The earth is composed of four elements, earth, wind, fire and water. There are four corners of the earth, east, west, north and south. The four stages of life. We experience the four seasons, spring, summer, fall and winter. Don Miguel Ruiz writes of The Four Agreements, “be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions and always do your best.” Fours symbolizes stability, a life of balance, harmony and agreement with your soul. The scales have been a symbol since ancient times to denote balance in our daily lives, our dealings with others and our justice system. We seek to balance truth and fairness. This is what we strive for and know instinctively when the scales tip in one direction or the other. We sense when we are out of balance, our lives and our earth.
There is no doubt that ourselves and our lives can and do become unbalanced. We do not need a blog to remind us how unbalanced our world has become. I think we need to begin at the beginning, ourselves. The balance between head, heart and soul. The balance between thinking, feeling and action. Depending on your age, life balance can mean different things. In your twenties it may look like time divided between education, friends, work and play. In your thirties balance may take the form of work, family, friends, home and not so much play. In your forties, work, more work to pay for all the expenses, perhaps teenagers and their needs, aging family members, a lot of responsibilities and little time for play. In your fifties balance may take the shape of work and retirement planning, launching loved ones from the nest, caring for aging family, once a year vacations to places warm and sunny. In your sixties, seventies and eighties, if you remain healthy, balancing retirement and living may become your priority. In all our living years we attempt to balance our lives, the lives of our dependants and those we feel responsible for. But, how much effort and thought do we give to balance within ourselves, our own needs, our passions and desires?
Balance begins with us each and every day. Much like holding the tree pose in Yoga. Hard to imagine with all the other responsibilities that pull at us, our thoughts, feelings of guilt and heart. If we are not feeling balanced I can assure you that balance is not being achieved in all other areas of our life. Balance begins with you. How you take care of and nurture yourself amid the chaos of life. Balanced relationships based on equal give and take. Eating a balanced diet, carving out a slice of time in your day to breathe and reflect, an uninterrupted bath, a few pages read in a book, exercise. Sleep, love and laughter. Conversations with friends who lift you up and inspire. A walk in nature. Creating. Prayer. Letting go of harsh and unrealistic expectations to be perfect. To just be.
If you lead a balanced life then I congratulate you for taking care of you. It is indeed a difficult feat. If not, then the first step is to sit down and map out your days and determine where your energy is being spent and where it is being depleted. Look at your life over the course of a week. Determine where you can etch out time for yourself. You may need to negotiate with your partner, family or even your workplace. An unbalanced life will undoubtedly lead to stress and over time, illness. Balance is achievable perhaps not everyday but, most days if we try. Balance begins with you. It sometimes begins with the word, No, not right now or I need some me time. In Spring we all desire a sense of renewal. In Summer, the energy of the sun. In fall, the harvest of our lives. In Winter, rest. The seasons are also depicted in our days. Awakening is renewal. The day, our sunshine. Evening is the fall, the culmination of our day. And winter, sleep. Attempt to live life to the beat of four. Breathe in to a count of four. Breathe out to the same beat. Balance, breath and life and you. Make it so. Balance is a necessity of life.