by Pamela Santangelo on July 30, 2011

Over the course of many years, I have listened to charismatic presenters speak on creating life balance as if this novel concept is achievable no matter how hurried and overwhelmed your life may be. Providing kernels of wisdom that they feel will help all, as if their magic paint brush can dramatically change the canvas of each listener’s life. Listening with great enthusiasm, “Yes, I can have more control of my life that is a plethora of calendar appointments and to do lists that roll out the door!”

While many have merit, every one of us is different. We all have a varying degree of responsibilities, likely many of which are not something that we can easily cast aside (insert children here).

Three years ago I was so overwhelmed I was at a point where I could barely function. Simply put, I was a wreck. A friend who has more life experience than I spoke to me with great compassion and pointed out the truth that I was not yet ready to see: “Honey, you’re exhausted.” She was absolutely right on the mark. I remember that conversation rather vividly as she shared her observations. She told me how many years ago, when people where overly stressed, they were sent away to “get better.” These facilities were somewhat similar to the spa resorts of today. (Sol Duc Hot Springs was once one of these types of facilities.) She continued with her take on the history, or what our society refers to as “being stressed” and the plethora of diseases that we, as a people, begun to show symptoms of as a means to have a physical representation of our stress while our bodies attempting to make us “stop” using migraines to Fibromyalgia. One of the more profound pieces of that specific conversation was when she helped me realize that I was trying very hard to cram the life that I knew before children into the life that I was now leading. Consequently, I was feeling as if I was failing at everything I was doing. The reality was, and is, that I could not and cannot give 100% of my time to my family, my husband, my home, my health, my clients and lastly (but not least important) myself. I was dropping balls, forgetting things, neglecting things and even worse feeling as if I was not being the parent that I needed to be largely because I was so mentally preoccupied with everything else going on.

I remember so vividly taking my daughter, then two, to the local children’s museum. She was happily playing away and there was another young mother eagerly and happily playing with her child. I, however, was so intensely preoccupied with some distressing detail in the corporation I then owned that I could not break away mentally to be present in the moment and play. I recognized it in that moment, almost like having an out-of-body experience, but I was so stuck that I could not (for whatever reason) get on the floor and play. I was that unhappy.

While there were a plethora of events that unfolded, which hopefully most readers will never have to deal with, I was caught up in the drama that was presenting itself in my life at the time. A lot of learning has come from those experiences. Perhaps gradually I will share them here.

It has now been three years since my world that I knew it crashed and while I may not have the financial riches I then experienced; my life is remarkably different for the better. I am grateful for this. So often I wish I could go back and change things. I wish I could alter those pieces of the puzzle that were the drama in my life, yet I cannot. Even if I could, would the perceived benefits or outcome be wise, as they would alter my course and my personality? I would not have learned the lessons that hopefully have finally sunk in and forced me to have a greater sense of compassion and humility.

Today, as I write, I am largely at peace with all that transpired. Occasionally something or someone from that time will resurface and the memories of the pain wash over me like the surf against the shoreline. Thankfully, those moments are brief in comparison. I have been actively working on creating my life in a way that is in harmony with the various facets of my life as it is now. I now have two children, I am still married (luckily divorce wasn’t part of my life drama), I have a dog (decided I needed a pet during the worst of our stresses), we have a comfortable modest home, family is nearby and I have been focusing a lot of effort on improved health and well-being.

This is my blog, this is my story. I hope that I strike a chord with some and that you are able to take away a nugget of wisdom that I came by the hard way. I’ve heard the phrase “life balance” uttered so many times. To me, it is sheer nonsense. When I think of this idea of balance, in my mind I see a person standing on a ball juggling bowling ball pins. One small surprise and everything comes tumbling down. For me, the key word is harmony. Acknowledging the various parts of my life that I wish to devote some of my time and energy to on a regular basis, then flowing into and from each piece with ease. From my perspective, balance is impractical, but harmony is achievable. Come achieve it with me.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: