Balance...in life, in work, in yoga class...is really quite simple.
Trust me, I hear you... "I don't know, Ruby. I don't think balance is very simple or easy. It seems pretttty complicated, if you ask me. I feel like I'm juggling 376 things on most days, and when am I even supposed to be breathing, much less making time to 'self-care,' cook meals for my family, or make it to a yoga class to practice a tree pose?"
I HEAR YOU. And keep reading...
Balance is a lot less complicated that we make it out to be. I know this to be true mostly because we have a severe tendency to make everything more complicated than it needs to be (another post for another day...).
The same applies to balance.
First of all, YOU ARE BALANCE IN ACTION. Already. No matter what you think about yourself. No matter what you think about your life. You are, as a living human being, a remarkable example of balance. Elementary school science teaches us that very early on. The inner-workings of your body offer an exceptional picture of what balance is...in short, this is what we all learned in elementary school...
There are a shit-ton of things happening, all at once and in coordination. These shit-ton of systems, organs, functions all trust each other to get the job done. And in order to operate in health and balance, everything is constantly fluctuating, accommodating, working together to keep you alive. [And this is the essence of life itself. It's strikingly awesome, because our bodies teach us so much about how to live this external life.]
The same applies to everything going on in your life...There are a shit-ton of things happening, all at once and in coordination. These shit-ton of people, responsibilities, places-to-be all trust each other to get the job done. And in order to operate in health and balance, everything is constantly fluctuating, accommodating, working together to keep you living in a sustainable way and thriving.
The trouble usually rears its head not as an actual balance issue, but as an issue of EXPECTATIONS. Really, so much of our stress, so many of our 'issues,' all tie back to expectations.
We expect balance to be still, calm, or something we can finish or accomplish. We expect balance to mean a feeling of floating through your own life. We expect balance to come shiny and packaged, complete with operating instructions and a formula for how to make it work.
But balance doesn't work like that.
Balance is SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.
Balance is the beauty of the interweaving of our daily lives, each and every aspect of them. It's sometimes eating takeout 3 nights in one week, because shit's crazy at work right now and the project you're so close to finishing is your best work yet. It's afternoon naps because your life is so full of goodness that you wake up at sunrise and have work to do well after dark. It's looking your S.O. straight in the eyes and saying "This week is kicking my ass. I need you today. Will you please help me with ______." It's resting on days that need rest, and running 8 miles on days that need long runs-- without planning for them. It's rearranging your schedule for a happy hour drink with friends. It's doing things that make you happy just because they make you happy. It's falling out of tree pose because you were brave enough to try something new with your gaze or your arms. It's ending your day at peace, knowing well that you took care of yourself and did your best.
It's showing up to your life. Every day. 100%. Present. Willing to listen, fluctuate, accommodate.
The truth is that we can only truly learn what balance is when we grant ourselves permission to fall out of balance, which means giving up on expectations.
[side note: falling out of balance will happen whether we grant the permission or not. Because we set impossible expectations for ourselves. But if we don't grant ourselves that permission, permission to f*ck expectations, more often than not, we get pissed. Angry at ourselves. Angry at the world.]
We learn so much more about balance when we allow ourselves the space to discover and feel what balance *is not* than we do trying to force ourselves into balance via our own limiting, insane expectations.
Here are some examples... [add to this list. I promise, it's liberating to write your beliefs on paper. You will see your heart spill out in earnest. It may even surprise you.]
knowing what balance is not
trying new things
an ebb + flow (aka constant changing / shifting)
Balance is not -
fixed... a single, firm, concrete thing
letting myself get hangry
attainable as a goal
. . .
Come back to your true nature of balance, and figure out what that means for you...
How to get more balance...
1. Try this:
Close your eyes.
Take a deeeeeeeep breath in.
In this stillness, FEEL the dynamic life of your breath. FEEL your innate beingness... at its most basic -- breath + heartbeat.
This is balance... the innerworkings of your body, showing you exactly what balance looks like, feels like. In and out. I N and O U T. in and out. I N and O U T. in and out. I N and O U T...
Come back to this often (5-10x per day or more)
2. Stop trying so hard. [more on how to master this next time...]
i have you. i hold you. i love you.