We can easily fall into the language of talking about work-life balance. Perhaps rhythm is what we’re really looking for.
Balance – weights on scales, a moment of equilibrium, a trapeze artist tentatively edging forward on a high wire, ten minutes into a game of Jenga, columns of figures.
Rhythm – movement through seasons, poise and dance, music, tidal ebb and flow, flow of talents and passions.
Rhythms may contain moments of stillness, balance may always struggle with the wriggles of rhythm.
In his exploring of belonging, John O’Donohue suggests belonging is not about owning something – this belongs to me – rather, it’s about belonging with. He suggests this is something we have lost: I’m trying to get my life back. When we try to balance our lives, we’re really trying to recover our rhythm with life, including with ourselves, with others, with the world, and, if you have a god, then with your god:
‘When we are in rhythm with our own nature, things flow and balance naturally.’*
One place to begin, is to carefully listen to what your life is saying to you; try writing out: your values, the things you notice most of all in the world, your talents, times when you’ve felt yourself energised, times when you have felt yourself severely de-energised, which experiences of your life have been most directing for you, how do you relate to others, how do you relate to quietness, do you have to talk things out or carry on a conversation in your head. You’ll find a lot of clues in these telling you about your future possibilities and how to live them in rhythm.
‘Connect to the future that stays in need of you – crystallise your vision and intent.’**