Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Pursuit of Balance

It’s Third Thursday Blog Hop time! This month all of the Hearts at Home bloggers are writing a piece on balance - where to find it, how to keep it, why we never seem to fully master it. I’ve written about balance before, but it was mostly just a confession that I, too, lack the peace of a fully balanced life. And don’t we all to some extent? Maybe that’s because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day; or maybe it’s because we aren’t defining balance in a way that brings it within our grasp.

The concept of balance is often centered on time management and our ability (or inability) to find enough time to maintain our kids, homes, jobs, and relationships without losing sight of our own needs and personal identities. But what if we could disconnect ourselves from the belief that balance depends on our time management skills? What if the opposite is true, and the way we manage our time simply flows from our sense of internal balance?

Simply put, you can’t have a well-balanced life in terms of time spent on personal activities, work hours, and relationships until you first achieve a well-balanced mind. Having a well-balanced mind means taking control of your thoughts, getting in tune with your priorities, and making honest self-appraisals about where you are in relation to where you want to be. Once you achieve that internal balance, the allocation of time toward things that maintain that balance will follow.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic formula for achieving that internal balance because balance is not a permanent state. It’s a constant ebb and flow of calm and storm. It’s fully present on some days and completely absent on others. Like other loaded concepts such as faith and education, the quest for balance is a life-long journey involving deep personal reflection, a willingness to acknowledge the gaps between our values and our actions, and the ability to distinguish what we have the power to change from the life circumstances we must learn to accept.

If you are searching for that ever-elusive balance, try to stop thinking that it has anything to do with how much time you spend on a treadmill or your storage room’s perpetual state of disarray. Instead, spend some quiet time figuring out why those things bother you; where the pressure comes from; and how to accept yourself in spite of your imperfect exercise schedule or cleaning habits. Balance isn’t just about finding time to work out, cook healthy meals, read to our kids, and make love to husbands. Instead of working on balancing our time, we should be working on balancing ourselves. Time is a constant. We’ll never have more of it tomorrow than we did yesterday. Balance doesn’t come from time. Balance comes from peace, and greater peace is always within reach.

1 comment:

  1. Great reminder that balance often starts in the mind. Love your tips for handling the "whys" behind the stuff that bugs us. Thanks for sharing