A Life in Balance

What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.

WH Davies

There is an old Native American word, koyaanisqatsi which translates as ‘life out of balance’. Obviously, our awareness of the lack of balance in our lives is not just a modern day phenomenon!

Koyaanis”– means “corrupted” or “chaotic”, and “qatsi” means “life” so literally koyaanisqatsi means a “chaotic life”.


Among almost all the teams and individuals I work with, the conversation eventually turns to the lack of work/life balance people are experiencing. We are living in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous), and the weight of imbalance weighs heavily on us.  The American businessman Jack Welch believes that:


There’s no such thing as work-life balance.

There are work-life choices,

and you make them,

and they have consequences.     


Achieving balance in our lives is based on making wise choices. It’s about knowing that we always have options and possibilities, and exercising the right to choose. To be in balance, we must attend to our physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual needs. Achieving a balance in each of these areas directly impacts on our relationships, work life, health and brings peace and harmony into our lives. Of course being in balance may mean different things to each of us.


The challenge is to balance what we must do, with finding time to engage in what brings us pleasure, personal fulfilment, and rejuvenation. We can’t predict or plan for everything in our lives, but we can decide how we will deal with each situation as it arises. We all have the ability to choose our response rather that react on autopilot.


Our body, mind, and soul must be in balance to truly be at peace, to live a life of harmony. John Wooden, an American basketball player and head coach at the University of California, Los Angeles said that


Next to love, balance is the most important thing.


What does a life in balance look and feel like to you? Is it the absence of being on the out of control see-saw, or is there a deeper quality to balance? Thomas Merton the Trappist Monk says that happiness is a matter of balance:


Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.


Living life in balance is the essence of happiness. Living a life of balance is not always easy to achieve, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for it. Each day offers possibilities to begin again, to pause and to consciously choose balance over chaos. Over time, learning to be balance-full becomes an attitude of mind.


Our gas tanks are full, our bank accounts are full, and our closets are full,

but we are running empty?

Kathleen Hall


What practice or attitude will you cultivate today to bring more balance to your life?



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