Remember when you played Statue as a kid? It was an exhilarating challenge to run around and then to freeze, holding your balance, when the whistle blew. Anyone who moved was “out”.
And have you ever seen the old-fashioned balance scales? The purchase of fruits, vegetables or meat on one side was counterbalanced with lead weights on the other side. When it balanced, both sides became level with one another, and ceased moving.
Notice that both of these examples require stillness, stasis, no movement. Many equate work/life balance with an even split (50/50) of activities for work and those for home. But it’s seldom that simple. And what’s difficult to grasp is hard to add to your life.
Let’s try a short exercise:
- Ask yourself what balance means to you.
- Quickly jot down the first five to ten words you think of when you think of balance.
- Next, write down three times when you have felt balanced in your life. Describe the situations or activities that helped you feel balanced. How do these descriptions match the words you listed? What do you discover?
I approach balance from the vantage point of energy. We have both feminine and masculine energy, or yin and yang, within us. Masculine energy is usually associated with logic, work and taking action. Feminine energy is equated with creativity, intuition, nurturance, and compassion.
The goal to reaching balanced energy is to observe yourself and notice when you are involved with only one kind of energy in your life. For example, are you thinking about work continually? Driving yourself to do more, succeed more? Or do you spend most of your time engaged in creative daydreaming, nesting, and thinking about how you relate in significant relationships?
To achieve balance, you need to build a bridge, joining these two poles. For example, as you combine work activities with self-expression and exploration, you are both creating and doing, dreaming and acting. In this way, you develop balance by integrating both masculine and feminine energy.
I invite you to objectively observe yourself as you move through your day, noticing where and how you integrate these energies. How does that feel different from how you generally move through your day? I’d love to hear how you are moving toward more balance in your life.
© Copyright 2009 Paula Eder, Ph.D.