Recently I’ve been asking myself some existential questions about how I create balance in my life. I’m a parent, partner, wife, daughter, friend, coach, creative, traveller, mentor, student…the list goes on. How can I incorporate all these facets of myself in an integrated way? This question started to stress me out. I want them all, equally and fully, but it seems impossible to fit them all into this single life.
I sat with this question, trying to get to an answer. I tried to push into the question, thinking deeper and harder about what opportunities I have before me, weighing out the pros and cons of each. You could say I was wearing my old hat as a producer. I wanted to problem solve my way out of this. But it didn’t work.
And then I took a pause.
It happened while in conversation with a friend. Our discussion took a turn towards looking at my inner conflict. My default posture quickly took position. I tried to move our conversation away from myself, but my friend invited me to take a pause. It was awkward at first. I didn’t want to be in the here and now. It didn’t feel like it would have something positive to offer me. He turned on some music. I leaned back and allowed the sounds to take up the space I wanted to fill with words. My body started to ease. The pressure on my chest lightened. My eyes softened.
I began to recognize who I was being: “Self-reliant Jamie”. This is a version of myself that I’m very familiar with. In my many life journeys, I’ve relied upon my own powers and resources instead of seeking support.
The question of living in balance isn’t easy to answer. Perhaps an ultimate answer in this framework doesn’t even exist. But I don’t need to be with this alone. I can reach out to see who and what is there. I can exercise curiosity and compassion towards myself by being in this with others. This moment of pause was a gift in helping me realize that.
Silencing the mind to just be in the here and now gave me the space to hear my heart speak.
Maybe it’s your time to take a pause. It begins by stopping. Pause what you’re doing and simply experience and bring forth what you are right now.
Here’s a list of prompts to support and guide you. Look at yourself as if you were an outside person (or an alien!):
1. What does the body feel right now?
2. Where does your energy source live?
3. What core emotions do you notice? (e.g. anger, fear, joy, confusion)
4. What does your heart say?
5. Breathe. Notice and appreciate what you’re experiencing.
And here is a song to help you get in the pause mood.