“Sanity comes from a sense of being synchronized within ourselves.”
I came across this sentence and felt like it really captured everything that I have come to believe about finding balance in life. I think everyone has had the experience of being out of sync with ourselves. Sometimes it is as simple as agreeing to lunch with someone when you don’t really want to, or endorsing an idea you have misgivings about. Other times it is more complicated: it can be time to change jobs, or end a relationship but inertia keeps you stuck in place.
There are millions of suggestions and avenues for creating synchronicity between our internal and external lives. For me it is a combination of yoga, meditation, and running that provide the space to make sure I am not moving too far from the center. For someone else, it may be swimming, walking their dog or writing. We all need something, some sort of barometer of our own wellness. Without a quiet center built into our lives we can find ourselves distracted by every shiny object or tragedy that life has to offer.
When I look at my daughter I am so aware that so many of her issues arise from the fact that it is almost impossible for her to be in sync with the world around her. This morning she woke up and came running out to the kitchen table where I was sitting quietly, lights dimmed, listening to classical music and having coffee, she let out a growl of delight at the sight of me and jumped up on the bench where I was sitting and started clapping and laughing….it was 6 am. Mae is clinically not aware of the cues around her; being quiet in a library, joyous on her birthday, or patient in a long line, are all possible only if she is in the mood. What the world wants, is not her concern, but for her that’s normal. It also doesn’t bother her especially if she has bounded into my quiet morning like a freight train. She doesn’t do guilt. She is autistic.
For most of us though, we are aware when we are out of sync with ourselves or our world but not always sure how to fix it. We can acknowledge it; we can say “I am working too much” or “I am working too little,” or “I am tired, sad or depressed.” Being aware of it is an important step. The next step is to define what feeling in sync is for yourself. We must be clear on what we think balance is, before we can head in that direction. No matter what avenue you take this requires honest, and loving self reflection. I say honest because sometimes we get confused by what we think sanity looks like, and what it really looks like for each of us. That serene woman in front of me in a yoga class may be sane, but I can’t be her, so I have to think about what serenity would look like in my life not my fantasy version of hers.
I am always interested in how to make things a practice, so I made a list of the areas in my life where I feel out of sync. Some are big; am I professionally fulfilled and does it matter? And some are small: it bothers me that there is a cord hanging out of the family room ceiling. Obviously, one of these things has an easy answer and the other doesn’t. The point is not to have all the answers. It is more to identify the questions, and then create some sort of framework to bring things back into alignment with each other. The first part of the practice is creating the questions and the second part is moving to address them in practical ways. Just engaging in the thinking process about balance seems to make me more balanced. Almost always it is the effort not the outcome that has value.