It is inevitable in the life-coaching sphere to encounter the topic of life-balance. Life-balance is often defined as the attempt to create a life where you are not solely focused on one thing—typically work—to the exclusion of everything else. I fully adhere to the idea that all work and no play makes Jack or Jill a dull person indeed. So when it comes to work-life balance, I am all for it. And I also love exploring all aspects of life to ensure that you are living full out and taking advantage of this one precious life (thanks Mary Oliver). Areas such as health, finances, work, play, friends, family, romance, spirituality, learning, and whatever else is important to you are all fair game. When you reflect on what is meaningful for you and then jigger the balance on one or more areas if they are getting shortchanged, your life will feel more full.
However, there can be a blind spot in the life-balance approach if you believe that you will ever have perfect synchronicity among all facets of your life. Life is inevitably uneven. There will be times when your health is out of whack, or your relationships are struggling, or you feel stagnant at work. I find that periodically touching base on your life balance equation is a great way to remain conscious about what is going on in the full complexity of your life.
Having mindfulness means that you will discover that there is a lot of unevenness in life. And just recognizing that may be all you need to do. Although you certainly can decide that you want to tackle an area of your life that is way out of balance, recognizing that everything will never be perfectly balanced can be reassuring. And the reality is that perfect is unattainable. Of perhaps a better way to put it is that imperfection, unevenness, unbalanced is—in a way—perfect. Life is uneven and learning to find a way that is good enough is a path to less struggle and discomfort.
I love the mindfulness notion that we will all inevitably encounter pain in life. The goal, for lack of a better word, is to attempt to not pile suffering on top of that pain. For instance, there will be times when you are under the weather so your life balance in health gets thrown off. If you acknowledge that you are sick rather than blaming yourself for doing something you believe made you ill, you will suffer less. Trying to just be with the physical discomfort without thinking tons of negative thoughts goes a long way to smoothing out the unevenness of our experience. So in a way, life-balance can also be about your reactivity to life. When you practice acknowledging the ups and downs and watch them from a bit of a distance rather than getting on the roller-coaster ride, you will feel calmer. With greater awareness and less volatile reactions to the unevenness of life, your days will be richer.