Striking a balance between work-life and life-life is more journey than destination, yet I still find myself thinking: if I could just get there. As if balance is a place to retire. A place with my favorite hammock stretched between two palm trees, overlooking tropical waters and swaying gently in the breeze.
Getting to balance is really living in balance. Not doing too few of the right things or too much of the wrong things. It's about making the best possible choices that align with our personal and professional values. Choices that promote vitality. It sounds simple.
In my experience it is anything but...
Achieving "balance" is probably possible only after having experienced life out of balance. There's so much vulnerability and pain that arrives when our lives start to seriously wobble and we realize THIS SUCKS. When there's too much risk, not enough creativity, a sense of monotony or craze; and we think: Time to adjust!
But what exactly should we change? First we need to assess.
What are all the forces working against me? And, what forces are working in my favor? I can't bounce back from burnout until I know what caused the exhaustion. I must take inventory.
Or, what if I'm absolutely soaring and things are really good? If there's no big problem to address, there's no reason to tweak anything, right? Maybe so. But it would also be helpful to understand and reinforce the positive things contributing to such a wonderful surge.
Again, it's all about regularly reviewing your work-life and your life-life. Consider the act of assessment as a personal protocol you follow to identify what in your life is facilitating or preventing you from living well.
Next, develop a set of helpful rituals.
Why rituals? Are there real benefits to these symbolic habits? I believe so. From cultural ceremonies to superstitious players in sports -- research suggests that practitioners of ritual perform better. Personally, I don't subscribe as much to the acts of repetition as to the power of focusing with intention.
Rituals are a simple approach to keeping our priorities prioritized. With rituals we build a rhythm into our lives that keeps us moving at a pace, and in the direction, we most want to go. We experience momentum while staying centered. You might call it a well-balanced lifestyle.
What are your favorite individual (or family) rituals that keep you in balanced?