I had a whole newsletter prepared. It was full of research and data. I threw it out.
Well, not literally out the window. I mean, I make it a point not to throw things. I also make it a point not to discard good ideas. Just store them for another time, you know?
I took the idea off the table because I had a conversation with a client that really got me thinking- and I thought it might be helpful for you too.
So many of my clients talk to me about their desire for balance, and...I love it! I love balance too!
The problem is that many of us, myself included, desire “balance” in a way that doesn't truly match its definition. In fact, I think that a better word for what we need might be equilibrium. Stay with me on this...
What is most compelling about achieving balance or equilibrium is the promise of ease. To further complicate matters, sometimes we confuse ease with rest. Both are super important but there is a very important distinction. Ease comes from a balance of good positive tension. Rest comes from the letting go of all tension.
I’m embarrassed to report that I routinely get these two confused. In other words, while I'm looking for ease, I try rest, thinking that if I stay still long enough, maybe things will balance out or I will achieve the ease I’m looking for by not doing anything at all. I can confidently report back that this has never worked. It’s mind boggling to me that I try this with regularity. I hope you don’t think less of me.
I also try to rest by striving for balance. Spoiler alert: this also has never worked. Sigh. This is when clarity comes in handy.
I realize, theoretically at least, that if I’m to achieve equilibrium or balance in any area of my life, I’m going to need to flank it with good positive tension on both sides.
Let me give you an example that I think might resonate. My client and I were talking about ease around food. Goodness gracious, don’t we all want that?
My suggestion to her was to think about this, not from a stagnant perspective of waiting for it to just happen, but instead to figure out how much good positive tension needs to be gently pressed into both sides to continually achieve it.
On one side is the tension that inspires discipline and motivation to take care of yourself well. This good positive tension will always move you to act in your own best interests since you will always be your most loving and dedicated advocate.
On the other side is the grace of knowing that nothing can be done perfectly. It’s the deep knowing that perfect is the enemy of good and that as soon as the tension from the other side gets too great, we will invariably weaponize our best intentions against our vulnerable selves and that will always lead to our detriment.
Maintaining equal tension on both sides around all of the areas in our life in which we desire ease is really the only way to achieve it. Coming to terms with the idea of good positive tension is life-changing and can transform the way we approach the hard stuff on our proverbial plates.
The definition of equilibrium is exactly this: "a state in which opposing forces are balanced".
You might have heard me talking about this in class in physical terms. I've always said that the best way to progress while avoiding injury is to carefully balance the variables of control and power. I learned this best (up close and personal) while training half-pipe snowboarders. The ease they exude when they fly through the air, successfully achieving death defying runs, has a lot to do with their ability to balance these two variables.
On one side power: explosive and strong. On the other control: deliberate and steady. In the middle: the art of flight. It's magical.
Consider leaning into this idea of good positive tension. Make friends with "GPT". Invite her over for a glass of a bold red, and tell her that she's welcome but that you’ll need her to play on both sides. She may push back a bit, request a crisp white or something, but that’s why we love her.