You clicked and read the article giving you five steps to balance, outlines the benefits of achieving balance or how to manifest balance in your life. You’re craving it now more than ever that we’re amidst the “busiest time of year!” Yet, here’s my question…
When is it not a busy time of year?
Stick with me here. As an educator and one who has never left the field of education, there’s the Back-2-School craze, the Holidaze, then the countdown to Spring Break and state testing, and the big crescendo into the long-awaited break—Summer. Now imagine for a minute, the ease of long summer nights, pool or beach time, and family adventure. Aww…
Now, back to the reality of the next series of holidays: Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and then the New Year. Let’s just say, it’s easy to get caught up in the buzz of busy, especially since our society has a narrative around “busy” as social status. But let me let you in on a little secret…
It’s all bullshit. And, here’s why…
Reason #1: You get to choose.
Each of us has a choice. We get to choose. You have the power to say, “no.”
Did you notice an internal reaction when you read that last line? You’re not alone, I did too.
Here’s the thing to establish life-affirming boundaries requires a commitment to affirming what’s best for you and your family, especially during the holiday season. And often, the result of saying, “no” is not without the consequences of guilt and shame that then lead to the fear of inadequacy or worse FOMO.
For example, when you get that holiday invite, there’s no written rule that says you have to respond immediately. That’s your younger self-experiencing FOMO. You have a kid now, maybe, and even if you don’t, think about it, weigh out your options. By doing so, doesn’t mean you don’t love the person, doesn’t mean you don’t want to go,
just means you’re taking care of yourself and what you need. See it has an invitation, to be honest with yourself and look big picture look at your schedule.
I will say from recent experience that the kiddo gives us a lot of good reasons to say no because so much is out of our control: changes in naptime, not sleeping that the night before, or the unexpected sickness that hit us last week and is now spreading through the family.
As a parent, I have quickly become open to the idea that the plan is going to change at some point in the day. So, scheduling things make it somewhat challenging for changing plans. And of course, there’s always the events you’re good at scheduling like family vacations. In fact, we already have a tentative plan for our travels in Summer 2018. I digress…
The point is that in these intentional moments of wanting to see your community in the hustle and bustle you still get to choose. Yes, YOU get to choose! You get to choose to instead experience the JOMO (joy of missing out). So, what are you waiting for ♀️
Reason #2: Life is rarely equal.
When I think of balance, especially when in opposition to busy, equal measure is what first comes to mind. Being able to put both feet (or wheels) on the ground. So, is balance simply being grounded? Or is it more liken to the scales of justice and the desire to make them equal.
Since becoming a parent, I don’t often feel the scales are even in this life area. There are some weeks where it’s more of a juggle and that’s okay because I know it’s not always going to be that way because just like mama ocean, it’s an ebb and flow. As such, I see balance as more of a juggle. And, sometimes the juggle feels like you’re at the circus and things are going perfectly and other times, it falls flat and you drop a ball and it feels more like a struggle.
I think that juggle is the reality of balance. A reminder of a central thread of my work—intersectionality. At the intersection of our lives is the juggling of our choices. It’s in these moments that illuminate our superpowers.
We all have cultural superpowers. It’s in examining our identity and exploring the assets that come together at the intersection that make us uniquely us to change the world and bring a bit more equanimity to our lives.
Want to discover your cultural superpowers?
Click here for the Intentional Justice™ Identity Activity to reveal yours!
Reason #3: Redefining Balance
As this post came to life and I pondered my relationship to balance, I shared this image and post on my @mamajlove1 IG feed…
I’m not a huge fan of the word balance either @katenorthrup because quite frankly it feels like bullshit. One’s life is rarely like the scales of justice ⚖️
That’s where Intentional Justice™ comes in as we take bite-sized + deliberate daily action today, tomorrow and EVERY (damn) day!
But this definition that @sadielincoln @barre3 founder + mamapreneur shares on the Kate & Mike Show podcast this week really resonated and made me feel like maybe I could welcome the word back into my life. (Ditto 💕)
Because some nights “balance” (based on the definition above) looks like falling asleep with JJ and watchin’ my new guilty TV pleasure, Queen Sugar. Other nights, it’s staying up when the rest of the house is asleep to keep fueling my writing dreams.
As I began to embrace this new definition of balance, I also came across my own attempt to redefine the term 7 years ago as I mapped out my New Year’s Goals. Balance is what I aimed to achieve. While no notes were written on its general definition, the acronym—B.A.L.A.N.C.E.—gave me permission is embrace my own dose of balance on my own terms. Here’s the B.A.L.A.N.C.E. mantra:
I invite you to try it on and see how it works for you!
Breaking Down the Binary: Busy & Balance
Our world is filled with binaries, especially as it relates to social identity.
Black and white. Male and female. Boy and girl. Gay and straight.
Our world is set up as a system of binaries.
We get to choose. See Reason #1. Because it’s the bite-size and deliberate action we take everyday that matters. It matters because this is how we find Justice in our life. By making the small choices and knowing they add-up to something bigger.
Will you choose to get caught in the binary? Or choose to break free?
Good versus evil or do we see the beauty in the continuum. Do we see the magic in the mundane choices? Although mundane, those important moments. The moments that matter. The magical moments that matter.
So, yeah, part of breaking down the binary is breaking through the binary to build bridges.
What if time turns out to be our most valuable resource to bridge our dreams and desires as women?
While our relationship with time and sleep (see Lesson 13: Sleep is the Best Medicine) are doses of soul medicine (see Lesson 14: Find Your Soul Medicine)—an act of experience of connecting to our inner knowing. With this preface of time and sleep, I share a quote from a poignant Ted Talk from TEDWomen 2016: It’s Time…
None of us has time to sleep — we need to be woke as hell.” ~Mia Birdsong.
Can I get a heck yes! And here’s the link to the entire talk…
Intentional Justice™ in Your Life
Now I turn it back to you as I invite you to ponder:
- What has been keeping YOU woke at night?
- Do you believe busy is a mindset?
- Is balance possible or “attainable”? Or who cares?
🗣 Sound off in the comments below👇🏽
Now Choose Your Own Adventure
I want to give you the opportunity to Choose Your Own Adventure…
I am currently working on two paths of content around my core concept of Intentional Justice™—bite-size and deliberate daily action today tomorrow and every day. You can choose to receive Mama J’
Intentional Justice Identity Activities & Guide
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The Soul-Medicine Sisterhood Collective
launching April 2018
Wanna know if this is for YOU?! Keep reading…
The virtual collective (with in-person options throughout the year) is intended to feed your soul for the Lovelution. This space is for the incredibly passionate female and mama* warriors who are fighting for love, liberation, and freedom at the intersections of our very own front porch/door.
Giving ourselves permission to change the narrative through bite-sized and deliberate daily action.
Doing so is about revolutionary love during the injustice that we currently live while raising our voices to break open the white supremacist capitalist imperialist narrative. Thanks bell hooks for this framing!
The Soul-Medicine Sisterhood is about tapping into what self-care means for you and ultimately how you want to feed your soul. It’s about how you want to feel—mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Does this sound like your cup of tea or joe?
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