Years ago I heard Dan Thurmon speak at a NAPO conference. He is a dynamic, entertaining speaker and author that juggles, flips, and rides unicycles while delivering his keynote. His book, Off Balance on Purpose, challenges the unrealistic goal that life should be balanced.
Much of my writing focuses on finding a balance that’s right for you. The idea of feeling balanced 100% of the time is unattainable. It’s not even desirable. The search for balance is a constant negotiation between a state of unrest or chaos and that feeling of calm or flow. It’s essential to experience both calm and chaos. They each serve a purpose.
Without some tumult, we become complacent and too content. We stop searching for solutions or growth possibilities. I’m certainly an advocate for knowing how to just be, but that’s within the context of long-term growth.
With abundant chaos, we become so stressed and ineffectual that we can easily ignore our basic needs for self-care. If life becomes a constant state of activity with no time to restore, think, or just be, we lose our focus and energy.
So how does one find that right balance? The balance I’m referring to is really your particular mix of tumult and calm that fits your life, goals and needs at any given point in time. Thinking back to raising our family, life was far more hectic than it is now. The stretches of feeling like things were “out of whack,” were much longer than the calmer parts. Now being an empty nester, while life is still full, the periods of calm are longer. The mix has changed.
Balance between these extremes is not a done deal. It’s really a matter of what we choose to focus on at any given point. In this photo of the forest, the foreground is sharp and clearly delineated, while the background is foggy and hard to see. This mirrors our lives. The shift between chaos and calm comes from what we give our attention to. As our needs change, so does our focus. Pay attention to the clues, which will help you identity when it might be time for re-balancing.
When do you know it’s time to shift your balance? What are your clues?