Balancing Act

September 8, 2008 at 3:48 am 5 comments

Balancing Act – Lauren Kennedy

Balance isn’t unusually a popular topic. I always thought it seemed like a terribly boring and restrictive goal. But that was because my perception of balance was very skewed.

I have realized emotional restraint, adhering to conservative norms, repressing spontaneity, acquiescing to expectations, practicing rigid self discipline or being a slave to responsibility not only have nothing to do with balance, but can be counter productive to achieving it.

Balance has more to do with trusting myself, being aware of my needs, feelings and boundaries, honoring my inner guidance and not letting other peoples’ expectations or judgments influence my personal choices.

Instead of producing boredom, restrictions, and monotony,  balance results in less stress, more enjoyment, more creativity, and fulfillment. It is one of the vital aspects that is necessary to develop character and reach my potential and achieve my desires.

Balance My Not Be What You Think

Balance is the practice of self awareness, self respect and self trust. It means developing awareness of my feelings and needs. It means choosing behaviors and making decisions that are congruent with my principles. Balance requires rigorous self honesty in order to identify my true intentions and motives. It requires the ability to remain focused on creating my intended desires and adjust my course in response to information I receive along the way. To maintain balance I must sharpen my power of discernment to distinguish inner guidance from an emotional reaction or a disguised ego.

I discovered that an important aspect to living a balanced life was knowing my limits.  I know “limits” has come to have a negative context. Slogans that suggest “The only limits are the ones we place on ourselves,” can be misleading. When I set expectations based on a ‘No limits” mindset, my outlook and choices were based on the motto Don’t Stop Until You Drop. I  try to match the reported schedules and impressive feats of the super successful. If I wanted to reach my potential, I thought I had to go to super human lengths. The reality that I was 51 to their 30, or that I had several chronic health conditions, one life threatening, or that I was caring for two school age children was of little consequence. Modifying my expectations did not occur to me.

No Limits, is the motto of the successful, and therefore it would also be mine. “Work through the pain and fatigue“, I told myself. “Keep the house sparkling and attend to the children. Produce more and better articles. Check out all suggestions and options.” If I heard the conflicting voice of reason rising up in my consciousness, I would dismiss it. I didn’t want to come up short. If others could do it so could I. This was the formula for success, and failure was not an option for me.

I continued to follow the directive of others- to focus exclusively on my goal. I could not be distracted by activity that wasn’t profit oriented. It never occurred to me that there may be an alternative route. Or that my personal priorities and responsibilities were incompatible with this all or nothing approach.

So I persevered.

But the Payoff Wasn’t What I Expected

After suddenly being jolted awake with my head on the keyboard a few times, I did admit momentary defeat and went off to bed.  After months of my no limits strategy, the pay off was stress, disappointment and illness. I am prone to be determined or hard headed depending on one’s perspective, and it took two trips to the hospital for me to rethink my strategy.

I had to accept that I wasn’t super woman after all. It was a crippling blow to my ego. My ego still tries to argue that one with me periodically. And if I don’t stay aware and present, I will slip into the super woman role again. Ego gratification. Inevitably,  I become exhausted and overwhelmed, begin to feel unappreciated and taken for granted. That is a certain indicator for me to stop and access my behavior.

Moreover , when I judge myself by arbitrary expectations, my own or others, when I use my level of accomplishment to judge my level of effort or devotion, when I compare my self and my results to others, when I follow expert advice at the expense of my own insight and guidance and when I try to gain a sense of importance through social recognition and validation, I am setting myself up for failure and self condemnation. I am ignoring my needs, discounting my feelings and eroding my sense of self trust.

Moreover it is a flawed evaluation. Pushing oneself beyond ones physical and emotional limits is always counter productive.

I can not base my personal expectations on the resume of another. Some people may get by with four hours sleep a night. No matter how dedicated I am to my goal, when I limit myself to four hours of sleep, my productivity goes down, my work quality suffers, my relationships are neglected and I end up sick, mind, body and soul.

We are encouraged to tailor our lives around a series of goals. We measure our dedication, character and success by the amount and the impressive nature of our achievements. But character and personal growth have little to do with goal achievement. Character is the result of how we live our lives and the choices we make from moment to moment, not goal to goal.

We have been conditioned to believe that ignoring our limits, emotional and physical is somehow noble and honorable.  In fact it is self abusive. In addition, it is usually motivated by ego gratification. We want importance, power, influence and wealth. Image is king. Power is a substitute for freedom.

Are Your Choices Matching Your Priorities?

Material wealth and social success has become more important than wisdom, experience, personal growth or present moment awareness. Image, appearance and others’ opinions take precedence  over our own values, insights and dreams. And we discount our own guidance to pursue the options that bring outward favor, recognition and respect. Instead of taking responsibility for discovering our own truth, we follow the voice of authority with self righteous obedience.

To acquire character, integrity, and become the person that we want to be, we must participate in the moment that is occuring as it is happening. We can’t appreciate or understand a movie when it is on fast forward. When our focus is fast forward to the next goal achievement, we miss our life and the opportunities and experiences it contains.

We think we need to accomplish some goal to feel important, confident, free or safe. But it isn’t achieving the goal that creates the lasting changes that we seek. The goal provides the motivation to begin the journey. And the  journey provides the situations, people and insights that help us begin to shed false images and to live from our authentic essence.

Whatever we truly desire, whatever our genuine purpose may be, we have the abilities and resources to fulfill them. Our desires and goals are limitless. And they exist for us to pursue.  But our course to achieve our goals must be shaped by our personal circumstances, health, emotional makeup, mental wiring, the limitations or challenges that come with being human.

Working with these challenges can make our accomplishments greater and more impressive. But discounting or denying our present limitations, can only results in self criticism, compulsion,  inadequacy, and a condemnation of our human condition. Under these conditions, the road to success, even if achieved, can be bittersweet.

It’s The Journey

But in the end it is the journey that is important. It is our choices, intentions, and awareness along the way that can transform it from a struggle to an adventure. By acknowledging our personal limitations, and accepting them as personal challenges, we will stretch our character, walk through our fears and experience the freedom that empowerment endows.

It is the manner in which we journey through life that determines whether we fulfill our inner desires or only our goals.


Entry filed under: Piority, Motive and Intention. Tags: , , , , , , .

Is Anyone Listening? Rich Man, Poor Man

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. アトピー 色素沈着  |  April 17, 2017 at 12:52 am


  • 2. science-based medicine  |  February 18, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    This is my first time visit at here and i am actually happy to read everthing
    at single place.

  • 3. laurenpkennedy  |  February 19, 2018 at 1:41 am

    Thank you so much. I hope you find the articles beneficial. I share my experience so other people can avoid the pain of bumping into obstacles and falling into unseen pit holes that I did.

  • 4. hospital  |  February 19, 2018 at 8:30 am

    May I simply say what a relief to find a person that
    actually understands what they’re talking about on the web.
    You actually know how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    A lot more people should look at this and understand this side of the story.

    I was surprised you aren’t more popular since you definitely possess the gift.

    • 5. laurenpkennedy  |  February 20, 2018 at 2:43 am

      Your comment made my day. My goal in writing about my mistakes, choices, pain and learning curve is to share my experience to offer others the understanding, alternative perceptions/choices, and insights gained from my own on going journey.


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Our life is an evolving creation, shaped by our choices, colored by our desires, and lightened or darkened by our intentions.
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