Life Balanced!

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”
–L. P. Jacks

What might it feel like to always be working and playing in all endeavors?  Can you even imagine such a thing?  If you’re having difficulty melding the two concepts into one way of being, I suggest watching toddlers for awhile.  Their work IS their play and their play IS there work.

In a previous post I argued that  Work/Life balance isn’t a thing and I suggested that what you really need to do to create balance in your life is similar to the way a coach would support your physical balance.   So,  let’s explore this idea more by stepping away from the work/life balance craziness and create a new paradigm of “Life Balance” in which we are guided by three internal systems that are similar to the physical balance systems.  As a reminder from the last post, these internal systems are Mission, Vision and Values.

First some definitions:

  • Mission: What you do and how you act day to day.  Your mission is your passion and love of living.  It’s why you are here and what you are meant to do in this lifetime.
  • Vision: This is the ideal that you are always striving toward.  Since it’s ideal it’s really unattainable and yet it’s something that drives you forward and betters you as you go along.
  • Values: These 3-5 drivers are what guide your decision making.  Your personal values are like a compass in the unexplored wilderness of your life.

Imagine taking the time to test and refine your life systems  in the same fashion a fitness coach would test and refine your physical balance.  Your Mission is like the vestibular system in your inner ear that balances your body and keeps your eyes focused while moving.  Your mission, when focused upon, allows you to move through the world acting in a manner that feels authentic and organized.  You know how you want to act, what you want to do and who you want to be in any given moment.  Your mission makes each moment a choice instead of a reaction.

Your Vision, quite naturally matches up with your physical vision.  Your eyes give you the power to see where your body is now and where it’s going.  For life balance your Vision allows you to look ahead and see the obstacles and detours to come.  You may find yourself backtracking along the way, but just like google maps creating detours, you know the reason for the back track and you still have your mind focused on where you want to go.

Your Values are akin to the propreoceptive system.  Remember that this system allows the body to know where parts of it are in relation to itself.  So, your finger can find your nose even with your eyes closed.  This is how the body makes minute adjustments to keep the body balanced over it’s center.  Your values function in much the same way.  They assist you in evaluating the minutia of decision making in a way that keeps you centered and  on mission (balanced in the moment).

You may now be asking, if these systems are unconscious and functioning anyway, why do I need to make them conscious and why isn’t my life naturally balanced?

Fair question.  The main reasons many people are out of balance centers around social and cultural issues.  Your life balance systems are unique to you and can’t be externalized.  They speak in quiet whispers that you may have been trained to ignore by social and cultural pressure.  Yet those systems are running and you might feel the depression and anxiety from not living the life you are meant to.  Also, just like the physical systems, if you don’t focus and practice them on a regular basis they become dull and muted.  If you feel off in life then you are  feeling the effects of not living your life according to your internal systems.

Testing your balance systems:

Here are a few general question to  ask about each system, followed by deeper questions to really get you thinking.

Do you struggle with day to day decisions?  Not the big life decisions of getting married or changing a career, but the every day decisions about what to eat, and plans for the weekend.  If you struggle you may not have a clear sense of your values.  Good questions to ask would be, “how often do I make decision based on what other people think I should do?”  and “how many people do I get opinions from before I make decisions about relationships and circumstances?”  Then ask yourself “what would I choose if I knew everyone would be fine and really enjoy my choices, regardless of what I chose?”  If you can relax into that imaginary world the answers may lead you to your values.

Do you find yourself bored or frustrated with day to day life?  Do you live for the weekend, but during the weekend you feel either flat and depressed or anxious about the week ahead?  If a spark to your day is missing, exploring your personal mission can help.  A good question to get you thinking about your mission is, “what lit me up when I was a kid?”, and “when I do feel lots of energy, what am I doing, and thinking?”

Do you feel like your life is going in circles and the next 5 years is starting to look like the last 5-10 years.  If this is the case,  start considering a vision or ideal you would like to aspire to.  Ask yourself the questions, “what would be a really cool life to live?” and “who do I admire or envy and what does their life look like?”  Then ask yourself, “how do I have to change to have a life like that?”

Maybe you have all three and you still feel out of balance.  In this case the question to ask is, am I living them, am I practicing them?  To be balanced  you have to pay attention and fine tune your ability daily.  Are you challenging your balance and making it better?

If you want to embody a  work/play life and become a “Master in the art of living”, make the shift and embrace the paradigm of Life Balance.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Penny says:

    Beautifully thought out, a verbal work of art!

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