Life Requires Balance
Recently, a client of mine I’ll call Deborah phoned in distress because of a situation she found herself in. The first part of her call was great news – she’d gotten a promotion at work that she’d been looking forward to for months. She put in several years at her company and had been waiting to be recognized by management. I knew what this meant to her from our prior readings and I was very excited by her news.
The problem was, her new title meant that she would be working longer hours and have more responsibility, occasionally needing to bring work home to meet deadlines. Her concern was that accepting the promotion meant that she would have less time to spend with her family. Her youngest child was still in junior high school, and she feared that by focusing more on her career, she would be depriving her family of much needed time and attention. I knew she was pleased about her new job, but I could hear the concern in her voice.
The Heart of the Matter
The more we discussed her situation, the more I was able to understand her frustration. We did a reading together and I asked my guides for clarity. I was able to see from the Queen of Wands that she was very capable of managing both work and home, but that didn’t change the fact that she felt overwhelmed in life. Her spread revealed that while she felt guilty that work would take her away from her family, she was also aware – thanks to the Five of Pentacles – that they needed the money, and that her promotion would provide opportunities for her children, including a long-anticipated family vacation. She’d felt stuck in her career for years and, despite the greater responsibility, she knew the new opportunity would be fun for her, introducing her to new people and even some travel. I could see from Two of Swords that she was deeply conflicted, excited about her life change, and unsure about the future.
The Four of Wands, an essential card about structure and boundaries, appeared as her “destination” card, followed by the Six of Wands, which was success and mastery. She was relieved to hear that everything was going to be fine – she would be able to show up for the new position and still be present for her family. She was reassured by the reading, but the next question was – how?
Finding Balance in our Lives
Most of us have very busy lives, and sometimes we feel overextended and unsure of how we are going to maintain our responsibilities. I tell my clients that while we have many different things we are involved with, like the spokes on a wheel, they all come together in the same place. In other words, our balance begins when we realize that no matter where we are or what we are doing, we are approaching every situation with an intention to fully be ourselves and to come from loving expression in all areas.
Deborah loves her family and she loves her career. It would be unfair to have to choose one over the other because both fulfilled her life in different ways. I explained to her that there were practical solutions to some of her concerns, but at the core, she needed to feel that she wasn’t in a tug of war with the two parts of her life. When she reflected on it, she realized that what she wanted was to be a loving mother and a great manager.
Help is There if You Need it
Finding the balance in any area of our life requires us to have a structure that supports us; sometimes it means involving others who help us maintain that structure. Deborah realized that she got the idea that she was supposed to do everything herself while growing up, which meant she was often scared to ask for help. She realized that some of her tension would be lifted if she allowed the people who had offered help to support her. When she considered this, she realized there were quite of few people who asked to help her, and she just had to say yes
We talked about the importance of maintaining her health – sleep, good diet, and all the things that would give her balance in her life. But the key to balancing work and home, is staying present. She could have all the help and time she needed, but if she felt guilty all the time, she couldn’t participate in her own life.
Being present meant that when she came home, she was committed to listening to her children talk about their days, (while insisting on no cell phones at the dinner table), and hearing what was happening in their lives. She understood that a special hour designated to really concentrating on her children was worth more than an evening half-listening, and only being half engaged. The same was true at work. She concentrated on focusing more and being present while sitting in important meetings. Without presence, she found herself distracted and worrying about what was happening at home. Focusing on being present, helped her to integrate the different parts of her life She realized that meditation and exercise a few times a week, even if it was only for twenty minutes, was also critical to starting her day right.
Finding balance between work and home often takes skill; I would never suggest that it is easy. But when we are at work expressing our vision, and when we are engaging at home, also with the purpose, it gets a lot easier. Deborah realized that in her case, she actually did have a little less time at home, but she loved that she was providing an example to her children, and specifically her daughters, of what it means to go for what you want in the world. This was very important to her.
Finding balance takes practice and commitment, and we have to keep trying. But I find that when we feel a sense of balance within ourselves, the rest often takes care of itself.
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