Do you ever have moments where you’re living life in fast forward and then suddenly in slow motion?
Rushing to get out the door, while little hands are taking forever to put shoes on tiny feet.
Trying to finish that big work project before the deadline, while waiting on your colleague’s contribution.
Going through the daily “bedtime hustle” (dinner, bath, teeth, jammies, stories, more stories, you know the drill…), only to stand there an hour later in the dark bedroom watching them sleep peacefully.
We tend to exist between these extremes, especially as busy parents who also are juggling other demands! We crave moments of peace and rest, knowing all too well that the busyness will start all over again…
As a Life Coach and Leadership Educator, clients often come to me desiring better “work/life balance.” Yet have you ever stopped to really notice what being “in balance” actually looks like?
Imagine a see saw that is temporarily parallel to the ground, frozen in time for that exact moment. If you take a mental snapshot of this scene, both children are balanced perfectly, suspended midair for a split second before before dipping back down into motion.
Like this see saw, finding true balance requires temporary stillness where nothing is moving. When we’re “in balance,” everything stays put until one thing shifts, throwing us off balance again. And since we’re rarely completely still, seeking this elusive goal of “balance” isn’t realistic for most of us in our busy and full lives.
Rather than chasing balance, we need a life dynamic that works for us in each season and includes moments of stillness and rest. Finding this desired life dynamic implies a certain rhythm that directs our everyday actions and creates a sense of flow. As we focus on the core value of balance this month, I invite you to consider the current rhythm of your life.
Living In Fast Forward
Take a moment to consider the typical pace and dynamic of your life and how you’re maintaining a healthy rhythm and flow.
Do you constantly feel like you are rushing from thing to thing, just trying to get “enough” done?
Or maybe each task just blurs into the next, making you feel like your list is never-ending, leaving you with a sense of empty defeat and exhaustion.
Living in fast-forward keeps us so busy that we don’t have time to consider what we want or even question how we’re living. So instead, we just continue at such a break-neck pace just to keep up with everything.
This is not sustainable or healthy, but somehow it’s become acceptable and normal.
Stuck In Slow Motion
Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum. When we are living in slow motion, everything seems to move like the last drops of honey in the jar – so slow it’s almost painful! This can either be a place of deep introspection and growth or one that feels stifling.
When we choose to slow down enough to listen and turn inward, we begin to notice what we really need. We retire old patterns of belief. We move forward. But when this slow tempo is something that feels externally imposed by circumstance or expectations, it’s a different story altogether.
Here, nothing is moving fast enough and we begin to feel held back by our environment or relationships. It’s like an emotional quicksand that slowly sucks us down further and prevents us from making any real progress.
Take a moment to consider how you’re living and leading in this season of your life. Use the following reflection questions to determine what’s working and what needs more attention:
How would you describe your current life dynamic?
If this season of life had a soundtrack, what would the tempo be?
What is working well for your now?
What needs to shift or change?
If you were describing your life to a close friend six months from now, what would you want to be sharing?
What is one thing you can do in the next 48 hours to get closer to this reality?
A Better Rhythm
What is the current rhythm of your life? Maybe it feels too fast, too slow, or just right.
Based on your reflection above, consider what you really want and need most now. In his landmark book The Rhythm of Life, Matthew Kelly asks the bold, yet basic, question “what do you want from life?”
In order to begin to answer this question, your life rhythm has to be balanced enough to listen, reflect, and respond.
This month, take the time to find a life dynamic that allows you to live with the passion and purpose you desire most.
Ditch the things that aren’t working. Embrace the ones that are. Find a better rhythm and keep up your tempo!
Be the Revolution,