Balance is Bullshit
I have so many clients who come to me looking for balance. That buzz phrase: work/life balance. Who made that up anyway?
When I think of balance, I see lack of inspiration, boredom, flatline. Balance on a seesaw is horizontal, stand still–there’s no fun in that!
What we want instead is rolling hills, rather than the shriek-inducing roller coaster of peaks and valleys most of us feel.
I hear all the time: “I’m all or nothin!”
I know that crash all too well.
My ex-girlfriend even. Whew! What a ride! But not sustainable. I found out the hard way.
It’s like cocaine, the crash just isn’t worth it.
So let’s be clear here: Balance is bullshit.
It’s not what we want so let’s stop saying it.
It’s like giving a depressed person meds that take away all their emotions: flat. Ew! No one wants that.
What we want instead is an integrated lifestyle.
The word is alignment.
I’ll give you an example, when I published my book I had to take a second job bartending. I was slinging beers till 2 AM and then waking up the next morning for yoga and I’d be on calls life coaching all afternoon.
Can we say, noncongruent?
Here I had all these depressed people at my bar drowning their sorrows day in and day out; I didn’t want to get ’em wasted, I wanted to give them a hug, and perhaps some advice.
Needless to say, I was definitely NOT living in alignment.
Even though I only worked a few nights a week, I felt a certain level of burnout each week that I couldn’t put a finger on.
Another word might be boundaries. Work/life boundaries seems more attainable than balance. Often when we’re out at dinner I have to ask my wife, Elisa, can we talk about something else?
We’re both passionate and we love what we do, but there has to be an “off” switch at some point.
It’s more of an ebb and flow. There will be days where we rock it and days where we fall short and somewhere in the grand scheme of things it all works out. This pertains to diet, workouts, relationships, everything!
So let’s just throw out the balance with the bathwater, shall we? It’s a make believe state that nobody actually wants anyway.
Let’s instead focus on living more in alignment and creating healthier boundaries.
How do we do that?
By assessing what’s working and what’s not on a regular basis: monthly, weekly, even daily, shit–moment to moment. Awareness of our unconscious tendencies is the first step to any real change.
How often are our habitual tendencies literally sabotaging our intentions/long term goals?
It’s the only true metrics of our lives. And we watch our stocks more closely! Then we’re hemming and hawing over balance with the best of ’em, never really taking stock in our commitment to life’s full integration (mind/body/spirit).
I leave you with this: What have you omitted from your life when there was a conflict of alignment? How did it open things up for you?
Originally published at kathurley.com on April 8, 2016.