Due to increased work commitments for both myself and my husband, we have had to find extra care for our two young sons – Elliot & Zach.
I recently found myself talking through the potential new weekly schedule with my older son Elliot, figuring out how a combination of help from a nanny and flexible working hours would enable karate, soccer and days when Mum or Dad would be at the school gates for pick-up.
We arrived at a plan than felt workable and I asked him “How do you think Zach will feel about this plan?”
He said “I am not sure he is going to like it Mum.”
I said “OK… why not?”
He said “Because Zach REALLY loves you Mum.”
And, at that moment my heart broke.
The following morning, my yoga teacher played the song Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol towards the end of the class, and I suddenly found myself crying.
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they’re all I can see
The construct of work/life balance has always felt illusive and precarious to me. It also feels way too simplistic. Where is the space for self-care in this two-factor model?
Discovering the wonderful book The Three Marriages by David Whyte a few years ago was a game-changer for me. It empowered me to LET GO of the pursuit of balance and LET IN an aspiration to create harmony.
Today I aspire to harmonise my three big loves – love for myself, love for my family, and love for my work.
David calls this “the marriage of marriages”. Here is a wonderful passage from the book:
“People find it hard to balance work with family, family with self, because it might not be a question of balance. Some other dynamic is in play, something to do with a very human attempt at happiness that does not quantify different parts of life and then set them against one another. We are collectively exhausted because of our inability to hold competing parts of ourselves together in a more integrated way.(…) Work and life are not separate things and therefore cannot be balanced against each other except to create further trouble.”
However, even when we aspire for harmony, when our work is also our calling, and just one of our ‘big loves’, we are not immune to moments of very real heartbreak.
And that’s OK.
Sometimes, feelings of deep sadness serve as a wonderful reminder of what’s most important to us in our ‘one short, wild and precious’ (working) lives.
And, as I always say to my boys “Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a good old cry”.
Self-Fidelity Practice to Play with This Week
This week I invite you to reflect on these powerful questions:
What are the ‘big loves’ in my life?
How might aspiring to harmonise these big loves bring more peace, fulfillment and well-being to my life?
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.“