Thursday, 24 January 2013

Harmonious Balancing Act

My balance is pretty good. That is, I don't fall off precarious footings often unless I'm in red four inch spiked heels. (That's a story for another day.)

I hear frequently the goal in life is to find balance; balance of food and drink, balance of work and play, balance of emotions, balance of... whatever. I hear and read it in quite a lot of religious and spiritual teachings, particularly from Eastern philosophies. 

There came a time in my life when I understood (for me) a balanced life might not be all that it’s advertised to be. There's always a well-meaning member of sprawling humanity coming along who nudges me far too close to the edge for my liking. I don't mind the edge once in a while but it is not a great place to live consistently... unless I acquire a death wish.

The easiest way to attain a balanced life is to sit on a mountain top with your legs crossed for twenty or thirty years wearing a loin cloth and singing the praises of “Ohm”. It's also not my idea of true happiness. That brings up the issue of connection, which, though tied in, is a whole other mangled ball of string. The idea of sitting on a mountain top only becomes appealing when things are so messed up down in the fertile, green Valley of Bliss I feel like hibernating. Otherwise, the mountain-top is just a lonely, unconnected, unbalanced existence.

It's easy to “feel” balanced when there isn't anyone around to push my buttons.

The Universe has a funny way of messing up my equilibrium. Every time I think I have it right, some person or event, which I likely have no control over, comes along and starts scribbling with a stick in my sandbox. Balance isn't something that is sustainable and believing you can achieve balance and hold it consistently will drive you insane. Holding balance is like holding water by squeezing your fist.

You’ll occasionally find balance and someone or something will come along and throw it off. It’s a part of connecting with other humans and things and places.

So, what am I really looking for? In a word, harmony.

Harmony is the acceptance that life will be out of balance from time to time. Being out of balance once in a while is just the way it is. There is always someone who will somehow do something that will screw up something of mine; whether intentionally or not. I can't control anything outside of me, so why try? Why worry about exterior events and people when I haven't any power or inclination to regulate them?

When I think of being harmonious, it isn't standing in the Garden of Eden while birds chirp, butterflies flit from flower to flower around me and Julie Andrews repeatedly sings a nauseating, barf-inducing melody that pierces holes in my eardrums. It's more like the credo, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the strength to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Being in harmony is having the wisdom to know the difference.

I think true joy in life comes from being harmonious. It's impossible to be in a state of continuous joy when I try to keep things balanced because it's just not the way the world works. If my joy is riding on the idea that I have to remain balanced, I'm going to be disappointed a lot. There will always be some lion chasing me along a gravelly path trying to chew on my butt. There will always be a gremlin throwing a spanner into the works. There will always be some well meaning do gooder trying to fix me (even though I'm not broken) and make me into some version of what they think is whole.

The simple truth for me is I need to find acceptance of what is. All the events and people that wander in and out of my life affecting me in some way have little bearing on my mental state. I simply have to accept they are who they are or that the event is just an event. That can only be achieved by continuing to strive for harmony.

None of this means I am not bothered by an event or don't become upset at what some people do. What it does mean is I get over it quickly. Even though I may still be out of balance, there is a harmony in the Universe delivering what I need to know to move on and learn the next thing.

Oh... and in case you're wondering how harmony works in primary relationships... sometimes being out of balance in love (in whichever form you choose to manifest it) is being in perfect harmony with the Universe. Just saying.

It's exhausting trying to remain on life's balance beam when so many events are trying to kick me off. I would rather accept that I’ll fall off once in a while and get back on when I’m ready.