While it’s folklore that you can balance an egg on its end only during the Equinox, this magical time of the year is perfect for thinking about balance in our lives.
In the Pacific Northwest, where I live, balance can be seemingly hard to come by. July sees the sun rising at 4:30 and setting close to 10:00 PM. In contrast, winter bathes us in eternal twilight interrupted only by a few paltry hours of misty, overcast daytime.
It’s taken me a few years to learn how to follow these natural season rythms. I’m used to four seasons of equal length, easily measure and distributed. In this corner of the country, it feels like feast or famine.
But the comforting part is that we don’t have to be balanced all the time. Just like nature, we can swing wildly in different directions as long as we come back to center twice a year or so to regroup.
I’ve begun to tailor my activities to the ebb and flow of daylight. I spend the summers outdoors, going on adventures. I save multimedia projects for the winter, when I don’t feel bad about being inside, in front of my computer. In the winter I sleep more, eat more. In the summer I barely do either. This is, in its own way, balance.
Defining Your Own Balance
As creative people, we must define our own concept of balance. Some folks require balance on a daily basis. When I attempt this, I feel cramped, trapped and uninspired. My vibrant purple is whitewashed to a limp and pale taupe. I am energized by extremes. It’s how I work. When I’m inspired, I submerge myself in a project nonstop, barely pausing to eat or sleep, thrust forward on a limitless wave of energy.
Once the wave subsides, it’s time to recuperate, reassess, refuel my body, take care of the details of life that often go out the window when I’m immersed in a creative project.
If I attempted to force “balance” into my daily life, that wave would not be honored. If I always insisted on 8 hours of sleep, three square meals, and returning my library books on time, this website would not exist. Neither would the books I’ve written, the businesses I’ve built, and the code I’ve crafted. You can’t start and stop a wave at will. You have to get on in the beginning and ride it to the end or pass it up altogether.
It’s essential that we understand our own needs for balance and the timelines on which we operate. It’s vital to follow that wave. But it’s equally important to rest on the beach for awhile afterward. A total lack of balance over the long-term is unsustainable.
Prompts for Your Balancing Act
Journaling helps us honor our own concepts of balance. We can look at our entries over time and identify the patterns. We can begin to trust that we can swing in one direction wholeheartedly, without fear we’ll fling ourselves over the edge; we have written proof that we always return. The tricky part is identifying how long that takes.
Get out your journal and think about the topic of balance in your life. What does “balance” mean to you? Are you balanced right now? Do you find balance hard to come by? Is your definition of balance based on your own intuition and inner workings, or a schedule set forth by your family, your boss, your preconceived notions? What would a healthy balance look like in each area of your life? Are you willing to experiment with extremes, or does that scare you? Why or why not?
A point in time where the Earth is righting herself and returning to center encourages us to do the same. Give it a try right now.