“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”
― Alain de Botton
“The great Sufi poet and philosopher Rumi once advised his students to write down the three things they most wanted in life. If any item on the list clashes with any other item, Rumi warned, you are destined for unhappiness. Better to live a life of single-pointed focus, he taught. But what about the benefits of living harmoniously among extremes? What if you could somehow create an expansive enough life that you could synchronize seemingly incongruous opposites into a worldview that excludes nothing?” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Crystals from SHAKTI, Photo by Michael Sanders
Life can be very complicated one moment and very simple the next. One minute you feel you have found the perfect balance between all the things that are important to you, and the next minute you wonder how the hell you ever got yourself into this mess of a life!
When it comes to work/life balance, I have learned this. You need to measure balance not from day to day, week to week or even year to year. You must measure balance in years or even decades, or you will drive yourself mad with what appears to be a life of complete imbalance and utter chaos. There is such a thing as a crappy year or a fantastic decade. Balance can only be seen in hindsight after many years have passed and you can see the ebbs and flows and how it all eventually evens out. The hard part of course is the patience and faith required to allow life to unfold without madly trying to control every twist and turn along the way.
It’s this patience (with more than a few meltdowns) and faith (interspersed with intense periods of doubt), that I have made a major life overhaul with my Husband Gregory. As of this month, we are embarking on a year of pursuing our artistic passions full-time while juggling two dogs and two small boys who will for the first time be full-time at school. Since our first son was born 7 years ago, I gave up my 10 year career in Environmental Science and have been a stay-at-home Mom squeezing out moments to pursue fashion styling, bellydancing and blogging, which were all passions I did as “hobbies” while working. My Husband has worked as a high school teacher by day and an author/illustrator/artist whenever he possibly could. In a nutshell, life has been madly unbalanced.
“When you go through a hard period, When everything seems to oppose you,
… When you feel you cannot even bear one more minute,
NEVER GIVE UP!
Because it is the time and place that the course will divert!”
― Jalaluddin Rumi, The Essential Rumi
The last couple of years have been a real struggle for me to re-establish my place as not just Mother, Wife and housekeeper, but Woman, Entrepreneur and Artist. I have reached that place where I couldn’t stand one more minute, and like Rumi said, I did not give up, because somewhere deep in the depths of my being, I understood that the road was about to divert.
So, as the summer ends and September arrives, we have given up the steady, reliable pay check and a status quo lifestyle, for a taste of living our art. My greatest hope is that the four of us will find some beautiful way of weaving all of our interests and passions together in an overlapping and entwined creation all our own. This year will be about making things, sharing and designing a lifestyle that suites who we are instead of trying to force ourselves into boxes we have never properly fit in or liked. This year will be about sharing all of the responsibilities in a more balanced way and making room for each other to grow. I hope by watching us, our boys will be inspired to make choices in their life based on what is most important to them and not to fall into the trap of doing things like everyone else because that’s the only choice they think they have, or because they are disheartened by the criticism and doubt from others.
Life is a work of art. It is your greatest creation and should be treated as such. You begin with a blank canvas and you can create anything you want in whatever way you want to. In my case, I want to create, but not in isolation from my family. I did not quit my career and stay at home with my boys, just to get so busy now that I never see them. I want us to consciously create our life together and for all of us to be an integral part of each others creation. I chose to be married, I chose to have children, and I chose to become a fashion stylist/blogger. I don’t believe that I have to choose one of those things over the others to focus on in order to be happy as Rumi suggests. I believe I can have them all if I don’t expect every day to be perfectly balanced. Some days I will focus on one, and other days I will focus on another, and sometimes I’ll juggle them all at once. Each stroke of a brush does not make a complete painting, like each day does not make a complete life. Time and effort, patience and faith, and lots and lots of love, encouragement and unity with my family will create this work of art I call My Life.
My sincerest hope is that you will come along with me for the ride! I plan to bring you new fashion and life inspiration WEEKLY beginning NOW!
FASHION: White bikini by Perry Ellis; wrap-around pants by Patron of Dreams; boys shorts by The Children’s Place; men’s cargo shorts by Old Navy; rose-quartz necklace by BCP Jewelry; and gorgeous giant crystals from SHAKTI.