If I’m truly being honest, I’ve struggled in finding a state of balance in my life since the school year started. Finding the balance between teaching at the middle school, teaching yoga, and writing, while also maintaining my personal health and cultivating meaningful relationships with others, has often felt like I’ve been trying to find a unicorn that is rainbow in color and has a mane fine as silk. My own personal search for this highly sought out beaut of a unicorn, known as balance, has felt impossible and has often left me feeling defeated.
In my search for balance, I’ve often fell victim to the influence of comparison. Not only have I found myself comparing my ability to juggle my responsibilities and desires to others that seem to have more on their plate than I, I’ve been comparing my current productivity to what I was able to manage last spring and early summer before last year’s school year commenced. During that time, I was writing more frequently, posting up to 4-5 times a week on my blog, teaching more weekly yoga classes than I am now, and completing a 300-hour advanced yoga teacher training, while still managing the demands of being a full-time middle school teacher.
Fortunately, the school year came to a close, as they all do, which provided me with the gift of time to breathe, to slow down and reflect on this so called state of balance I thought I had achieved. And what I quickly realized was that I hadn’t found the desirable unicorn of balance- I had simply found myself on the road to inevitable burn out. I also began to recognize the harsh reality that I had reached a level of mediocrity- simply being okay at everything I did, rather than feeling great at all the things I was juggling.
During that time, I was an okay middle school teacher. For the most part the posts I wrote I liked, but I didn’t always love. Some had even reached the state of being ‘good enough’ because it was 11 pm on a school night and I had the need to hit the publish button. I slept far less than I should have, and skipped way too many workouts because I was just too damn tired. My nightly interactions with my partner often exuded irritability and frustration because his video game/football game/TV show were too damn loud, and couldn’t he see that I was trying to write/fix something on my website/plan a yoga class/ grade papers/lesson plan? I was spinning my wheels to accomplish what? A state of mediocrity?
The summer provided me the space to recognize that I want more- I crave more. I don’t want to just be okay at what I do, I want all that I do to be great! I want to give the world pieces of my heart, putting my love and passion into everything I do.
In order to achieve this I’ve required myself to take a step back- clearly seeing what is most important to me. This quest to find balance has helped me take a more compassionate, loving approach. That has meant I post less to my blog and I teach fewer weekly yoga classes in order to ensure that I can put all of myself into everything that I love. It hasn’t been easy- in fact, watching my blog readership and website visits plummet over these past few months has been downright discouraging- but this is the place of balance that currently works for me and the life I strive to lead.
And that is all that I think this elusive unicorn of balance truly is- finding what works for you. It likely will never be perfect, but as long as you keep showing up for yourself and those that you love, while setting your life on fire with passion- you’re doing a damn good job.