Balance is overrated
I sketch a lot in my journal. A lot of my sketches are of old school scales. The scale shows two portions that I am trying to get to equal each other. When one side is too heavy, it falls to the ground — while the other side floats in the air. The goal is to have each side hold the correct counter weight so everything stays in balance.
This is the internal image my mind conjures up when I run into paradoxes in my life. But is it really the best image I could have?
How am I spending my money? Do I spend too much on lattes or do I need to save more in the future? Or am I saving too much and need to learn how to enjoy my life today?
What does my work look like? I spend my time babysitting that gives me energy, but am I gaining valuable skills? I spend my time doing admin tasks behind a computer, but am I building a life I want?
What relationships am I investing in? How much time should I spend on dating apps? When was the last time I called my mother? How many days can I take off to go visit my sisters?
How about the food I eat? Did I have too many pieces of chocolate cake this week? Or did I eat enough veggies to balance it out? If I skip breakfast do I technically have more calories for later or less because I missed the most important meal of the day?
Then my spiritual life. Am I meditating? Am I reading enough books? Do I need to put a limit on the number of Netflix hours? Am I learning, growing? Or do I need to invest in more people or do I need more people to invest in me? Or do I always just need more of both?
If only I could get these scales to be in balance with one another, than I could be fulfilled in my life. Every aspect of my life gets described a specific weight and then that weight gets added to one side of the scale.
My life had become trying to balance out the counter weights.
A word on weight
There was a season in my life when I was fascinated with Jewish culture. I spent my free time reading the Rabbis, learning Hebrew, traveling to Jerusalem and finding the perfect challah bread.
I became fascinated with the Hebrew language. The Hebrew language has less words than the English language — therefore one Hebrew word can have multiple translations into English.
The Hebrew word for weight is kavod. This word also translates as heaviness, significance or importance. So you can talk about physical weight of something and you can talk about the internal weight.
For example, have you hear people use the phrase: “the heaviness of a situation”?
Own internal world has it’s own weight.
I can talk about how when my sister was diagnosed with cancer, I carried an extra weight around with me — It was not that I gained a physical twenty pounds, rather it was the significance of that phase of life came with it’s own internal burden.
In the same way, you can talk about feeling light as a feather. I have friend, who I love to grab coffee with. At the end of the days we are together, I feel like I glide home on air.
Room for Change
I don’t think the counter scale is a healthy model for me going forward.
I am shifting the game from an either, or situation to a yes, and situation. We don’t have to live in a zero sum world.
When I eat too much sugar in the week, my answer is not more carrots.
When I think my career choice is not building helpful skills, my answer is not to automatically quit and find the next place where I can work harder.
When I find myself drifting away from my old friends and family, my answer is not to call all of them and spend hours catching up.
When your immediate response is to threw a counter weight on a out of balance situation you end up stuck. You get stuck in a life you don’t want. Stuck thinking happiness needs to be the end result of each situation. You get stuck in unhealthy cycles.
When a new weight enters your world, you are allowed to sit with it and see what change it will bring to your life.
Instead of adding more carrots, I want to rethink and reorganize how my diet and food choices affect me.
Instead of quitting my job, I want to see what I am learning and how it fits into the larger picture of what I want for my life.
Instead of calling all my old friends and family, I look at the direction my life is heading in and the work I am up to in this world.
The heaviness of a situation can be the disruption you need to guide your life in the right direction. Balance is overrated.