I love balance… a balanced budget, a balanced diet, and the challenge of practicing poise on my balance board. In our hectic culture, successful women are often asked how they manage to balance it all—work, family, marriage, success… as if they were tight-rope walkers with children dangling off one end of the balancing rod and a career hanging off the other. Precarious, intentional, trained, focused.
Cutting out the worry of imbalance
Ever since I started Sprycel 3 years ago—my targeted therapy for chronic leukemia, I’ve been a little off. I get dizzy and fatigued. My ability to be a productive and patient mommy is compromised without regular rest. My house got messier. My kids got more screen time. My social circles got smaller. But worrying about imbalance is a luxury I can barely afford. On the other hand, determination thrives in more dire conditions.
Enjoying life in the paradoxes
Maybe life is more vibrant and interconnected than each individual striving for balance. In the dizziness of regular life I’m discovering power in weakness, abundance in letting go, peace within a storm, productivity in rest. The things that throw off my serene tree-pose balance overlooking idyllic waters are what make life full–and overwhelmingly scary and delightful. The paradoxes of life are where life is found.
Seeking dynamic equilibrium in a biological system
I often toy with metaphors while lacking true expertise on a topic—like a scientific understanding homeostasis. What I do know, thank you, Britannica, is that homeostasis is a self-regulating process of a biological system needed to maintain stability. Homeostasis requires adapting to the dynamic conditions of life for optimal for survival—a dynamic equilibrium. If homeostasis is successful, life continues.
Embracing the family goo
Somewhere along the way balance became binary. Balancing is a solo activity with me at the center. Homeostasis, on the other hand, is where an entire biological system maintains stability in ever-changing circumstances. Nucleoplasm is the inclusive, organic goo that sustains the central components of a biological system. When I committed to completing my Master’s degree, my whole family invested in this goal and we worked together to find a new dynamic equilibrium. Life felt far from balanced. In the fall, night classes prevented my presence at bedtime and pulled at my heartstrings. Summers, on the other hand, were severely imbalanced with excessive rollerblading and road tripping.
My family is part of my biological goo and I’m a part of theirs.
Recently my husband traveled to Europe to lead a training seminar. The kids and I shifted our dynamics to find a temporary equilibrium that accounted for his absence. We started each day with a nutrient-rich smoothie, but by dinnertime we were eating iterations of chicken and noodles for six days straight, and embracing excessive movie watching. To survive, we opted for virtual church in the living room amidst Lego and laundry piles instead of preening for a timely arrival at a physical location. In Daddy’s absence I needed my kids to help each other in new ways.
Our imbalance provided unique opportunity for uncharted family dynamics.
Living in the fullness of an off-balanced life
Life would have been much more safely balanced…if my husband had turned down the training opportunity; if I didn’t become a non-traditional grad student. Accomplishing goals bigger than us will mess up our predictable lives. Dynamic equilibrium involves dynamic shifts in our biological system. As a family, we all join in helping each other achieve our goals and dreams. Our built-in support goo promotes courageous joy and helps clarify our priorities—since there is a cost, and a benefit, to us all.
There are times when I heartily embrace a calm and solitary meditative balance. That stillness allows me to reflect on the fullness of life all around me. I work to embrace the embarrassment of laundry piles in the living room as a reminder of the adventure we chose to live in the moment we didn’t choose to fold laundry. Sprycel has given me the thrill of being off balance… the opportunity to set perfection free and laugh when I topple out of tree pose. After all, I wouldn’t want to miss out on the fullness of life by settling into a balanced one.
I don’t want to miss out on the fullness of life by settling into a balanced one.