Something I hear people speak about quite a bit is trying to find balance in their lives. Often we seek balance between work and family, or between responsibility and recreation. Perhaps it is a balanced diet or exercise plan we desire.
In some way, shape or form, we have been conditioned to believe that perfect balance should be our primary goal and that it is the ideal.
With things feeling more “out of balance” than ever, it can help to recognize that this notion of balance is a myth. Or at least anything more than a fleeting moment of it.
Because in order for something to be truly balanced, it must be still. Static. Unmoving and unchanging. But we know that life does not operate in this fashion. It vacillates. It is in a constant state of ebb and flow.
If we picture a metronome or a pendulum, we can start to understand this dynamic. As it swings from one end to the other, it only occupies the center for a brief moment before it continues its oscillation.
Much in the same way, our own lives cycle between various opposing forces, until it finally stops altogether, coming to rest dead in the center. Thus achieving balance by ceasing to move at all.
And while this true “balance” is inevitable for all of us, it is not what we should be striving to obtain. (At least not while we still have breath in our lungs). Rather, we should be seeking to find some measure of equilibrium.
While the difference in common parlance is subtle, we can look at equilibrium as more dynamic (imagine fluxes cancelling each other out), versus balance being more akin to weights on a scale in a state of rest.
What we must realize is that while everything is trying to find homeostasis, the only thing that ever stays the same is that everything changes.
We often try and plant ourselves on this razor edge and stay perfectly in the middle. But this of course is a futile attempt at control. In fact, we are better served to embrace movement; to maintain the ability to adjust our attention and focus where it is needed most…
Understanding that it can be okay to swing to one extreme for a period, so long as we remember to swing back just as far in the other direction for an equal amount of time.
The hard part is finding the sensitivity to know when and where to apply this attention. From the pendulum analogy, too much momentum and it goes off the rails. Too little and it barely moves at all.
Recognize that everything in life has a rhythm. We can try and stand still, fight it, and get out of sync, or we can choose to follow it and keep in time.