How long have we talked about needing life balance and at that same time BEEN doing everything we can to go faster and do more!
At work and at home, people expect to do more with less and in less time. Families are LIVING in the ‘nightmare of the two career couple,’ where both partners are working, bringing up children and possibly looking after their aging parents. More single parents exist than ever before.
Change is constantly swirling around us – at work, at home and in society. In short, life is chaotic, lived at laser track speed and many of us are frightened by the decisions we have to make because we don’t know how things will work out when we finally get up the nerve to make them!
As life continues to speed up, the thing we all crave is more time. Most people complain, “I don’t have time to go to the bathroom let alone exercise, recharge my batteries, learn something new, or heaven forbid do something we enjoy!” We believe the myth that if only we had enough time to do all we have to do and still ‘have a life’ or ‘time for ourselves,’ we would find balance.
What is balance? The best example I can think of is my friend in Australia, Mela. She is happily married, has 2 wonderful daughters, works in a satisfying part-time job, plays tennis, sees friends a lot and laughs even more! What is the key to Mela’s balance? It is her attitude. She chooses to see life as exciting rather than overwhelming! Many nasty things have happened to Mela along the way but she bounces back with amazing resilience and sees it all as part of life’s rich pageant.
She does take time out for herself and makes the effort to do things she loves – like sculpt. She went back to school to study art AFTER she had children. Her husband is supportive, which helps, but even if he wasn’t Mela would still find a way to make sure she stayed connected with her friends and do what she loves to do. She also rarely lets stress get to her, which has taken a lot of practice. She has learned to take a break just to breathe, read a book during lunch or close her eyes in her office chair and listen to her favorite music.
A balanced lifestyle does not mean a rigid, evenly distributed form of differing activities. It means finding what gives us the energy and vitality to move through life purposefully and joyfully. Our lives change so much on a moment by moment basis that it is imperative to find a consistent factor that can keep us renewed. There is no simple formula for achieving balance, but I believe one very important factor is connection – to ourselves and to others.
Mela is connected to herself because she knows what she loves to do and what she needs to reenergize herself. She stays connected with her friends and family through brief notes on greeting cards, meeting with them for exercise or to go grocery shopping. She creates joy around her even in the sad moments and makes time to have fun in everything she does. She loves her career and the people she meets, but has found a way to adjust her job and her hours to do all she needs and wants to do while still contributing financially for her family. She makes sure there is time for her and the things she loves to do and the people she loves to be with. It has become a part of her lifestyle. Mela has CREATED something that many of us envy. She loves her life!
Life is really not about reality. It’s about our perception of what is happening around us and to us; what we say to ourselves about it; how we view it or feel about it. That’s the beauty of the human brain – we have choices. We have options in terms of how we behave, respond, think or change in the face of the stresses in our lives.
Most of us are lacking in energy and vitality, feeling overwhelmed, constantly exhausted, and having massive sense of humor failures! It’s called ‘Burn Out.’ The best way to avoid the big B.O., is to have a balanced lifestyle – exercise regularly, eat well, sleep at least seven hours a day, laugh a lot, relax, see friends, enjoy our work, have regular holidays, be grateful for what we have and have great relationships that support us.
But you already know that!
To really allow our body and minds to recover from twentieth century life and to find balance, we need to pay attention to all aspects of our lifestyle. And many times that means making long-term, difficult (and often dramatic) changes.
In a rather bizarre experiment, some researcher somewhere dropped a frog into a pan of boiling water. Of course, the frog immediately jumped out. The researcher then put a frog (I presume it was another frog!) into a saucepan of cool water and then gradually increased the temperature. The frog, adapting to the slow change occurring around it, allowed itself to be boiled to death. Now that’s not a happy story, but it definitely demonstrates that sudden change may have its advantages!
Most people are uncomfortable with change – yet sudden change may be the very thing that saves your life! If we are not making the changes we need to so that we can reconnect with our heart and others – life has a very effective way of forcing change on us.
If we can keep our head and our hearts connected while life swirls around us; if we can stay connected to ourselves, be aware of how we are feeling and deal effectively with those feelings then we can be more emotionally intelligent. This awareness will help us make the decisions to make the changes that will help to find the balance we crave. And that means staying sane in the midst of chaos!
For so many people who now HAVE to work AND raise children, assist with aging parents and deal with the other curved balls life throws at us, work can become another thing that drains our energy.
If you feel your work is meaningless, if there is little or no job satisfaction in what you do or if work disconnects you from yourself (maybe it is ‘soul destroying?’), then find some way to change things. Either change the way you view the job and create some meaning in it, or change the job.
I work closely with leading companies in the direct selling industry and noticed that the people who work with those companies seem to be amazingly joyful! I know that is a generalization, but these people seem to be so enthusiastic about what they do; they see themselves as growing a business that allows them to work AND see their children and take care of parents and all of the things in their lives that are important to them. They are full of energy and feel great about growing and developing the same potential for others. They seem to have a sense of control over their lives and destinies. This combination of having a purpose in life, having a sense of control, enjoying themselves and feeling connected gives them a great sense of balance.
They are creating the life they want. Like Mela. They have taken control over their destiny. And the peace that comes from that is the peace that comes from connecting with their hearts desires!
It would appear to me that many of these folks are very busy but they enjoy doing what they do so much that life balance doesn’t seem to be an issue any more! They feel they DO have balance. And fun! There is a sense of freedom that comes once they have built their business to a stage where they can do it as the sole source of income instead of working at another job outside of their home.
They don’t mind working hard because it is in their business and they see that through their hard work, they are becoming financially independent, enjoying what they do, having time for themselves and their family and helping others achieve what they want to do – in other words, finding real life balance.
Balance is all about connection! Be connected to your heart’s desires‚Ä¶ and then make them happen!
It’s your choice. You CAN do it. Like Mela. Go for it!!