These words were in a Chinese fortune cookie brought to me by a friend who said he thought of me when he opened it. Humorous, but true! There are so many parts of us that come into play. There is the mind, the body, the emotions and the spirit. We also have work, family, and hopefully some semblance of a social life. We are told to schedule in a good workout somewhere in our busy lives. We have (or had) dreams, goals, and a future in mind. There are so many aspects of self to deal with. Over time, many are stunned to suddenly realize they have lost pieces of themselves so slowly that they never noticed- until something major came along and forced them to take a look at themselves and their lives. This can be a by-product of having to take a look at our lives and getting rid of that which no longer serves us, or never has. If we do not do it on our own, through the process of really looking inward, life will help us along-only by this time the experience may not be at all one we would like.
The word balance can mean many things. It can mean the stability of one’s mind or feelings, as in peace of mind and personal balance. In sailing, it means the ability of a boat to stay on course without adjustment of the rudder. It also means a condition in which different elements are equal, or in the correct proportion. In art, it stands for the harmony of design and proportion. It can also be the amount in an account after all of the debits and credits have been dealt with. One last definition is to offset or compare the value of one thing with another. If we look at each of these individually and apply them to our own set of circumstances, what might we learn about ourselves, about our lives?
Peace of Mind and Personal Balance
How at peace are you with your life? Are your relationships at home and at work where you would like them to be? Are you acting with integrity and honor? Or do you react to everyone and everything around you? Do you live your life in a way that gives you peace and joy? Are you acting in any ways that hurt others? Is there a balance of give and take in the relationships that you have? Do you give freely, and with love?
Stay on Course
(And thank goodness there’s a rudder!) This phrase requires introspection- it implies that you have a direction, a plan for your life, and that you are moving consistently towards it. It implies that you have taken the time to look deep within, soul searching, if you will, and have made decisions and movement in accordance with that plan. This requires honesty and courage. It includes all areas of your life: the kind of person you want to be; your life’s purpose; where you should live/move to in order to live out your purpose; your career goals, family goals, marriage goals; your spiritual goals; your health goals… all this and more. Again, keeping all of this in balance can be a challenge. Even if we think we have it all figured out, life has a way of throwing in something we didn’t expect to spice things up a bit. Oprah once said that God’s plans for her were so much greater than her own. All of that can be thrown into the mix as well, making the use of the rudder so important in our lives. It ensures that we have the ability to move back on course if we choose, or to change directions completely. But even this demands the courage to look within to see if we are truly where we need to be, or if areas of our lives are dysfunctional.
A Condition in Which Different Elements are Equal, or in Correct Proportion
Are you working too much? Is the work that you are doing so stressful that it negatively impacts the rest of your life? Is it worth it to you? Are you all work and no play, or all play and no work? If your life were divided into pieces of a pie, what would the largest piece represent? Is that what you want in that spot or do you want other things to take up the largest piece of your life? All of these are choices that only you can really make. Some make the mistake of not making any conscious choices and just letting things “happen”. This too, is ultimately a choice whether they are consciously aware of it or not. What proportions do you want to designate for the different aspects of your life? What is important to YOU?
Harmony of Design and Proportion
Do you feel harmony and peace in your life? Is your life’s design looking the way you would like it to? Are you able to live your passion every day? If not, as the artist of your own life, what areas or colors would you change? All of the choices are yours to make. Most people are so busy (frazzled is more like it) that they miss the opportunities to sit down, breathe, and take a look at what is passing them by. What opportunities have you missed? Which ones would you like to grab? It’s not too late you know. You can make another choice.
The Amount in Your Account
Does this mean your checkbook? What if it meant your life’s energy in other ways? Do you give of your time, talents, love and money? In what proportions- too much or too little? Are you miserly or so giving that there is little to nothing left of you? There must be a balance here, one that you decide. If things get out of control your life becomes stressful and chaos takes the reins. Is your to do list longer than your day? Are you realistic about your life and the amount of energy you have to give to each day?
Offset or Compare the Value of One Thing with Another
As you look at your life honestly, what is it that you value most? Does your life currently reflect that? Could anyone looking at your life guess what it is that is important to you? If not, how can you change your life to make sure that the areas and parts of you and your expression of self are in line with your beliefs and desires for your life?
How do you value others? Do you treat them as if they are priceless? Do you think of what their needs and desires are, or only think of your own? When trading time or talents, do you think about what they might value in trade or just offer them what you want to? When trading time or talents, make sure that you are offering something to them that they really value.
So, how did you do? Were you honest in your answers? Are there areas that you would like to work on or change? Can you think of things that you used to love to do, that somehow just slipped out of your life? Are there things that you would love to incorporate into your life once again? What are the things that feed your soul and renew your spirit? Are you taking time for yourself and incorporating those things into your daily life?
The beginning of spring often sparks renewed interest in gaining some semblance of control over our lives. For some this means starting an exercise program. Others may start a weight loss program, or at least decide to incorporate a more nutritious diet into their lives. For others it may mean getting back in touch with themselves, with the things they used to enjoy in life. Still others may look for the parts of themselves that they used to love…
Whatever it means to you, may your spring be new and renewing. May you make choices that help you attain a life beyond your wildest dreams!