Harmonious Balance

“My private measure of success is daily. If this were to be the last day of my life would I be content with it? To live in a harmonious balance of commitments and pleasures is what I strive for.” ~ Jane Rule … 

Commitments are a great way for us to make our lives more positive and rewarding. They allow us the opportunity to take on responsibility and offer us the chance to be someone that others can trust and depend upon. Personally, I try to keep a small level of commitments in my life, while at the same time, allowing myself to enjoy the pleasures of life–playing tennis or hockey, watching a TV show or movie I like, taking a jog on a beautiful day, enjoying a relaxing afternoon at the lake, spending time with my family and with those I love. Yet many times commitments can and will get in the way of some of these pleasures I enjoy in life, and as a result, I must be able to find “a harmonious balance” of both commitments and pleasures in my life.

Several years back I found myself in a situation where I had over-committed myself with pro-bono work for local charities and political groups. As more and more volunteer work came in, the more involved I found myself, and the less of myself I had available to give to my wife and my children. I began to feel overwhelmed, and things got worse, until I finally realized just how negatively my commitments were affecting my personal life. At that point, it became apparent to me that I would need to make changes in my commitments if I wished to allow myself to rediscover my balance in life.

Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, we must also strive to allow ourselves some commitments–a life that is strictly lived for pleasure is still not balanced and will leave us incomplete, with an inadequate sense of accomplishment, appreciation, gratitude, and worth. One thing that makes the pleasures so enjoyable is the knowledge that we have lived up to our commitments in order to be able to spend time on a pleasure or two.

Develop and keep a healthy balance in your life. Make sure you are not constantly over-committing yourself, or you may end up missing much of the beauty, joy, and magic in life. In addition, do not spend too much time on pleasure alone, or you may lose your sense of purpose and direction. Life is about balance… harmonious balance. And one of the most important balances we face is between our commitments and our enjoyment, because either one without the other simply results in diminished returns and little satisfaction.

Complete something you have committed to today and then take a moment to enjoy the knowledge that you lived up to that commitment.

Questions to consider:

What kind of balance do you maintain between commitments and pleasures?

How does it feel when you start to run low on the pleasures and too high on the commitments? How about the other way around?

How can you make sure that you are getting enough pleasure to balance out your focus on commitments?

For further thought:

“Learning not to grapple with every little thing that comes along is quite a struggle for many of us. The eggs are too runny; the coffee is not hot enough; the clothes don’t fit exactly perfectly. Some of us have so fashioned our lives around perfecting the details of the small stuff that we never catch a glimpse of the bigger picture. We so distract our lives with details and convincing ourselves that everything matters that we live out of harmony and out of balance.” ~ Anne Wilson Schaef, Meditations for Living in Balance

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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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