Embrace imbalance

We’re obsessed with finding balance. Work-life balance. Eat a balanced diet. Do this exercise to reach mental and physical balance. It’s so elusive; yet so desirable. Supposedly, when you have balance, everything will fit into place. Your kids and spouse won’t annoy you. You’ll be healthy, fit and wealthy. Life will be easier. You’ll be complete. The pursuit of balance seems to have a new theory, conference session or Cosmo article each month, and people are getting rich writing self-help books about it.

Photo credit: Flickr creative commons, Nationaal Archief
Photo credit: Flickr creative commons, Nationaal Archive

While it sounds good, I’ve discovered I’m not a fan of balance. Disruption, change, uncertainty, and risk all lead to possibility. When things are balanced, which happens only very occasionally in my busy family life, things are just satisfactory. There’s nothing to pique curiosity. Life is comfortable. Complacent. Ignorant. Sluggish. Lazy. And before long, things start to slide. For me, balance seems to only come about from making compromises and that’s when my standards go down. I achieve balance when I ignore things, or put them on the backburner, or pretend I didn’t see it.

In this world there is plenty we need to feel compelled to change. Whether it’s the homeless guy on the street corner that I see each day, or if it’s something global like climate change. There are myriad things destroying our humanity and compassion for each other, and our connection with the earth. I don’t think anyone who says they feel ‘balanced’ while this is still happening, has their eyes open.

Perhaps instead of seeking balance, it’s better to embrace imbalance? Truly allow ourselves to be swept up in the disharmony of our society. Only then will we really see the problems in the world or in the home or in our heart to such an extent we might do something about them. I don’t think we’ll find solutions straight away because that would be a Coke ad. I just mean working on them. Committing to stand up for (advocacy) or against (activism) something.

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I want to hold on to passion.

When we are so ferociously chasing balance, we will do anything to turn away from the things that disrupt that pursuit. Yet, as I’m regularly reminded, disruption is the only thing that has ever changed the world. What’s the point if I give up caring about our world because speaking up and going against the grain doesn’t fit with the comfortable, balanced lifestyle that seems so appealing?

May I never be so jaded, so tired, so lifeless.


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