Here we are on a long weekend in Victoria BC, which is currently boasting the world’s best weather, and I want to finish a lot of writing commitments in the next couple of days. In fact, I’ve been working at least a part of every day for what seems like weeks. My dearly beloved, who has been watching me build my business and take on additional projects as well for all of 2009, is beginning to question my “balance” (which is like the pot calling the kettle black if you watch how he works 50-hour weeks and then attacks the basement renovations as if a new cold war is approaching).
Yes, I am parked behind this computer for many hours every day. Yes, the yard is untouched, except that we have trimmed the lawn to a uniform height and are putting up with the growing patches of brown. Yes, my “holidays” have been put on hold, and when I go away with the kids I bring a computer and an internet stick. Should I take a look at finding some balance in my life?
Let me pass along an analogy I’ve found incredibly helpful in times like this. Many lifestyle coaches advise us to achieve balance in our life. So we feel we need to carefully plan each day with the right amount of work, rest, “quality time” and so on. It’s fine advice if you have a routine that you have set – great for maintaining a pattern that is already clicking along.
But what about when you are giving birth to something new? As a mother of three, let me tell you that during labour there is no question of taking a break and finding balance. You are in it for the long haul and until that baby comes out, you’re not doing anything else. People who are adept at starting new ventures know that giving birth to a new idea is much the same. At times like this, the best you can hope for is harmony.
By thinking of harmony instead of balance, you give yourself permission to let different “instruments” take centre stage in your life for a time, and it’s ok if sometimes the effect of the moment is a high-volume guitar solo, or an aria. That solo will last a moment or two, then it ends and something else becomes the focus of the music. Harmony expects rests along with the melody, and crescendos as well as quiet. A piece of music that is “balanced” throughout risks blandness. Achieving harmony in your life requires you to look at the bigger patterns, and plan beyond the day-to-day. Harmony sometimes demands all-out performance, then a period of recovery. And it seems to me that harmony will create a more dynamic result than carefully-maintained balance.
So the next time a well-meaning friend tells you that you need more balance in your life – ask them to look at the bigger picture. Maybe you are creating something bigger, and more harmonious, than they can see from close up.