Okay, so one of my favorite TV shows of all time is The West Wing. I’m obsessed. The day my husband and I watched the final episode of the series we were ready to re-watch the entire series again, I kid you not. So, it’s no surprise that when I came across this quote in a Sunday Times Op-Ed about the Autumnal Equinox — “A myth in many cultures holds that some mystical force lets us stand eggs on their ends, but only for a few hours immediately before or after the exact time of the equinox” — I recalled the West Wing episode, “Evidence of Things Not Seen, ” where CJ (played by the amazing Allison Janney) puts this very theory to test.
I don’t mention this simply to share my TV viewing habits with you (even though I could wax on about The West Wing, Lost, and Mad Men until I was blue in the face), but rather to talk about something near and dear to my heart — balance. In case you didn’t know, an equinox is a date and time when day and night are of equal length, and happens twice a year. It’s all about balance. And this year’s Autumnal Equinox, which is upon us tomorrow, is particularly meaningful to me because it happens to fall on my birthday (yes, I am a lady on the cusp for those of you who are into signs). So, it probably comes as no surprise that I LOVE balance. When one foot itches, I like to scratch the other foot too, just to equal things out. I was once in a yoga class where the teacher accidentally skipped the other side of a sequence of poses and I literally felt out of balance for the rest of the day. Needless to say, I can get a little nutty when this happens.
Balance traps, which are situations and mindsets that can knock you out of balance, are easy to fall into — I see it happen all the time in the coaching room (and I’m not immune to them, myself). Perhaps the most common balance trap that I see artists, in particular, fall into is one that I address in the Artists In Action lesson on Balancing It All: The Perfectionist. The Perfectionist trap occurs when one assumes that a balanced life equals a perfect life. When our career is perfect, and our relationships are perfect, and our health is perfect, and our creative life is perfect…only then will our life be in balance. Nope. Sorry to burst the Perfectionist bubble, but this is SO NOT TRUE!
Simply put, balance does not equal perfection. And the more time we spend assuming it does and pursuing something that is ultimately elusive, the more time we waste feeling frustrated with being out of balance. But here’s some good news: balance can be found in imperfection. In fact, it’s imperative – things are never going to go your way all the time, so you better make peace with the idea of imperfection in your life in order to find your way closer to balance sooner than later. Once you give yourself over to this idea, it’s amazing how much beauty can be found in that imperfection. What do you think? Can you work with that?
One other thing that I think is worth mentioning: according to the article from above, “Throughout history, the first day of autumn has been considered a good time to take stock of the year’s successes and failures.” Tomorrow, I’ll naturally be taking some time to reflect on this past year of my life, as I have a tendency to do on my birthday. And I might even test out this whole egg-balancing theory, too! I want to encourage you to take some time out of your day and do some reflecting of your own. If you do, please be sure to acknowledge your successes as well as your failures — regardless of what they are, I hope you take an extra moment to learn something from them both. Why wait for December 31st to take stock of your life when you can do something NOW? I plan on making autumn a season of reinvigoration and balance, and I invite you to do the same.
Oh, and if you happen to find yourself standing eggs on their ends tomorrow, let me know how it goes…even if it your experiments don’t go perfectly. Happy Autumnal Equinox to you all!