bal·ance - an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady
What is a balanced life?
Balance means different things to each of us. But there are some universal truths. Each of us needs a healthy work and life balance, to find some joy and meaning in each day and to feel we are productive and connected. Often times, the scales get tipped too far in one direction. The wisdom of Rumi speaks well to this: "Life is a balance of holding on and letting go." For me, it is having a sense of purpose, feeling vital physically and mentally, and knowing something bigger than me is directing my life. It can be a tricky juggling act, requiring patience, diligence, and occasionally, a defibrillator.
Burning the candle at both ends can tip the scale so far that we land in physical and mental pain. Lack of compassion for ourselves and judging our choices stagnates the energetic flow of life in all areas of our health. How do we keep the scales level and maintain balance?
The TCM View
Traditional Chinese Medicine views the balance between the mind, body and Spirit as inextricably connected. As Yin and Ying are interdependent on one another, many adjustments are constantly being made in our body to maintain a state of dynamic balance. Every physiological process can be viewed in the the light of the relationship of Yin and Yang -- light and dark, sun and moon, activity and rest, east and west, left and right. heaven and earth, material and immaterial. When one aspect of our life predominates, another area may suffer. Staying aware of this balance -- and when it starts to shift -- will help keep the scales from tipping to far in one direction
If one area of our life is too consuming, our Qi or life energy is funneled into that area, creating a dam and causing constraint. Constraint limits flow to the rest of our body and being, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, and puts us in "fight or flight" mode. Acupuncturists look to move Qi and nourish Yin, to achieve balance in the body, mind and spirit and create equilibrium. Our personal charge is to adopt daily self-care practices which keep the scales of balance from tipping too much in one direction, and allowing the natural flow of life to course through every aspect of our being. Creating boundaries, holding reasonable expectations and letting go of things that don't serve us is essential. Sometimes, it requires facing some hard truths and waving the white flag of surrender. Sometimes it is finding that quiet space where we can disconnect and just enjoy the world around us. Finding clarity about what is right for us as individuals and then implementing key self-care rituals into our life is a good start for finding and maintaining a life of balance.