'Balanced' doesn't have to look balanced!Jul 14, 2020
Ok, so we talk about balance a lot. Balancing roles, balancing life commitments and balancing our physical and mental health. But what does this even mean?
We have a sentence that we all say don't we...
"oooh yes, it's a balancing act isn't it" or "yes, it's all in the balance"
(does everyone do this in a northern english accent, or just me?)
The problem with this, or the allure with this, is that it's relatable enough to mislead us into thinking we understand each other, but vague enough for us to make whopping assumptions about the experience of another person. The function is to close down the conversation. That's what these types of sentences do. They have a meaning and linguistic function all of their own.
But what if it didn't? What if instead of rolling out this 'saying', we asked "what does balancing all this mean to you? how does it look when it all works, and how does it look when you are struggling to find a balance?".
We might look at this photo and make a judgement about how this is balanced and conforming to a social 'norm' of what balanced looks like. Still. We might have an idea that to be in balance is to be calm, collected, regulated and that it might mean we have equally distributed our energy out, or that we have less fluctuations in emotions...these might all be part of a picture that gets built up. This picture of 'balance' would completely reasonable if it were achievable. But is that really what we want?
This picture looks like i am about to go out of balance...but, the present moment reality of this is that I am still balanced. Continuing with this image as a metaphor for life, I am not holding all of my equal plates up equally and spinning them at an equal speed here. I am not still and calm in my 'balance' but embracing the in-balance. Some things in our lives clearly require more energy, focus, attention than others. Sometimes we have spontaneously respond and react to events and environments beyond our control.
To be human is to constantly be wobbling around between our commitments, desires, goals and failures. Sometimes we even have to lose our balance, put our foot down in one place, to come back to a position of wobbling.
I'm not sure I'm making much sense anymore here, but the idea of balance in real human-terms is not a still yoga pose. It's a continuous wobble.