10.23.2014

the mythical art of balance

Balance. It has been studied and written about and sought after. It has been lauded and denounced. How can we achieve it? Can we achieve it? Should we achieve it?

Well, I actually don't have the answer to any of those questions. If anyone has the answers, please send them my way.

Instead, I will remind you of this analogy, of which I am sure you have heard or read at some point or another.

I'm not sure where this simile originated, but I love it!

Life is like a juggling act. We're trying to keep all of our oranges or apples or chainsaws in the air. The more chainsaws we add to our juggling act, the tougher it will be (but also the more impressive and exciting!). In order to restore the balance of the juggling act, we may have to set a chainsaw or two down momentarily. That doesn't mean you're dropping it and failing at juggling altogether. Au contraire, my friend. Setting down a chainsaw is a sign of self-knowledge and maturity. (No one wants to be the guy who thinks he can hang with the juggling professionals only to cut himself in half with a flying chainsaw, amiright?)


I'll give you an example from my life. I've got some great chainsaws to juggle:
my relationship with God, my relationship with my husband, motherhood, family, friendships, health, cooking, a home to clean, being a dog owner, operating a home-based business, coaching, teaching Spanish, my own study of Spanish, using Spanish with Pippa, writing, reading, photography, volunteering, and rest.

Some of these things are really, really important. Vital. Imperative. These things should almost never be set down in favor of less important ones. They are the chainsaws that are the "meat and potatoes" of my juggling act.

Then there are the chainsaws that make my act fun. Maybe they are leopard print chainsaws that play "La Cucaracha" when I juggle them. They add joy, delight, fulfillment, frivolity, and laughter to my act. My act can survive without them, but it's not as exciting.

Sometimes I really need to focus on a specific chainsaw. When it's volleyball season, reading, writing, photography, cleaning, and cooking may have to be set down.

When I'm focusing on my health chainsaw, my Spanish chainsaw may be momentarily set down until I've comfortably incorporated my health chainsaw into the routine.

Sometimes I accidentally or neglectfully set down a chainsaw that should never leave the rotation, like reading the Bible and cultivating a rich prayer life. In fact, the more chainsaws I have in the air, the more I need to focus on these two things.

I forget that a lot.

I used to get stressed when I had a lot to juggle and say things like, "I can't! I'm too busy!"

When I realized that each chainsaw was a choice - that I didn't have to keep them all in my juggling act - I started changing my language. I started saying things like, "I'm choosing to focus on this instead of that right now."

I'm learning that it's ok to set something down for a season. I'm learning to choose my chainsaws wisely, and weed out the ones that are distracting to the rest of my juggling act.

There may be a season of many flashy chainsaws when my act is really exciting and entertaining and exhausting.

There may be a season when I decide to go back to basics and juggle like 3 chainsaws.

And other times, you have to drop ALL THE CHAINSAWS so you can get your hair cut for the first time in a year.

But I digress. Just know that no one is juggling all of their chainsaws at any given time, even if their juggling act looks super organized and perfect. Even if all of their chainsaws are labeled with free printables from Pinterest.

What is your best advice for finding balance in the juggling act of life?

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