Today marks the first day of fall. What is most impressive about this day is that it’s the one day of a few where there is a perfect balance between light and dark. It is also a time of change where the air smells different and the leaves start to change colours and the sweaters come out from the back of everyone’s closets.
This shift has left me reflecting on the idea of balance. I spend my entire week talking and listening to people and I often hear how people want balance in their life. But what they are truly saying, is that they want lightness and not darkness.
What is balance
Balance is not more light than dark and in fact it is the perfect amount of each. This means that there is sadness and happiness, calm and restlessness, attuned and distracted, connected and disconnected. Balance is about making space for both light and dark in your life instead of just focusing on avoiding the dark and desiring the light. There is space for both, and in fact, we need both the light and the dark in our life. Just as we need the sun to rise, we also need the moon to sleep. Balance is about harmony between two opposites that are synergistic.
Connecting to balance
In a culture of pain avoidance, we tend to see the dark as “bad” and the light as “good”. This sets us up to chase the light and disregard the dark. What this does internally to our emotional well-being is that we engage in self-hatred or judgment for the dark. It can sound like “I just want to be happy”, “why do I have such bad luck?”, “things never work out for me”, etc. This internal dialogue is full of judgment and creates shame, low self-worth and low self-esteem. What if you made space for the dark without judgment? How can you accept the dark as part of your life? What if you trusted that there is a balance and with the dark, the light will come?
This fall is a wonderful time to think about balance in an unique way. Grab a journal and write about what you want balance to look like as you make space for both light and dark. Draw a line down the middle of a page and write “light” on one side and “dark” on the other. Most things that are dark can be out of our control such as an ailing family member, the death of a pet, a supervisor who is not friendly, etc. However, we tend to have more control how we let in the light when we balance it out with the dark.