Commitment #6: BALANCE
Even when I am drawn to overstretching myself (including towards any of these commitments), I want to remain attentive to the limits of my capacity at any given moment. If I find myself pushing myself, I want to seek support to honor the natural wisdom of my organism and to trust that remaining within my current limits will support me in increasing my capacity over time.
Finding balance in life is particularly demanding in large urban centers, where we have more stimulation than anyone’s ability to navigate life mindfully can process. In my own life, more exercise creates more stress about getting to everything that arrives at my inbox. Limiting my intake of new email some people are unhappy. Attending to those relationships, writing slips away. Focusing more on writing leaves me up longer hours, making it harder to get up early enough to exercise.
With the commitments themselves, how do I choose between possibly conflicting paths? For example, if someone is expressing unhappiness about my actions, how would I choose between “Availability for Feedback,” so I could receive the gift, no matter how it’s presented; “Empathic Presence,” so as to open my heart to the person’s experience, independently of this being about me at all; or “Authenticity and Vulnerability,” to have the courage to express my vulnerability around hearing this message?
One day, while agonizing about the balance between attending to my plans for the day and being available to life as it unfolds, I miraculously fell into knowing that in each moment I could only do one or the other. In the next moment, I could switch. Truly staying with the endlessness of the present moment, letting go of a permanent solution, would lead to a situation where there would be no conflict.
Still, we can’t do it all. We are finite creatures. The imperative of infinite growth creates internal confusion and global destruction. Balance requires the almost subversive act of honoring our limits, along with trusting in sufficiency and bringing mindfulness to achieve true choice.
Balance is forever dynamic, like a hand stand. Lean for too long into one hand and you will fall. You start noticing the subtleties and shift your weight from one to the other, and you can stay upright even in a precarious environment.
1) Stop whatever you are doing, several times a day, and review all that pulls on your attention, anything from habit to a sudden clarity of vision. Take a few breaths. Now choose, freshly, what to give your attention to next, and why. 2) As often as makes sense for you, review some challenging situation and aim for balance in your choice of which commitment to apply. Balance, in this context, can come from aiming in a different direction from your usual. If, for example, you easily rise to the challenges of “Responsibility,” you might choose “Accepting What Is,” allowing things not to happen rather than doing them because no one else will.
About the author:
Miki Kashtan is a co-founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication (BayNVC). She is inspired by the role of visionary leadership in shaping a livable future, and works toward that vision by sharing the principles and practices of Nonviolent Communication through mediation, meeting facilitation, consulting, and training for organizations and for committed individuals. Miki blogs at the Fearless Heart. Her articles have appeared in Tikkun magazine (e.g.Wanting Fully Without Attachment), Waging Nonviolence (e.g. Pushing the powerful into a moral corner at India’s Barefoot College), Shareable, and elsewhere.
New to this blog? Read Miki’s Introduction to this series ‘All -in: fully committing to a life of nonviolence’