Here's the Thing About Balance...
I have a tendency to live a life of extremes. Packed schedule for weeks, followed by days of rest. Eating out constantly, followed by serial cooking. When my body feels discomfort, I want to do whatever it takes to make it feel better, and I will stop at nothing to get that relief found in the middle ground.
I have often searched high and low for balance, for that perfect middle of the road, steady equilibrium. If I could only figure out the answers -- whether it was a pill, magic green juice, detoxifying herbal tea, or certain amount of sleep per night -- I would vow to do exactly that every day for the rest of my life just so I could feel better. If you told me how to achieve balance, I'd be your #1 student.
Health coaches, books, and friendly conversations gave me tons of information:
"Exercise 30 minutes a day 6 days a week."
"Meditate for 10 minutes daily."
"No gluten. No dairy. No sugar."
"Chia seeds are the new black."
With each tip and new suggestion, I found the same result: instant steady balance followed by a boomerang feeling launching me so far in the opposite direction. What began to make me feel better for a few days or months would suddenly swing the pendulum the opposite direction, only to leave me back at square one.
What I've learned seems kind of obvious, but I cannot remind myself enough. You see...
I AM HUMAN.
I am a living and breathing organism that is constantly adapting to my surroundings. Without my trying, my body's cells are hard at work to function, detox, adapt, grow, and thrive.
And here's the thing about balance. Every day we wake up different than we did yesterday. The cells in your body are different as you read this sentence than they were when you opened this blog post. Every second, minute, hour, and day we are in a constant state of change. The only constant is change. How are we supposed to learn "balance" when our canvas is ever-changing?
Still, my relationship to change and balance is ever evolving. Some days, I am rocking at life and think I've "figured it all out." Other days, I am forced to question my lifestyle routines, check in, and see if they are still serving my highest power. I ask myself a few questions that lead me to the answers I need:
"After I ate [insert food here], how did it make me feel?"
"I'm feeling [insert feeling here]. What did I do in the last 24-48 hours that may have contributed? Was it something I consumed -- in the form of food, information, or energy?"
"I feel TAKE-OVER-THE-WORLD AMAZING today. Why is that?" (Then I write down my list and save it for a rainy day reminder.)
What it all boils down to is I feel best when I listen to my body. The more I check in with myself, the clearer I hear the answers. The more I hear the answers, the easier it is for me to thrive. The best part about all this is if I ever make choices or find myself in a situation that keeps me from thriving, in that very moment I have the power to change. I can't change what's happened to me in the past, but I can use that knowledge to help shape the present moment. IT'S THAT SIMPLE.
Does this mean I've "achieved balance"? I no longer believe it's a trophy to be won and displayed on my mantle forever and ever. I don't think I'll ever get there and stay there. But I do know that just for today, I feel balanced. And since all I have is today, I'd say that's a pretty good spot to be.
So tell me, how are you feeling today?