Balance is a choice. And it’s not a once-off decision. How we achieve balance between priorities in our lives flows daily. Some days we get it right and some days we get it wrong. Most days we try to do better again tomorrow. With modern day pressures, technological enablers and real time, streamed availability 24 hours a day and seven days a week we are constantly choosing where to put our energy. And sometimes stress dictates where our energy flows, whether it’s intentional or not. It’s not about giving equal attention and prominence to all areas of our lives at the same time. Life can be completely imbalanced at times, but is often a conscious choice to go all out and build a business, or spend time with family due to birth, death, illness. Or even a decision to focus on a passion. And it often see-saws back and forth as our priorities shift and flow, day to day, as we find the balance that works for us in our lives.
Everything is also a choice, whether we are conscious of it or not, as is choosing to stay stuck in the status quo. Using work or a leader’s demand as an excuse, is actually making a choice. Unless we’re in a war zone waiting for the next bomb to drop, staying stuck in a stressed out nervous system state of fight or flight is usually also a choice. It’s often just convenient or easier to blame something outside of ourselves for our lack of personal power in a situation. We sometimes lack the perspective to claim our voice back and stand in our personal elegant power with a sense of ease and grace – possibly by stepping back from a situation or making a different choice for ourselves. With the expectations we place on ourselves, whether it be to conform to societal norms or not, it is something I know all too well.
I played small and abdicated some of my personal power to stress for many years. I became the co-pilot in my own life for a long time. But when we give up our choices and personal power, consciously or not, our bodies intuitively know it. Your body knows when you’re not in the driving seat of your life and yourself; hijacked by stress and in complete incongruence with ourselves and how we should be showing up in our lives. Your body is constantly sending signals to your nervous system through the age-old biological genetic wisdom. Small fluctuations in blood pressure, temperature, breathing, movement, sound and our intuitive, or instinctual reactions to them, are all constantly sending signals to our nervous system in an instantaneous feedback loop. Are you safe? Is there danger? This intelligence, giving us life, runs through our nervous system. All we have to do is get out of the way and listen.
Many are experiencing unprecedented levels of overwhelm due to overcommitted and overscheduled lives where fear and the need to stay safe has eroded our boundaries and our ability to listen to those stress signals. We have to hold space for ourselves to intentionally come back into balance to avoid a situation, like burnout, which takes far longer to recover from. Burnout comes from an unsustainable imbalance in our lives, and it is not always from doing too much. Sometimes it is from not doing enough of what lights us up and tops up our energy. We end up with a deep depletion of our life force energy where we experience a draining fatigue that has the resilience of a flat tire, rather than the satisfaction of achieving something or using our energy to achieve something meaningful.
And, just when we think we’re back in the driving seat and have our personal version of balance back in the see-saw of our lives – maybe between work and life – things shift. Life happens. And then it’s about how we pay attention to tweak, pivot and take action in small steps, daily, to bring us back into a new state of balance or flow, aligned to our values, goals and the type of life we want to lead. It’s not about moving out of balance, rather, it’s about regaining our own personal sense of balance quickly.