Back to School: Striking a Balance

As we head back to school (or work) after the summer break, Phoebe shares her thoughts on what work-life balance means and how we can flow through to the end of the year.

Even though I’ve not been at school for… ahem… decades, I still get that sense of ‘back to normal’ when September comes around.  As the heady sun-fuelled summer energy begins to withdraw, we harvest what we’ve cultivated over the summer and settle back into our routines.

The autumnal equinox comes on 23rd September, day and night will be the same length – in balance.  If the year’s season was represented in one day, we’re settling into the evening after a day of growing and it’s time to eat the ripened fruit, shed our leaves.

Harvest

As with the turn of each season, now is a good time to reflect.  What are you reaping this autumn?

If you caught my blog in April talked about balancing your life-pie, think back to the Spring equinox and your intentions for the summer.

Reflect on what you have manifested; did all your spring seeds grow?  What might you still have to complete? What are you learning about what comes next?

Balance or flow?

Importantly, at this time of year – we should look at how we have sustained our efforts.  Summer can be a busy time, fuelled by long days and time spent outside in nature. As the nights close in and everyone’s back from their summer holidays, balancing our routines becomes paramount.

Work-life balance is one of those sound bites, we’ve all talked about it I’m sure. But do we ever achieve it or is it just another thing on the list?

Bucking the work-life balance trend, Michael Walters says it’s all connected, that we simply can’t separate our lives from work or indeed, work from our lives. He says by shifting to a holistic view and putting all aspects of our lives into the same pot, we get four transformative results. Check out his TedTalk on aiming for grace, awareness, momentum and empowerment instead.

Wonderful words, right? In my mind, these are four components of ‘flow’, that state where time eases by and getting things done feels easy and fruitful. So how can we flow as the nights draw in and our routines build up again?  

Well, flow is not a stationary state – it’s a dynamic balance - just like standing on one leg, you need to shift weight between all the aspects of life.  But what’s the weight we’re playing with? For me, there are two.

Flow comes when we strike a balance between discipline (sticking with it) and surrender (letting it go):

  • Create and follow a routine of small steps that will bring you to completion. But go with your gut, make sure you enjoy your routine.

  • Dedicate yourself to practice but let go of perfection and the need to achieve a destination. Enjoy the journey.

  • Be diligent, cover all your bases and pay attention to the details, but let go of the need to be thorough. Know when to stop.

  • Pay attention and be mindful of your experience, make sure the activities you engage in are serving your wider purpose - so let go of the need to be all things to all people. Stay focused

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Completing

The equinox brings us into the last quarter of the year. As October comes around, we enter Samhain, the festival of completion. What will you be completing as you enter the next yearly cycle? My next blog will look at how we can reflect positively as we begin to turn our sights to what we’ll hibernate over winter and resolve to achieve next year.

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A long serving Londoner, Phoebe is a qualified practitioner in Neurolinguistic Programming, life coach and yoga teacher, and experienced singer songwriter. She’s been leading workshops in a range of personal development topics and supporting people to achieve their goals for over 15 years. She teaches and sings regularly in North London and all around the world. You can find her over on instagram, facebook