Stop looking for work/life balance!

2018 is a year that I will remember. It has been a challenge for me, that is for sure.
Life threw a curve ball in April with regard my health. I was side swiped and in hospital for a week, for first time. And back and forth a number of times throughout the year.
Life was looking very different.

A number of people kept telling me to ‘find the balance’ Mainly between work and getting well again. And I got the essence of what they were saying, and yet something didn’t sit right with me and that word BALANCE.

Since starting out as a coach I have had a challenge with the term ‘work/life balance’ and had many deep conversations with clients about their need for balance. What did that mean for them? What is balance? What are they real looking for? Often it has lead to insights about control, perfection, fitting in, feeling worthy or enough.

It wasn’t until I came face to face with balance this year that I looked further into my own discomfort with it. Was I resisting the need to rest? Did I have a need for control? Was I looking to maintain my old lifestyle or certainty? What was I making balance mean?  All I knew, was that something inside flinched when I heard the word and previous experience has told me that meant I needed to look deeper into that sensation to see what was going on.

One of the definitions I looked at stated that balance, as a verb was “to put something in a steady position so that it doesn’t fall” makes sense and images of circus performers came to mind. Another stated that, as a noun, it was the “even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady” Ummm. Upright and steady? Steady position? Doesn’t fall?

It clicked.

The terms work/life balance and finding balance doesn’t work for me because there is a sense of control. Steadfastness. That things shouldn’t move. I shouldn’t fall. Falling is wrong, bad and must never happen. WHAT??!

That’s a great deal of pressure for anyone or any situation.

Because things do fall.

Things do go wrong.

Life does throw curves balls and they can knock the sense of steadfastness over, faster than a ten pin bowling ball!!! And if we have a need for things to stay in balance, we are going to find that change really tough. If we have a need to return things to balance, then again we will again struggle because we are making how things are, wrong.

[bctt tweet=”Life does throw curves balls and they can knock the sense of steadfastness over, faster than a ten pin bowling ball!!! Stop looking for balance and look for equanimity!” username=”juleswymanuk”]

That doesn’t mean that we sit back, put our feet up and give up. I certainly haven’t. What I have been practising is equanimity.

noun: equanimity
  • calmness and composure, especially in a difficult situation.
    “she accepted both the good and the bad with equanimity

How can I face this with calmness? With Composure? What would require my attention to be in that space?

It is certainly not something that I have mastered, but I do know that it is far more helpful to look for calmness than steadfastness. Far better for my health to be facing each day composed than upright. And a great deal less stressful!

I am not longer striving for the steadfastness of balance, wanting to be upright and not fall. I am now practising equanimity and checking in each time I remember.

This may be a new situation, unexpected and even an unwanted. But it is. It is what is here right now, and so how can I face it with equanimity?

What’s your thoughts on balance?

Do you love, like or loathe the term work/life balance?

How would life be for you, with more calmness and composure?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments section.

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