Many professional people, especially women, are concerned about work-life balance, wondering how to give quality time to their children, family, job, fitness, recreation, and travel.
Hearing the phrase “work-life balance” makes me wonder if that mean that work is not a part of life? Isn’t our work an essential element in the journey of life?
Work can be defined as “exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something” or even more simply, “a task or undertaking.” With a clear purpose for the work that we do, the pursuit has intrinsic value. It seems fulfilling, no matter how much money we make. The women I know who want “work-life balance” often work for money but find that the activity leaves them feeling depleted. It doesn’t satisfy their longing for meaning. This makes for an energetic imbalance.
I have “worked” for nearly forty years as a more-than-fulltime volunteer teacher with a not for profit educational organization. I teach adults how to meditate, to interpret dreams, to concentrate, and develop their ideal and purpose in life. Why spend so much time without getting paid? Because the work itself fulfills me. I derive deep satisfaction from knowing that I have helped someone improve her life.
Recently I made a major shift in my life, incurring greater expenses than I had previously. So now I need to make money from the teaching, mentoring and coaching that I do. Has this upset the balance of my life? Not really. I still teach. I still aid people to interpret their dreams. I still guide people to develop a regular meditation practice.
When I first became a volunteer metaphysics teacher, I also worked in seemingly menial jobs to make money. These jobs were a part of my life just as the teaching was. I found that even as a file clerk or receptionist I could aid people to understand their dreams. I learned that my steady, calm presence (which came from my daily meditation practice) was in itself a way to teach by example. I often had coworkers ask me how I could be so calm and centered among the office politics. That gave me an open door to talk about meditation or concentration or dream interpretation.
I have found that the balance people seek is not so much between work and life. It is an urge to understand what makes life meaningful. A wise teacher counseled me years ago to ask myself, “What is life? Why do I approach it? What gives meaning to my life?” And then, based on that consideration, to choose the activities I wanted in my life.
Following that advice has aided me to live a truly fulfilling existence. I have accomplished many goals, like writing books, speaking to hundreds of groups and organizations, and serving on the Board of Directors of two different not-for-profit organizations.
I have friends, I read novels, make art, do yoga, tend my flower garden, and travel.
The balance comes from living a purposeful life.
To learn more about HOW to discern your core of your existence, the essential purpose that drives you and gives meaning to your life, I highly recommending Mind Mapping. Mind Mapping is fantastic for people who are creative, who have many ideas and who sometimes get scattered. By concentrating on the central image from which all the seemingly “different” ideas radiate, the creative person becomes much more centered, focused, and able to integrate all of the elements of his or her life. I teach workshops to individuals and groups how to do this! Contact me if you want to learn how.