Striving for Balanced Living

Striving for Balanced Living
August 31, 2015 Paul Woodruff

This September we return once again to our empowerMEnt series led by Shalia Ford, Community Volunteer. See our Classes & Events page information on dates and times for classes. The series focuses on personal development topics to help people leave behind destructive patterns and to replace them with more empowering actions and beliefs using tools to build self-awareness, set positive goals and start down a path to achieve them. One related topic is practicing balanced living. See our Classes & Events page information on dates and times for classes.

My biggest lesson learned in the area of balance has been gained through my experience of motherhood and my efforts to provide the best environment for raising my two daughters. Having read lots of child development resources for work, long before actually becoming a mother myself, I was well-aware of the experts’ descriptions of the benefits of providing structure in children’s lives. The best practices and the research describe children’s need for consistency to provide them a sense of security; knowing what to expect next provides comfort. Advice begins very early with getting infants on a predictable schedule and ramps up from there.

The challenge here can be daunting to those with little predictability in their own lives due to changing hours at work or other time demands. And to me personally, instituting a structured schedule seemed restrictive, boring and dare I say even oppressive, for a personality type that thrives on flexibility and spontaneity. It seemed that I was destined to fail this test of motherhood, but luckily I found what felt like an inspiring middle path: developing a natural rhythm. Keeping in mind the regular daily, weekly and annual tasks of life and considering how these coincide with the cycles of nature brings a calming sense of purpose to me.

Establishing a rhythm is all about starting with where you are now and instituting a gentle change, free from judgment of where you should be. It could be setting a bedtime and creating a calming and special, almost sacred, process. (One family I know ends each day with a list of things for which they were thankful that day.) For me, it was creating a framework for meals throughout the week to simplify planning. Instead of planning each meal in detail, creating shopping lists and following through, my family knows that at the beginning of the week we’ll be having a Mexican-inspired dinner, next evening is a rice dish and so on. Additionally, we follow what’s in season for that time of year—heavier soups in the winter and lighter fare in the summer. This path allows us the space for consistently without rigidity, and this is just the first step on my path towards balance through the simplicity of rhythms. And it’s a path that I know I can and will continue long after my daughters are grown. Maybe it can work for your family too.

By: Julie Mauchenheimer