Balance. People talk a LOT about balance and how to achieve it. For some it is about delegating tasks instead of doing it all yourself. For others, it is about planning extensive holidays from their busy professional lives. For others still, it is about spending more quality time with friends and family.
Not a lot of folks talk about what one has to give up in order to achieve balance. Every change one makes in life requires not just that we do things in a different way, but also often that we stop doing some things. For example, I am one who needs to stop going overtime with clients. I have gotten better at that boundary, but I do need to work on it even more. It is especially difficult when I really enjoy their presence. So I will be working on that. Any soccer parent or hockey parent knows how hectic their lives become when a child enters those sports. Is it worth it? One has to decide that. Sometimes balancing what we think will make our kids happy with what would actually make us happy is a challenge. One can only make whatever decisions one must. And if one chooses a hectic thing for the kids, then one must find a peaceful thing for self as well.
I have also learned that balance involves allowing others the liberty of conducting their own lives without any input from myself. That is difficult when those folks are family. But everyone needs to have their learning and healing journey and I am not going to allow myself to get in the way of that. People with control issues often struggle most with that one. Often love is also saddled with control. If mama, for example, doesn’t think that adult Johnny should be doing something, then adult Johnny may need to declare some hefty boundaries with her. And she will need to learn to back off.
Now for a real clincher! Balance is also about accepting your shadow side. The side of the consciousness that nobody likes to admit that they have! When we live in a world that is full of criticism and condemnation, it is hard to allow our shadow self to be seen and acknowledged. In a world where sincerity has lost its meaning, it is refreshing when we can just be ourselves around other people. People are often so afraid of the criticism and condemnation that they won’t even acknowledge to themselves that they have a shadow side, let alone acknowledge it to anyone else. I like to be the safe person for them to discover it, express it, and celebrate it, because I like when I find a friend who is able to give me that safe space as well.
Part of my shadow self has to do with my somewhat dark sense of humor. I make jokes about disposing of the bodies of my enemies…or of your enemies….because I am THAT GOOD OF A FRIEND. I make jokes about having a baseball bat in the trunk of my car for those road rage moments, because if anyone in a court of law is going to be throwing around words like “premeditated,” I want them to be accurate. That is why I don’t keep it in the back seat, where it is more easily and spontaneously available. I give myself the opportunity to actually think about what I am about to do.
But balancing the shadow within is not just about allowing it to be expressed and celebrated. After all, if that was the case we could end up in a lot of chaos. It is also about having some form of self-control. Have some fun with it, but do not allow it to take over your life. The same can be said of the Light self. After all, there are a LOT of self-righteous folks out there who consider themselves to be “Light workers” who actually are quite skilled at pointing fingers at everyone else around them in the name of whatever they are fanatical about. This is what has led to the slaughter of many thousands if not millions of people over the last few thousand years. Need I refer to the Witch Hunts? Or to the Holocaust? Or any other religious purging of anyone they considered to be “other” than themselves? We all know it has happened and in some parts of the world it is beginning to happen again. Make sure you don’t have an unwanted pregnancy down in the United States. And after that it won’t be long until they are institutionalizing anyone who is in any way an LGBTQA2+ person. Conversion camps will once again be flourishing, as will the torture chambers that come with them, because the Light has become corrupted by HATE.
Anything that is not considered by them to be of the Light, is considered to be evil. That is where it becomes essential to declare very strong boundaries with people. Boundaries are a healthy and ultimately important aspect of maintaining balance. It does not have to be just with people who are fanatics. Sometimes it is also about boundaries with those we love. So if someone you love is, for example, insisting that you call or text them at a certain time and it is not convenient for you, then you have every right to say “No.”
When I was in my early 20’s my mother would expect me to call her every Sunday morning by 10:00. I enjoyed talking to her, but the expectation of when and sometimes for how long was tedious. One Sunday at about noon my phone rang. Remember that this was before cell phones! So I answered the phone.
Mom: High there! You didn’t call.
Me: Why would I call?
Mom: Because you always call by 10:00.
Me: Actually, you expect me to call by then. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.
Mom: I was worried that something happened to you. What were you doing?
Me: If you must know, I was having sex.
Total silence. Change of subject.
After that conversation, the expectation was held at bay. I am sure that she would have preferred that I call at that time because it was convenient for her, but it was not always convenient for me. So I would call whenever. That simple act of making things uncomfortable for her in the middle of her demand was exactly what was needed for me to declare a boundary without having to lecture her on how ridiculous the expectation was.
The expectations of others when laid upon our shoulders becomes burdensome and can, over time, mess with our mental health. The longer that goes on, to easier it then gets for it to also mess with our physical health. Consider, if you will, what some of the expectations of others are that are directed at yourself. Then lose those. Consider as well what your own expectations are of others. Then lose those. Make sure that you are treating others as you would prefer to be treated. There is far too much inequity in our world when it comes to relationships and gender roles. People seem to forget that any relationship takes 50/50 in order to work. That includes things like income, household chores and everything in between. That 50/50 is sometimes needing to be adjusted to 60/40 depending upon circumstances. So if your spouse earns much more than you do, why would you be expected to cover 50% of the expenses? Fair is not always equal and equal is not always fair. But if both are at least making a 50/50 effort to make things work, that is more the key.
Balance. It can be achieved. It might not be easy, but it is at least possible. Put the work in, and reap the benefits!