything, nor do I need to. I can only invite possibilities and make them priorities based on what seems best in the moment. Making these choices based on choosing BALANCE in my life has allowed me to be present, stay calmer, and find an easier path to peace and gratitude.