”Balance” was the word I chose on Jan 1st of this year. Every year on that first day, I set goals in 10 different categories of my life. I look through the lens of my word to grow and learn something new.
Each week I draw out a little circle graph that I fill in pieces of as I complete tasks. I love love love filling in those little pie slices. It gives me a way to look back at my weeks, and see what most of my time was spent doing.
I started off my year thinking it would be good to balance each day or week with with a small amount of time spent in each category. Some days that worked really well. At first I hated switchI got tasks to go on to the next thing, but it was rewarding after I tried it! Quickly it became apparent however that having long-term balance was going to be a lot more complicated.
Right now the waves of the ocean of my life are bringing me close to large projects, family, friends and quiet time with a puzzle. As a result, my other pie slices are quite empty. I’m not spending time organizing or picking up my house, I’m not spending time working out, I’m not working on my own art, but I am working on a piece of public art soon to be installed. I am having important time with family. I am working to help my family and making new connections with others.
I am learning that balance is less about a daily practice of every single thing, and more about learning to roll with what is coming your way, taking advantage of the best opportunities life is offering you. Daily balance implies a control and restrictiveness that just isn’t possible if you are following the Spirit and keeping an open mind to the natural changes and flows of life.
Balance can mean 5 days of large project, followed by 3 days of solitude, art, reflection, or cleaning to make your world tip back to the center. I imagine my pie chart as a huge flat disk that I’m running back and forth on top of throughout my day. If I stand on one side too long, I have to run back in the opposite direction or I feel everything else starting to slide.
Beyond that, our lives are constantly being shuffled and reshuffled. During the Covid shutdown, I felt like our lives were Boggle game cubes, shaken vigorously and set back down for us to examine. Change also causes us to lose our footing making it hard for us to find balance. We then have to rediscover our center, start there, and slowly work back outward to find that balance between our selves and our world.
I’m preparing to make a big move with one of my pie pieces. My youngest is leaving for college leaving my husband and myself to simply be a couple again. This removes a huge chunk of my daily life as a parent. I have spent the last year feeling nostalgic, proud, sentimental, worried, sad and excited about it. My son may be leaving music school and joining the Airforce band.
Balance in life is based not within each day, but within the season of life. So much change. That is the season I am in now. I feel like I’m in a boat out in the ocean. It is a really beautiful ocean, and I love it, but I don’t see land yet. Balance sometimes is about simply keeping our footing, staying grounded, and rolling with the waves.