Practicing Balance - Part 2 of 2

This post grew out of my reflections on being Part 1 if you haven't already. With all the talk of clarity, power, intention, success, and purpose, it can be a little intimidating to acknowledge when you have a moment of confusion.

But there is a time for confusion.

And until we can acknowledge and admit this to ourselves, we cannot move through it. We gloss over the surface of it, trying to fix the outer appearance of our lives, staying busy and enrolled in things, buying more, doing more, hoping that all that activity will make the confusion go away.

It's true that action and forward motion is such a powerful antidote to feeling stuck and ruminating for too long. But I've also found that acknowledging the truth, and being able to rest in the feeling of truth, is an essential starting point.

From "Woo Woo" to "Win Win"....where's the balance?

There seem to be two ends of the spectrum in the world of self-help and personal development. At one end are the offerings which many people call "woo woo", which encourage us to slow down, create space, and connect with our internal guidance and spirit. For a typical "high-achiever" person like me, what's frustrating about these offerings is the apparent lack of structure, total acceptance of all possibilities, and absence of clear end-points, none of which feel totally authentic or effective. I've found, however, that dwelling in this discomfort, and being with it at a time in my life when I was receptive to change, was exactly the healing environment I needed.

At the other end of the spectrum are the myriad wealth and success and "winning at life" programs designed to provide formulas for achieving the material goals we think will help our feelings of dissatisfaction or angst. These I call the "outside in" approach, where money or an organized living space or achieving higher status of any kind is used as a gateway to attaining the lives we think we want. At first glance, these leave me with a distasteful feeling, because I feel that our culture is already sufficiently addicted to material proxies for inner peace.

I've found that there is a place for using the tools at both ends of the spectrum at different times in our lives, and the real challenge is to discern what's appropriate, and how much to use, for where we are right now.

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Balance in life turns out to be a lot like seasoning a good dish - just the right amount of the right ingredients yield a delicious result.

In order to create your very own unique taste, you might start gingerly, adding just a dash of this or a dash of that. Or you might be zealous and overshoot at first.

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But you'll never know until you TASTE it yourself!

It's all part of your learning and gaining skills! And a chance to practice celebrating failure.

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No recipe can really tell you exactly how to make the dish to your's only a guideline, and your tastebuds are the final, and only significant, judge.

Similarly, no expert or guru or formula can really tell you how to achieve the balance you desire in your life. You'll just have to start trying to learn...and be willing to be confused every once in awhile. Just think of it as your clue that you're actually moving and changing in some way.

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Life balance is about your ability to respond to constant changes and your willingness to learn to trust yourself. You can enhance your abilities by increasing the range of tools available to you, and by practicing them consciously.

But in the end, remember that you are the best teacher you'll ever find.

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Bouillabaisse photo credits: (top) and (bottom)

To learn more about restoring balance and observing yourself in yoga Tree Pose, watch this video blog.