Balance in flux.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been adjusting to the idea that I might be sticking around this part of the world longer than expected. Despite so many parts of my life still being in flux, I have found enough balance—both internally and externally—that makes financial, creative, and social stability feel more possible than ever before.
While this is not a new experience—I felt a similar sense of possibility while living in Melbourne, Australia—where I am now feels distinctly different than previous times. I have new capabilities that are allowing me to dance with the unknown in ways that were unavailable to me in the past.
Of course, with this shift comes a flood of old beliefs, behaviours, and ways of checking that are asking to be acknowledged and let go of. My current way of being is making a last-ditch effort to destabilize and usurp the little progress I have made.
Being aware of the ways we sabotage the positive change we’re working to create in our lives is useful. It helps us find empathy for the parts of ourselves that, while dysfunctional, supported us in getting to where we are now.
At the same time, awareness only goes so far.
So often when talking to other creatives about what’s getting in the way of them finding the balance they need to their best work, the language used is framed in terms of doing and not doing. There’s a desire to “just” do things differently and/or to “just” stop doing what’s no longer serving them.
Despite being fully aware of what’s not working and/or what needs to be done—and regardless of how inspired they feel to re-establish balance in their life—long-term, sustainable shifts often require more than just awareness.
In order to create balance while in flux, it’s essential that we flex new muscles that will help us to maintain stability even when our environment, finances, creative work, social supports, and other life factors are wobbly. And instead of focusing on the big actions we want to be taking, it can be more effective to take micro-actions instead.
For example, instead of focusing on the big action of sitting down to write, focus on the smaller action of checking in with your inner creative a few times a day. Let listening to that voice guide you back to feeling full and inspired enough to get back to creating your art.
If movement is important to your creative practice, instead of telling yourself that you’re going to start working out three times a week, start by moving your body for five minutes in the morning after you wake up. Eventually, a greater connection with your body will lead you to a more complete exercise schedule.
Or, if you’re working on creating greater financial stability in your life to support your creative practice, shift your attention from paying off your debt to getting comfortable looking at a budget once a day. Once staring your financial reality in the eye on a daily basis feels less scary, you’ll feel more able to think about how to make more money, cut expenses, and pay off your debt.
As creatives, flux is an inevitable part of our lives and work. And it’s possible to find balance despite there being so many moving pieces.
So, what helps you find balance when your life is in flux?