Forgoing Balance For Harmony
Recently, I read a blog post on IlluminatedMind.net that explored the idea of how balance is overrated. This got me thinking. For years I’ve been trying to achieve balance with many aspects of my life: career, education, social life, finances, my health, relationships. I believe my efforts for the most part have proven to be unsuccessful. Is there such a thing called balance? And could it be achieved? In fact, I don’t think I know what a “balanced life” feels like. I definitely know what unbalanced feels like, would balance be the exact opposite? And is that realistic?
At the beginning of the New Year, I imagined “balance” would be my theme that I would make happen this year. I was planning on spending equal amount of time focusing on my career, social life, resolving my financial woes, and getting into shape. After reading this blog post and some of the comments I was struck by a response and had my AHA moment. Instead of trying to achieve balance in my life, could I possibly work towards finding harmony?
What is harmony? The first time I encountered this word was in music class in elementary school. Back then, it was when all my classmates and I worked together to make music that sounded beautiful and made us happy. Simple. Today, all those factors are still important. In addition, it’s the “quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole”.
There have been periods of my life where one aspect of it has dominated my time completely. Attending school last year is a great example: I devoted over 30 hours of week to attending school and studying. At the same time, I was working 25 hours a week and found very little time to spend with friends and exercise. Thus, I felt a wee bit unbalanced. At the time, I remember missing my friends immensely and felt that I was getting out of shape but somehow I knew it would be over at the end of the summer. After finding a job, I was able to take advantage of a corporate gym membership and now go to the gym 3-4 times a week and finally made some dates with friends.
My point is that sometimes things, people, circumstances, will require more time than others. I think that having the awareness of what is missing from our life is part of achieving harmony. If we put our attention to it, we will gradually find a way for it to enter our lives again. What I think is important to avoid is obsessing over any aspect of our lives. Looking back I wonder if I could have taken a ten minute break to have a phone conversation or made a choice to take a 15 minute walk outside to get some exercise. Of course I had the time! In fact, it may have enhanced the work that I was so intensely undertaking.
Next time a project or circumstance overwhelms your schedule, find the moments of harmony in your life. Take a short walk, call a friend, pay a bill, make lunch, hang up a picture in your apt, all of these things help to form a “pleasing whole.” Awareness is the first step. Shifting our focus and making a choice to find harmony is the second.