Balance, my Favorite Oxymoron

balance

We put balance up on a pedestal, and are always trying to get up on that pedestal with it. The funny thing is, it will never happen because what we think of as balance doesn’t exist.

Looking for Balance in all the Wrong Places

We strive for work-life balance, a balanced diet, balanced emotions, and we expect this balance to be static. However, if you’ve ever been on top of a balance beam, tried to walk across a fallen log, or tried to do tree pose in yoga, you’ve felt that perfect balance is really a continual sequence of small movements. This is true for even the most accomplished athletes. Never still, always moving.

Even bridges have to have movement built into their infrastructure or they will fail. Engineers incorporate expansion joints into their designs so that this doesn’t happen.

Without allowing for natural movement, even concrete and steel will fall apart. Unless you’re stronger than concrete and steel, the same will happen to you if you don’t let go of the myth of balance.

If not Balance, then What?

First of all, drop the impossible expectation you have for yourself. Next, learn to embrace the small movements that will keep you upright and strong.

Today you worked late, so instead of making that super healthy meal you had planned you grabbed some takeout and a bottle of wine on your way home. Rather than beat yourself up for not eating well, realize that you rested when you needed to, which is essential, and know that in two days you’ll be able to get some meals in the freezer so that the next time you work late you won’t have to default to takeout.

There are also a couple of teas that are designed to help your body and mind find center when they’re swinging wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other.

  • Ayurvedic Chai keeps your physical body balanced from the inside out. It’s not caffeinated, although adding a little black tea to it amplifies its benefits.
  • Head to Heart keeps your mental and spiritual bodies in check. Caffeine-free as well, and helpful to your gall bladder.

For a more cognitive approach, I’ve found studying ancient texts, especially the Tao Te Ching, to be helpful. It helps me to realize that humanity has been struggling with these concepts practically since we’ve been around, and gives me a neutral vantage point from which to look out on my “problems.”

No matter what avenue you take, the most important piece is to give yourself built-in expansion joints. That is the only way you can make those continual minor adjustments that keep you in balance.

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