Work Life Balance

Perish the thought that I am about to wax eloquent on the subject of work- life balance- I am not!

I do, however, suggest that you google the term.  The harvest will be as richly illuminating as it will be bizarre.

(Aside: It’s time ‘google’ was included in the dictionary as a noun as well as verb, do you hear microsoft? Man, you’re so dumb even  your own name isn’t in your dictionary- not in small case. I withdraw my aside. You clearly have other, more pressing matters to deal with. Google can wait.)

The phrase befuddles my scant grey men. They run hither and thither wondering whether to apply for a visa to the moon or remain earth bound. While they rush about, of course, it is down- time with me. Not that you’d notice, for down- time and up- time are largely indistinguishable in my world. When have degrees of meltdown mattered?

You may call me simplistic, but to me the phrase means that there are two distinct entities- work and life. Apparently, humans are always trying to find a balance between the two, which is all very cozy. My question is this: is work not a part of life? When did work become distinct and separate from life? When did the two pick up cudgels against each other? When did the two turn adversaries?

The purpose of work is to sustain life. The privilege of life is to be enriched by work. The purpose of both is to help the soul complete its agenda in the manner it has decided to. There is certainly no mention of the two being foes! When did this happen?

Some erudite ladies and gentlemen replace ‘life’ by ‘personal life’, fondly imagining that the addition of an adjective would simplify matters. Now, you are supposed to find a balance between work and personal life. This implies that work is not personal to us. The richly bizarre harvest I reaped when I googled that phrase was even fruitier than the last.

The tone of almost all articles was belligerent. It was as if work were this rabid dog that has sneaked into a rollicking, upper echelon  party. It stands in the middle of the room salivating, as it stares about it with malevolent distaste. Like, really?!

I didn’t sign up for that definition; stop shoving it down my throat, you silly nitwit!

I know why you subscribe to that definition in the pained manner of someone who is being ‘put upon’.  Work and Life are adversaries to you for a reason. You feel your life needs protection against work- the rabid dog- for a reason. The reason is this: Your work is not your calling. The call to it doesn’t come from your soul. It is a profession (a money making activity) that has blown its fuse on the internal wire that should have connected you to the core of your being.

It is you reading your fat lawyers’ briefs while the music in your soul dies unheard. It is you busy learning the tricks of becoming a corporate predator with a corner office, while the teacher in you suffocates for breath. It is you pouring your soul into soul- less machines while the dancer in you languishes on atrophied limbs. That is why your work is an adversary to your life- as naturally it would.

But it never had to be that way. You chose to fragment your soul. You chose to bring the war inside your consciousness the moment you decided to disregard the voice of your soul. Your outer, social self is engaged in a mortal combat with your inner being. If your inner and outer being were in congruence with each other and the universe, you wouldn’t be struggling so hard to create a balance. You would have been a perfectly balanced being without ever having to try.

Speak not, therefore, of work- life balance. The issue is not of finding- or externally creating- balance. Balance and poise are the soul’s natural state, when it is moves unhampered in its chosen direction. Once you find your own direction, balance will happen automatically. Work and life will compliment each other. The war within will end. You will move faster because you will be moving in the direction you were designed to move.

Dig out your inner compass and let it show you that direction. Let your soul take the reigns. When you find your unique direction, don’t just stand looking at it- WALK.

Paths are made by walking, not looking.

Picture from Google Images
Picture from Google Images

12 thoughts on “Work Life Balance”

  1. The more we want from life, the more we have to give it. People fantasize about having-it-all without actually giving what life wants from us – that creates friction. One always needs to pay for what one gets – The question is: whether we pay now, or later.

    People pay for security in their lives by doing mundane jobs. Even in this case, they give something and take something back. As long as people consider security to be more important than connecting to their passions, they will continue to ‘work’. But I don’t see anything wrong in this. It’s just a different way of achieving the same harmony.

    Destination Infinity

    1. I don’t think there is anything wrong with anything as long as one is able to achieve harmony. The whole circus begins when there is a lack of it. That’s when you begin delving under your discontent to find out the cause. And you find that your social, outer self is floating in limbo, disconnected with the anchor that the inner being provides.

      Perhaps it is not so with you. In which case I am very glad. 😀

  2. It is not always possible to pursue your passion when it comes to work. Ideally, it should. Sometimes it doesn’t pay enough or there could be other reasons involved. But even if your work was your ultimate passion, you’d need to switch off and demarcate time for just the work-related part. There are other very important things in life that need attention too. Unfortunately many corporate jobs suck blood and expect that somehow the work part should take precedence over everything else. In that sense, yes a work-life balance needs to be actively striven for.

    1. I understand what you are saying Rachna. I also understand what the discussions about work- life balance essentially are. The truth is, work- life balance is less about keeping work at bay and more about bringing in- and making time for- the other aspects of your persona. I understand that.

      For many years, I told myself that my passion is not something ‘marketable’. Since it was not, I naturally had to find a way to make money. I chose the least of the evils and became very good at it too. As my expertise grew, I tried to convince myself that the work I was doing was my passion and that I was mistaken earlier.

      Only, it didn’t work. I developed an asthma that was entirely psychosomatic. Even now, when I am emotionally depleted, I get attacks.

      One day I asked myself a question that changed everything for me. I asked myself if I was willing to live half a life simply because I had too limited an imagination- or was mentally lazy- to find a way to make my passion ‘marketable’.

      The rest, as they say, is history.

      It wasn’t a picnic. It took me four grueling years to transition from a profession I had practiced for 16 years- and had become damn good at- to start doing things that the core of me wanted to do all along. The struggle has made me realize how much it was worth it. After all, the journey IS everything. 😀

      1. For me, I loved my Marketing job. It was a blood rush to be in brand management. But circumstances changed, and I could not continue with the hectic lifestyle that it demands. I made an active choice to quit working each time my kids were born. And guess what I discovered writing :). And now that is my passion and work. But I still put my work on second rung. My family is my first priority. And finally I have learned to not only balance my work and life but find happiness and contentment as well :). I understand what you said about psychosomatic issues. I was so stressed when I was doing a job and it was giving me bad headaches, acidity and irritability. Those are now gone.

  3. I truly admire people for whom this entire discussion is moot. Those would be people whose life (or personal life, whatever) and work are one and the same. M F Hussain, Satyajit Ray, Indira Gandhi, Arundhati Roy, all these folks might qualify.

    Food for thought indeed!

    1. People who find congruence and alignment between their life work and their life are the favored of the Gods. 😀

    1. You know Asteria, what I find strange is the ease with which we change the destination, not the path on which we are walking. Out allegiance and loyalty is for the path, not for our destination. Don’t you think there is something wrong with that?

      Pleased to see you here. Thank you for coming by. 😀

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