Balancing Act: Just how messy does it have to be?

For years, much has been said about the balancing act between work and life. For women, this has been the subject of countless books, articles, blogs, arguments, and Oprah episodes. For men, the struggle between how much is too much with work, and then, keeping up the family demands too. With 30 years of work, family, mothering, and living behind me, I’m convinced it is both less complicated and less simple than that.

With all the talking, tweeting and blogging, what can possibly be said that hasn’t already been said? Perhaps nothing. But then again, maybe not. Because much is being said about how to live simply and keep it real by those with maybe 5 years of work experience, no children or partner, and honestly – isn’t that when it was all pretty easy anyway?

After the years of wiping so many things – bottoms, high chair trays, faces, fingers, counters, and all over again – everything I do now is relatively easy. My mantra – life is messy, get used to it. The only difference in business, is you clean up messes that aren’t usually as cute as your baby’s bottom.

I work in the entertainment industry – with concert promoters as much of my client base. Messy is a way of life with these boys – and they are mostly boys – nothing surprises anymore. But I truly love it. The unpredictability gives a rhythm to life that predictable can’t match. On the days when the demands are unreasonable, the printers are incessant, when it takes 132 emails a day to make things happen on time – I realize, I am totally prepared for this. If you can’t take the madness, well – what are you going to do? Run for the door. Maybe this is where the phrase “head for the hills” originated. Things got too messy, so run…

As I see it, simple isn’t the absence of crazy. Life – and business – is messy. Complicated. Unpredictable. Such that I need yoga to stop and breathe, appreciate the stillness and refresh. If I’m living with the absence of real movement, stress, and difficult decisions, I must be sitting alone somewhere. Finding calm in the middle of calm? Where is the challenge there? Why do we need yoga to center ourselves in the middle of nothing? Business – and life – without people is what? People tend to be a little messy. Doesn’t that compute to everything? Governments? Policies? News?

On a good morning, I find it within myself to grab the yoga mat (I’m not an experienced meditater or yoga master by any stretch) – and plop myself outdoors with some zen music too soft to really hear. The sun sometimes hits my face with a bit of a burn for 7am, and a fly or the neighbor’s dog usually disrupts my attempt at peace – but one thing I know. Anyone can have a sense of peace and calm if the setting is perfect, there are no flies buzzing, and the sun doesn’t hit your eyes just wrong. Reality is finding calm in the middle of whatever messy is for you. I’m convinced this where real leaders are made. In the messes.

2 thoughts on “Balancing Act: Just how messy does it have to be?

  1. I agree – I love being busy but really need time to ‘de-frag’. Working with people gives me a real sense of accomplishment but there are always prickly clients and those who want to take you for a ride. Perspective counts for a lot and I believe that a lot of that comes with age and experience.

    • Ah, that’s so true. I find I am most protected against stress (people or time) when I’m finding some sort of centering to start with. If not, I am more apt to be swept along for the ride. Experience and sigh, age, does help, too – as you learn that the roller coasters are exhausting. Thanks for the comment, Gina, cheers!

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