Life is a balancing act

Natalie Snooke - Monday, October 02, 2017

by guest blogger Madeline Clare

Is balance an unattainable pipe dream? 

The search for balance between work and life is a losing proposition and a potentially destructive one. Absolute balance is an illusion. What appears to be a state of balance is an act of balancing, something quite different.

To long for ‘balance’ is to use the noun, but to live in balance is a verb. It is seen as something we ultimately attain. Yet, balance is something we are actually constantly doing.

So, having a balanced life is a myth.

It is an ideal with a philosophical understanding that is based on the space between two polar opposites. The phrase,‘I need more balance’is heard when it is felt that something is missing. An upset or change tips the scales. A fulfilling life, a life of balance, is where purposeful meaning and significance are sought.

However, changing priorities and fine-tuning life’s relevance involves an invisible middle line, which is constantly criss-crossed in the act of living a full life.

Giving time to what matters becomes a balancing act.

Extraordinary results require focussed attention and time. Time on one thing means time away from another. This makes balance impossible.

Historically, balancing our lives is a novel privilege. Work was life and if you didn’t, life was short. Scholars and craftsmen, freed from forage or farm worked according to their needs and ambitions. Then, industrialisation kicked in with large numbers working for someone else. Schedules and long hours with continuously lit factories ignored dawn and dusk and movements to protect workers and limited work hours began.

To view life lived at the extremes creates something truly extraordinary. A moment where magic happens. Magic doesn’t happen in the middle when time commitments are dissipated in an effort to attend to all things with nothing getting its due. Chasing the extremes presents real challenges because at the outer edges it is a bit scary and managing lives out there becomes understandably tricky.

The act of balance is knowing when to pursue the middle ground and when to pursue the extremes. Here is the beginning of wisdom.

Perhaps by replacing balance with counterbalance elicits the sense of grace that keeps subtle states of vibration flowing. Something will always be left undone, a necessary trade-off for extraordinary results. The idea of counterbalancing is that you never go so far that you can’t find your way back or stay so long that there is nothing waiting for you when you return.

To achieve something extraordinary is to choose what matters most and give it all the time that it demands, time and again.

This requires getting extremely out of balance. In a personal life awareness is key, awareness of spirit and body, family and friends, self-care – none of these can be sacrificed to have a life. Tight counterbalancing is to move back and forth quickly between and all activities, prioritising and combining. Personal life requires tight counterbalancing.

In the world of work to go out of balance is to make peace with the idea that the pursuit of extraordinary results may require you to be out of balance for long periods to focus on what really matters. Prioritise rigorously at work, but leave nothing behind in personal life.

So, when the question of balance shifts to a question of priority and clarity of choice, doors will open and extraordinary results will happen, once the demand for a priority has been set and acted on. When a priority is acted on, imbalance is highly probable, as more time is given to one thing than another. The challenge is to determine how much time is given to that one priority. Therefore, when work is required then work it is, when play is the priority, then play it must be. When priorities get mixed up things fall apart. It is a finely-tuned act, walking the tightrope of real life.

An extraordinary life is a counterbalancing act.

How do you feel about being in or out of balance?


Madeline Clare is a yoga teacher, artist and Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant and has been teaching yoga at Momentum Coaching & Yoga since 2016. She has been practising yoga for over three decades. Her love of yoga has evolved from the pursuit of health to the underlying curiosity to understand life. Madeline also studies Fine Art, using paint and charcoal to express the playfulness of the human spirit. Learn more about her at

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