In ancient Chinese lore, yin and yang represent two seemingly opposing forces that are not only interconnected but interdependent. You cannot have light without dark and Vise Versa. Both yin and yang also contain parts of one another and when balanced, they create something more beautiful together than they do on their own. When mixed, fire and water make steam that can power huge engines, or more elegantly the sun (fire) and the oceans (water) produce clouds, rain, rivers and much more.
Taken from a philosophical perspective, you cannot understand happiness without experiencing the absence of happiness, cannot know hope without feeling fear. My own experiences with life have been full of fears that simply never became realities. Always striving for more and more comfort and stability, I balanced by accepting more sacrifice:
- Work more hours
- Take on more responsibility
- Get a steadily increasing salary
As long as I put in the time and did a slightly better than average job, I would never have to worry about money and enjoy the comforts more money provided me. I was striving for work-life balance and the reality was I had lost my purpose. Life was ironically anything but balanced. For the most part, I was complacent… but who wants to just be complacent? Dreaming bigger has given us so much more than a complacent life and although it is never perfectly balanced, our older anxieties about “wasting away in an office cubicle” are now replaced with “what if we don’t hit our revenue targets for this quarter?”
Here in Split there are some very obvious examples of yin and yang. Tall, skinny, attractive people in seemingly perfect health sit at cafes and chain smoke. Thousand-year-old structures are surrounded by communist era ugly cement apartment buildings. In a warm Mediterranean climate, the locals embrace freezing winds from the Northeast for their cleansing properties. Cold expressions from strangers on the streets turn to warm embracing smiles the second you make a connection with them. With all the dichotomies here you’d think it would be chaos, but somehow there is balance. As if there is an undercurrent of purpose that moves the city along.
I should clarify that balance in my opinion does not mean perfection. By its very nature, it implies a happy medium between two extremes. The pursuit of purpose rather than perfection allows for better balance. What is the purpose that drives you? It has taken me a lot of experimentation (good and bad) to find some of my own purposes:
- To be healthy, both physically and spiritually
- To help others be more efficient with their lives
- To provide for myself and my loved ones, more so emotionally than financially
- To pursue wisdom through experience, travel, making new friends, listening to others and slowly discovering the infinite examples of balance that exist in the universe
Looking back I can see how these journal entries are full of examples of balance. Perhaps that is one of my greater purposes as well or maybe it is just this stage of our lives. If you feel as though you’re struggling with balance (or life as a whole) I hope this post helps illustrate that you’re not alone. That every new day holds amazing new opportunities. Bad days can transform into great days simply by searching out a new experience, going for a walk, watching a movie, calling a friend or researching your next vacation. The bigger you dream, the more fulfilling your purposes become and when your life is more fulfilling, balance comes far more naturally. In the words of some of my favorite Wisemen “We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.”
I’ll stop philosophizing now, Dani usually cuts me off at this point because I get too preachy 🙂 Thanks for reading and supporting us throughout our journeys. Talk to you soon.
– R –