Striking the Perfect Balance

An Elusive Impossibility?

photo of stack of rocks balancingMost people say they’d like to live a balanced life, yet the idea becomes misconstrued when balance appears as an elusive, utopian state to be realized. Toward the end of the movie Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (played by Julia Roberts) becomes distressed when she fears that falling in love again will unravel the hard-won peace she had finally achieved. Her medicine-man teacher and friend dispenses one more lesson when he says: To lose balance sometimes for love is necessary to live a balanced life. The drop-everything mode of making room to incorporate a new person into your life is at once unnerving and exciting.

I appreciated that quote and didn’t give it more thought until early December when, while escorting my parents cross country from New York to Arizona, the in-flight movie played and I heard the words again. Sometimes to lose balance for love is necessary to live a balanced life. My worries about whether I could provide my parents with the support they needed and the life-upside-down feeling that accompanied my thoughts immediately quieted. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. That knowing feeling ran through my heart. Ah, yes, we are required to lose our balance for love many times in our lives, not only for romantic love, but also for the love of our parents, children, friends, and even ourselves.

Losing Balance For Love

Over the next several weeks, this bit of movie wisdom continued to help me frame the upheaval of change that was occurring as Jess and I helped my parents settle into our home. Through my clients and friends, I noticed other examples of people willingly losing their balance for love:

  • A woman who, after getting geared up for a promotion at work, jumped on a plane to be with her father who was about to have a serious operation;

  • Parents who rearranged their schedules to accommodate family therapy with their adolescent daughter;

  • A couple whose adoption came through just weeks before they were to move from the country where they’d been living and return home.

I imagine that some of your own examples are now coming to mind. You could also say that these two scenarios are a form of losing balance for love:

  • When it becomes necessary to invest in your own health and self-care, perhaps in an intense way if healing from an illness;

  • Bringing an important work of yours to fruition that is a labor of love.

When put into the context of living a balanced life overall, the temporary loss of balance is given proper perspective. Losing your balance periodically is to be expected in life yet it doesn’t have to mean forever losing yourself. It is consciously abandoning yourself to where love is taking you… and to trusting that.

Losing your balance for love, then, means you’ve checked in with yourself and are choosing to be okay with the upheaval because you deem whatever is causing the imbalance to be a worthy reason. This is quite different from allowing yourself to fall into a state of imbalance any time something pulls at you.

Lost and Found

I’m learning that even within those periods of tumult, a new balance can be gained. This week, take these questions to heart:

  • Where is love taking you now?

  • What are some little ways to rebalance even in the midst of change?

  • If you are out of balance for reasons other than love and it does not feel right to you, what greater adjustment is needed?

Here's to you,
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