Friday, April 15, 2011

The Myth of Work Life Balance

I see a lot written about work life balance--what it is, how to find it, and the awful things that will happen if we aren't able to achieve it.

I don't get it.

Now certainly we all want to have equanimity in our lives. A sense of poise, perhaps, that enables us to handle challenges more effectively.

But the part that I don't understand is the idea that we can draw some kind of line between work and home, and that there is a way to find an appropriate amount of work and an appropriate amount of home in that mix.

Every time I think about that it drives me just a bit kooky. Because when I'm at work there are things I do related to home, and when I am at home there are things that I do related to work. A lot of the things that I do--personal reading for example, or writing in this blog--benefit me in both places. And what about when I'm working at home? Or when I'm in the car? What then?

Work and life are one undivided whole and while it's nice to think that we can draw a line between the two, that just hasn't been my experience. Instead, the simple idea of balance--not between two distinct things, but rather as a sense of harmony within the self--resonates much more strongly for me.

Even the idea of balance, though, can quickly become a goal that has success or failure, and feelings of self worth or inadequacy, attached to it. How am I doing? Am I in balance or out? If I'm out, what's wrong with me? If I'm in, how do I hang onto this? It's difficult to feel balance when we're also trying to control it.

Balance, like all things, comes and goes. When we see life is just happening, and accept how much of it is simply outside of our control, we might also see that balance, however defined, emerges on its own, without any effort on our part. And in seeing that, we're more able to enjoy the times that it's here and accept the times that it isn't.

I'd love for you to share your thoughts about balance in life.


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