Water Your Own Garden is our way of encouraging you to enjoy moments of reflection, admiration and learning, and to then focus on your own garden…your life.”

The Art of UnBalance

September 20 2018

This Sunday is Earth’s Equinox. One of two days in an entire year that the Earth is in balance. I’ve always considered it a special day.

 

And on this special day, I want to talk about balance – because we’re all talking about it.

 

Work vs. Life

 

Parenthood vs. Career

 

Healthy Eating vs. Guilty Indulgence

 

The list goes on.

 

So, how do we achieve a life of sustainable balance? Unfortunately - we don’t!

 

I’ve been chasing life’s elusive balance for decades now. Fighting those vacillating feelings of overwhelmed to bored, amazed to anxious, inspired to despair.

 

As the pendulum of life’s joys and challenges swings, I experience fleeting moments of ‘balance’ – when everything seems to be sitting quite perfect in my world.

 

It’s in these moments when I feel on top of everything. When I am my own hero – I sit back and say to myself – look at me, I’ve got this – I can keep doing this forever!

 

But of course, I can’t. Because life throws curve balls. And not to get too Zen on you, but Buddha was right, the only constant is change.

 

In fact, it is when things are out of balance that I have grown the most.

 

I’ve had plenty of unbalance in my life, and becoming a mother was a big one for me.

 

I was thrown for a loop when I discovered I could feel both love and resentment for my baby. With each baby milestone – a smile, giggle, first step, first word, my heart would burst with joy. And through it all, I resented my lost independence and the loss of my pre-parent identity.

 

How could I feel so much love and connection while aching for freedom from the dependence and monotony of it all? How could I burst with pride when they showed kindness or caring towards others and surge with a hot-red anger when they threw their almighty tantrums or were rude to others?

 

Nine years on and with three beautiful boys now, it is still an extreme journey.

 

With each passing year my pendulum swings. And with each swing I gain a bit more clarity.

 

I arrive at a new understanding of myself and others.

 

I learn more about how I react to situations and what I can do to manage them better.

 

I become increasingly aware of who I am and what is most important to me.

 

I see what ignites my fire and – with a bit of grace and grit – I pursue it.

 

I see my world, its challenges and joys, from a new perspective that gives me a better way to handle each inevitable swing.

 

My unbalanced life has been a gift.

 

So – what do we do if sustained balance is not achievable? What do we do when the pendulums are at their extreme ends?

 

Although I don’t have the answers, this is what I’m learning:

 

Be kind. Increasingly, I see how important it is to be kind to myself. Self-kindness enables me to get through the rough bits much more smoothly.

 

Acknowledge it. When I name what I am feeling, it loses some of its power over me. When times are tough, it prevents me from spiralling out of control, and during blissful moments, I’m able to be present and savour it rather than worry that the feeling will end.

 

Express it. The impact of simply expressing how I’m feeling on the inside, either to people I trust or through written words, has been so great. The challenging emotions are far less likely to consume me, and when I am feeling uplifted, expressing my sincere gratitude has been known to uplift others as well.

 

Push on. Step by step, I move. Some days they are glorious leaps, some days they are baby steps, and sometimes I go backwards. Sometimes it takes every bit of energy just to start my day. But I do my very best to move.

 

So on a day when the Earth is in balance, I want to acknowledge and celebrate the art of unbalance. With each passing swing, we have the opportunity to refine this art and bring it to a whole new level of mastery.

 

Instead of aching for sustainable balance, perhaps instead we embrace the art of unbalance and celebrate the growth that comes with it.

 

And in those moments when we do experience balance, just like the Earth does this weekend, we can be more present with it, acknowledge its fleeting nature, welcome it when it arrives and gracefully say goodbye when it leads us back to the inevitable gift of unbalance once again.

 

By Chelsey Cooper


 

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