The exhortation to achieve balance is not only unrealistic, but is an insufferable demand that so many modern cultures impose on women, particularly on mothers. (This is not to discredit the demands made on men, but a) I can only speak from my personal experiences of being a woman and a mother, and b) because my husband and other male friends admit to have NEVER been asked the question I am commonly asked, “How do you find balance?”).
So to answer the question, “How do you run a business, mother two young boys, make time for your relationship with your life partner, manage the house, cook, fit in self-care, practise rituals regularly, hang with girlfriends— in other words, how do you find balance as a modern woman?”
Simple answer is I don’t. I don’t even try. Balance insinuates there is an equal allocation of time and energy to each of those areas of responsibility. It implies a binary 'have achieved balance' (success) versus 'out of balance' (failure) dichotomy. And since it suggests that there is not enough time and energy to juggle it all, the mere idea of balance is a construct that comes from the perspective of lack— lack in self, lack in time, lack in resources.
It makes the assumption that I need to give myself to utter exhaustion in order to achieve the pinnacle of modernity's feminism, that is to REACH FOR EVERY DAMN THING IN SIGHT, and to ATTAIN IT ALL in order to earn the respect and adoration of the world. It speaks of an idealized, even priviledged woman who has everything she can possibly desire, in the form of balanced servings of career, family and marriage, exercise and meditation, pedicures with girlfriends, a chic home, even chic-er vacations, with a cherry on top. Fit this in with a few Instagram posts that say, "You got this, goddess" placed next to a piece of clear quartz and mug of latte. The future is female? This is not what I signed up for.
Balance, to me, is a corrupt term. A term that feeds into unbeknownst enslavement: to a mechanical sense of time, to pernicious ideals of expectations and using these external ideals as a measuring stick, and to the complete falsehood that we are superhuman. The notion of balance has dehumanized us; when we succeed we are called superwomen (or supermoms), which of course, the pedestal is then raised to an even higher bar of unsustainability, which when we cannot quite lunge there with all our plates intact, we judge ourselves inhumanely. Ask yourself these private questions: What does a 'good' mother must do to merit your badge of 'good'? What do you need to do to also merit this approval from yourself? The fact that there is any badge to me is burdensome, damaging, and squeezing every ounce of life and originality out of each and everyone of us.
When I seek answers, I look to Nature. I believe in seasons and cycles. At the moment, with the last few days of August, I have, with the exception of the commitments I have already made, am relishing in inactivity— in rest, exploration, in spontaneity. (And with those ‘breaks’ from rest, I find even greater pleasure in my work than the usual joy I experience!!). These days, my children are with me basically 24/7. And not every minute is about cuddles, fun at the beach, and Pinterest moments. There are math worksheets, silent reading periods, along with “I-am-not tired-and-don't-need-a-nap-meltdowns” and family gardening projects that not everyone is as passionate about as I am. But I digress— when the regular schedule of the academic year resumes, a different rhythm and cycle begins. There will be crunch times of fulfilling skin and aura care orders, writing deadlines for mystical workshops (yes, even mystics and healers have deadlines!), late night emailing, eating salad out of the tub at my desk, washing my hair as infrequently as when I go camping, all the while taking the kids to their activities, games, appointments, and friends' birthday parties. There will be moments when I may inadvertently place leftovers in the pantry instead of the fridge, wear the same pair of socks two days in a row, when the closest thing to a workout would be lifting the boxes of bottles and jars of glass for my orders, and my most romantic note that I will write to my partner will be a text, “Can you pick up some berries, almonds, and dark chocolate? Thanks! XO”
You would never expect all four seasons to pass through our weather system in a day, so the idea of having an equal portion of activities in a day in the name of “balance” is equally absurd. I am an advocate of cycles because even from year to year, the winter season (or any season) isn’t the same. Some are colder, others are wetter, some are both very cold and very wet, and yet some others are mild as a lamb from November through to March. Yet, from a macro view, the Earth remains the Earth. Strong, real, vibrant, resilient, and very much alive. (This is not to diminish the perils our Gaia faces from the irresponsibility of humans).
And that is the life I believe in living. One where I am in tune with myself, those around me, and the circumstances that shape things, and having the deep knowing to shift as life asks. Resilience is a flexible, undefinable, practical, and personal thing. Balance is an outward focused, mechanical, and very easily unraveled fragility. Balance, as mentioned earlier, stems from the belief that there is not enough time to do everything one believes one MUST do. Resilience comes from a sense of abundance - an abundance of self, the wealth to make innumerable adjustments, and the power to value and prioritize what one CHOOSES to do.
Further to the discussion of time, resources, and abundance, I'll be offering the anticipated MONEY MAGICK workshop on September 27 in Vancouver and October 14 on Bowen Island. Click HERE for more info.
founder, plant spirit medicine teacher + ritualist