Finding balance in our lives can often seem elusive - a little like being Goldilocks as we try to find the chair that's neither too large nor too small, the porridge that's neither too hot nor too cold, the bed that's neither too hard nor too soft, but 'just right'. Living a life of balance leads us to find the middle way - the 'just right' -savoring each moment as the gift that it is.
As we move about our daily life - eating, sleeping, working - our amazing bodies work to maintain a delicate balance of temperature and blood chemistry, which if drastically altered, ends our life. And not only does our survival depend on balance - so too does the quality of our life at all levels - body, mind and spirit.
If gravity is the glue that holds the universe together - balance is the key that unlocks its secrets. All things exist in a state of balance - the interplay of opposites: high and low; in and out; hot and cold; fast and slow; loud and soft. And between the polarities rests a balance point - a center. Achieving balance in even one area of our life can make a significant difference in our effectiveness.
Within our psyches live archetypes and values of the puritan and the hedonist, the believer and the skeptic, the social butterfly and the lone wolf. Sages from every culture have advocated the middle way, the golden mean, the straight-and-narrow path. Even in the world of nature most humans thrive by avoiding the extremes of desert heat and arctic cold, finding our lives more comfortable in the temperate zones. But balance does not always depend on avoiding the extremes.
Balance also embraces the ability to explore the extremes at times - paying equal attention to both sides to keep the pendulum in balance. For example, sometimes we may want to play the hedonist - staying up late and celebrating, indulging our senses; other times we may express a more puritan or spartan disposition - eating well and exercising. Sometimes we overwork - other times we over rest.
Over time, we remain in balance as long as we work both sides equally and return to center. What constitutes balance differs somewhat for each of us, due to our different temperaments, dispositions and constitutions. Some people tolerate and thrive on more exercise than others - and even our own needs change over time.
Each of us needs to find our own middle ground, defined by our unique physical and psychological qualities and needs - not by someone else's values. How much to exercise? How much to eat? The answer is "whatever is 'just right' for you."
What does it mean to find the middle way? It means not getting caught up in a tangle of drama but consciously choosing to walk through life (rather than pushing it away), and allowing ourselves to see all sides of any matter. In doing so, we make greater choices and pave the way for living with a sense of peace.
Once we find the middle way and walk it, we live positioned in the center of our lives - giving us a panoramic view that allows us to see all that is possible. This leads us to an authentic experience of balance rather than one that is limited and capable of being thrown off at any moment. The old paradigm of balance seems to be influenced by external forces rather than a powerful internal response. It takes awareness, practice and tenacity to live the middle way.
"All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on." - Havelock Ellis
Get ready, get set, it's time to write!
Journaling SPARK: Questions to ponder - take your time...
- What brings balance to your life?
- When you reflect on balance in your life, what do you discover?
- What sustains balance in your life?
- What one action could you take to have more balance in your life?
- Tell a story about a time when you were living in balance and harmony.
- How does living in balance expand your life?
- What are you willing to do to live a life of balance?
Blessings on your path,