A Balancing Act
Have you ever played Jenga? If you’re unfamiliar with the game, the goal is to carefully remove a block from a tower of blocks then place the piece on top without the entire structure collapsing. It’s easy in the beginning, but when the solid base becomes a bit unstable, well that’s when the tower is prone to fall down. I think this game beautifully mirrors life. It’s not too tough for us to handle a few glitches as long as everything else is flowing smoothly and our base is strong. But when we struggle in multiple areas and our foundation is not so solid, well that’s when we’re more likely to tumble, lose our balance.
There’s definitely a reason it’s called “a balancing act.” For sure maintaining a sense of self is no easy feat. Yet how do we keep our balance? What is the magical secret?
I believe that there’s no ideal recipe to ensure a balanced life. Instead there is a unique equation for each person. What might balance me could overwhelm you, and what you need to keep yourself in harmony could tip my scale. So how do we find the perfect formula to keep us in equilibrium? What must we do to find our sweet spot in life?
Balance isn’t something we achieve, rather it is something we do. I know that sounds contradictory to everything we’ve learned, but consider a new definition of balance. What if living a life of balance revolved around the choices we make instead of a state that we searched for? If we consciously choose our actions, could we feel more balanced?
By mindfully acting and behaving in a particular way, we empower ourselves to create balance rather than tasking ourselves to find it elsewhere. After all, we could spend countless hours, days, weeks or perhaps years searching when the power to actualize this state is within us. Yet how do we know exactly which actions, choices, and decisions are necessary for our ideal balance?
The first step is to identify our values. Because if we make decisions based on our values, then we are being true to ourselves and will have a much better chance of achieving this desired state. Yet “values” is such a broad term. What exactly does “identify our values” mean and how can that be the foundation for a balanced life?
What helped me determine values that defined my balance was to make a list of words I felt were essential to become the person I hope to be. Start big – let your thoughts flow freely. After you have your list, circle the top ten words that you feel are most important. Now here’s the tough part… cross out five of those words. Take a deep breath, then cross out two more. Don’t overanalyze – instead allow your instinct to guide you. The three words that remain are those values that resonate most with you. These are your benchmarks to help you make the best decisions for you to obtain your personal balance.
After you’ve identified your three value words, what next? These then become your guides or internal check points to help you create balance. My three words are “compassion,” “elevate,” and “health.” I believe that the foundation to my balance lies in making decisions or behaving in ways that honor these three areas. So when I find myself in a quandary as to what to do, my goal is to shift perspectives and see how my decision impacts me being compassionate, elevating to a higher level, or improving my health. So far, this process has not led me astray. In fact, I think it’s helped me choose wisely, not necessarily how I may have in the past.
While this method won’t guarantee balance, as the Universe has a way of pulling out many pieces from our Jenga tower, it will provide an inner harmony, allowing us to own the ability to impact our state of being. We certainly cannot control what comes our way, but we do have the power to decide how we are going to react, and that determines the basis for our balance.