September 9, 2012

Balance is Overrated.

As any parent or entrepreneur or servant might tell you, tell me, balance is not always possible when focus and sacrifice are required.

From a Buddhist point of view, an ability to stop moving, to be bored, is the key to neverending energy and presence of mind that is required to do many things, well. ~ ed.


Recently, on Instagram, which I’m newly in love with, a yoga friend posted a pretty inspiring picture and quote about balance.

F*ck balance. We never have balance. The trick is to be present.

Moms, entrepreneurs, athletes, public servants shouldn’t aspire to balance. We should aspire to presence.

Mothers aren’t balanced. Entrepreneurs aren’t balanced. Athletes aren’t balanced. Teachers, or many of those who serve the welfare of others, aren’t always balanced.

The truth is, anyone who is doing anything un-selfish, or focused, or larger than them, can not always be balanced.

Is it important to care for ourselves? Yes. Is it possible to stay balanced? Not always.

There’ll be times when we’re tired, and have to keep going. When we’re hungry, but can’t take a break. When we’re worn down, but have to find a way to return to the present moment and give it all.

In my experience, as an entrepreneur, I have not valued balance. I just can’t always do it. Building a dream, a business, a vision—has taken often 18 hours a day, 7 days a week—for 10 years. I just took my first vacation. I haven’t traveled. I love my work, and it’s been too much for me, often.

The trick has been, for me, to manage stress. Instead of yearning after a goal I can’t attain, and feeling guilty at my failure to maintain it—balance—I’ve sought to eat right, exercise, and meditate while I work myself too hard.

And that’s worked, mostly. More to the point, it’s been a practical, achievable goal.

Remember: a runner leans forward. He or she leans forward, not upright. And yet—with momentum, with hunger, with training—it works, for awhile.


So perhaps that “managing stress” is a form of balance. Perhaps being off-balance, as with great surfers, can be a form of balance. If so, great. But I don’t yearn for peace on a mountaintop. I don’t yearn for what I can’t realize, right now. I yearn for right now.

I yearn for being present, whatever the situation.

And I practice being present twice daily. So can you.

As my Buddhist teacher said,


should be regarded as

Extremely good News!

He also said,

Cheer up! We don’t have to take ourselves or our lives so seriously. We can celebrate!


PS: you know what, on the other hand, is also highly overrated? Multitasking. Here’s why.

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