“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~Thomas Merton
The best thing in life is balance. You must balance work and play. Balance between exercise and food. The balance between solitude and friendship. Finding balance between doing and being. Find balance means finding freedom.
This realization was the turning point in my healing journey. A lack of balance can cause suffering in your life.
Balance? The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu speaks of The Dao, which means “the way.” It is essentially the balance of the yin and yang energies. The feminine and masculine. The darkness and the light.
Everything has both extremes. The Dao, however, lies somewhere in the middle. It’s where you won’t find any energy moving in one direction. This is the place where harmony can be found. Doing too many of one thing is a mistake. To do extremes takes all your energy.
“The inefficiency of your actions is determined by how many degrees off center you are. You will be that much less able to use your energy for living life because you are using it to adjust to the pendulum swings.” ~Michael Singer
Balance. That’s it. That’s the key.
My core area of focus has been food, exercise and relationships. I’ve spent many years trying to be balanced in these areas. Perhaps you can relate.
Food. I’ve wasted an incredible amount of energy with my pendulum falling to the extremes when it comes to food. What to eat, when to eat, how much to eat… all comes back to balance.
Years of living in extreme deprivation or excess were my norm. Fasting, starving, and binging are all ways I have been known to overeat and binge. Eating a sh*t ton one day to eating nothing the next. To eat too many junk foods and to eat healthy food. Both of these are unnecessary.
Living in such extreme circumstances was a waste of time and energy.
My body spent all of its energy in digesting excessive amounts of food. This was stealing precious energy that I could use to develop a passion or connect deeper with people. I realized these were the root causes of my overeating. In order to maintain balance in my relationships with other people, I had been using food as a substitute for the nourishment that I truly needed.
Remember that every single thing we do takes energy, and we only have so many energy units in a day, so it’s imperative to become conscious of where you are using up energy in order to make sure you are using it wisely.
My exercise habits were another major area in which I was living completely out of control. Unlike food, where I consciously knew that eating too much and starving myself wasn’t good for me or what I needed, it remained unconscious for quite some time that too much exercise is most definitely a thing.
Many years ago, I spent a lot of time exercising. This included HIIT trainings, running, intensive vinyasa Yoga classes and weight training. The endorphin rushes I got post-workout felt too good to be bad for me, plus we are told again and again how important exercise is, so I sincerely didn’t see anything wrong with my relationship to exercise. I didn’t know the difference between rest and exercise, so I found myself in an unconsciously exhausted state.
Extreme workouts require you to make sure you have enough recovery space.
Due to my lack of balance in my life, I had been holding on to a great deal of stress. This negatively impacted my sleeping patterns. I was not aware of my habit for many years and realized that it had been a direct result of overexercising. Without realizing, I was an addict to exercising.
After quitting running six days a weeks and starting to do gentler exercise like yin Yoga and walking, I realized that my body could let go of chronic stress hormones and was able finally to rest.
Yes, exercising is good. But you shouldn’t overdo it. Some people choose not to exercise at all, which can also be unhealthy and drain your energy. Balance, it’s all about balance.
Our relationships are the last area in which balance is important.
Is it possible that you are spending too much with your boyfriend but not enough time with your friends. Perhaps you’re too attached to your boyfriend and have not made enough connections with them. Maybe you don’t have enough relationships at all and it’s keeping you in a state of chronic loneliness. Or living in the other extreme and don’t have enough alone time to recollect your energy, as solitude is also essential to our health.
Balance can also be a problem in relationships. Excessive sex can lead to a lack of balance in your relationships. Too many giving and not enough receiving. Too much talking, not enough communication… Where do you lack balance in your relationships?
These examples can be used to identify areas in your life where you are out of center. The list of possibilities is limitless. It is important to spend enough time outdoors and not get sunburned. Obsessing about your self-care instead of spending time in nature. It is not enough to take time away from work in order to enjoy and relax. This can lead to feeling unfulfilled and lacking purpose.
It is not easy to find balance because everyone has different needs. It is not possible to have the exact balance you need by following a single formula. It’s really just about tuning into your body and listening to what needs aren’t being met in your life and where you are hurting yourself by engaging in an extreme.
Ask yourself this question: What areas in my life are I lacking balance? What can I do to create balance and harmony in my life so that it flows smoothly?
Confucius described balance as the ideal state of stillwater. Let’s settle our water and find a level of deep peace and contentment that will naturally arise as a result.
Rachael Sternhagen is a Spiritual Life Coach who helps others reconnect and realign with their SOUL desires in order to manifest more fulfillment and co-create deeply nourishing lives. In her mission to spread unconditional love in a world where everyone is struggling to understand, be understood and loved, she is determined to do so. If you’re struggling to find balance in your life, you don’t have to do it alone. You can connect with Rachael for support on Instagram or her website.
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Tiny Buddha published the post We Must Balance Our Lives to Feel Peace and Contentment.