We live in a society that promotes busyness: Work to get to the top of your field! Cook gourmet meals from scratch! Stay fit! Volunteer! It’s often a struggle to find just a moment of downtime. And as we become busier and busier, even the activities that bring us joy can feel like just one more thing to do.
So, how do we bring balance into our hectic lives? Often, we look for some external solution that can make us better, stronger, more spiritual, or happier. But the search itself can leave us feeling busier, more stressed, and ultimately, less fulfilled. The real key to finding balance is to focus internally and listen to what’s inside.
“We equate our self-worth with doing, producing,” says James Baraz, meditation teacher and cofounder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California. “But being so busy, we miss out on our true nature, on being who we really are.”
Achieving balance can be as simple as taking regular moments to connect with yourself. “Do something that turns your awareness inward,” Baraz suggests. Whether that means a walk in nature, a nap, or a two-minute meditation, your inner cue will be unique from that of others—the essential part is to honor your body’s messages. “Feeling my body, my breath, sitting in meditation, being in nature, all of these things reconnect me with the natural world and help bring me back into harmony,” Baraz says. “It’s a continual check-in. It’s a practice.”
For Kari Hamerschlag of Berkeley, California, adding a little creativity to her daily tasks has become a way to keep her life in balance. “I strive to do less, and I sleep more,” she says. “Walking my dog has become a major source of stress reduction. And I am getting two things done at once—it’s good for me and for her.”
We all have the power to come back to center if we look within. By taking a moment to slow down and reconnect to our own inner wisdom each day, we can feel grounded, rejuvenated, and ready to bring our balanced, best selves to all aspects of our lives.