Find the balance between setting your roots and letting your branches grow wild.” Rachel Brathen
Last week was an exciting one for me as I prepared for and delivered a Masterclass for the participants of “The Emotional Edge” course, by my long-time personal growth mentor Crystal Andrus Morissette. I was thrilled to share my views on what it means to be a “Natural Woman” – the most empowered version of yourself guided by your cyclical feminine nature.
So today I want to share a piece of this work knowing that you’ll be interested too. It’s my “evergreen” take on creating and maintaining balance in your life.
I imagine that you, like most women, have struggled at times with your attempts to achieve “balance”. For instance, have you ever sought balance . . .
- Between the demands of work and sharing your attention with your family;
- Within specific areas of your life, such as doing all the chores at home that need to get done or tending to all the details that must be done to succeed in your work or business;
- In the way you manage your physical and emotional energy, to stop the cycle of taking on too much then crashing;
- In handling your challenging relationships with others and decoding the emotional patterns; or
- In fulfilling your own needs and filling yourself up because you’re important too!
If you have ever felt that there must be another way, I’m here to suggest that there is. Let’s stop the madness and consider this fresh take on how to balance – your energy, your emotions, everyone and everything. What balance do you crave?
First let’s explore what it means to have a sense of balance. I’ll admit I’m not into the traditional aim to have all the “things” attended to equally. For one, there are always too many “things” to balance, and I don’t really want that many things on the go because that would be exhausting. For two, I don’t even want to balance all the “things” equally – to keep all the plates spinning or all the balls in the air – because I don’t value all “things” equally. Thus, my approach is more about prioritizing first, and then balancing; on giving my full attention to only a few things that matter most to me at any time, and saving the rest for later (or dropping them altogether).
Furthermore, it’s not really the “things” that I’m most interested in balancing. Instead, I’d rather balance myself and my approach to all the “things” that I’m choosing to prioritize at any given time. And this is where the evergreen tree metaphor comes in, or the “roots and branches” approach. For real and sustainable results, rather than balancing all the things that are “out there”, I turn the concept on its head and attend to balancing “all the things” within me. Here’s how . . .
Roots and Branches
Consider YOU for a moment, and forget about all the rest. Imagine that you’re a mighty pine tree – with a miraculous root system that supports, nourishes and grounds you and magnificent branches that grow upward, outward, and give to others.
This tree represents all the little parts of you – the good, the bad and the lovely – which together make you who you uniquely are. Both aspects, the below ground roots and above ground branches, are essential to living a healthy, whole and full life. The aim is to balance or to honour both of these polarities of self, not necessarily at the same time – like the ebb and flow of water, the sunrise and sunset, or the summer and winter solstices.
So what are these two polarities? Similar to the traditionally known “feminine” and “masculine” characteristics, or “yin” and “yang”, the two aspects can be found within all of us regardless of gendre. We’ll call them roots and branches here. Which of the two parts do you tend to inhabit most?
Your Roots Your Branches
* Know who you truly are within self * Know who you truly are within world
* Grounded energy (being) * Active energy (doing)
* Inward focus (inner growth) * Outward focus (external growth)
* Contracted focus (few things) * Expanded focus (many things)
* Intimate connection (known few) * Social connection (many others)
* Inner light (illuminating within) * Outer light (shining outward)
* Base physical and emotional energy * Peak physical and emotional energy
* Receiving energy (self-love) * Giving energy (other-love)
1) Opportunities in the Opposite – The simplest way to put this metaphor to use is to consider your own personal struggle with balance in life (possibly like one of the 5 listed at the beginning) and notice which of the two polarities (roots or branches) you have been struggling to make work. What would shift if you tried focusing your attention on the opposite side? For example, maybe you are really struggling to figure out or fix a problem that you are having with someone (branches). What would happen if you turned your focus inward for awhile, and instead tried to figure out and nurture what’s going on within you that is contributing to the problem (roots).
2) Comfort vs. Courage – Another approach to this metaphor is to notice which of the two polarities you tend to identify with or exhibit the most. This is your “comfort zone”. The other part of you, that you’re less likely to apply, is your “courage zone”. Your comfort zone is the place you feel safe, where things feel natural and where your habits automatically take you. Your courage zone is where you feel resistance, where you’re awkward and unnatural, and is the realm of moving beyond routines and toward growth.
Again, when you consider your personal struggle with the balancing act, which of the two polarities describes your habitual approach (comfort zone), and which is not (courage zone)? What would shift if you attended more to your courage zone? So consider the scenario that you’re exhausted from keeping all the plates spinning for everyone else (branches). How would things change if you invested some time and energy into your self-care and align with who you really are (roots)?
3) Breakthroughs for Both -There’s a chance that you’ve discovered that you aren’t feeling especially empowered on either side and that both sides of yourself could use some TLC. That’s okay. In my experience, enhancing your roots first will build a solid foundation from which you can then grow solid branches. But as is always the case, trust your own personal guidance which always comes before others’ advice. So attend to whatever side appeals to you most, either because it’s the easiest place to start thus will create momentum to get you going, or because it’s the riskier place to start and therefore will create the greatest positive impact for you. What would change for you if you took this approach?
You may also find that you feel equally comfortable with and empowered on both sides. This means it’s time for some next-level refining to find your own ideal balance of your two parts. Look at each defining characteristic listed for roots and branches, and note what would make for an even better balance for you between the two. For example, if you’re already doing great at both grounding/being and acting/doing, what would be the ideal expression of each for you in this season of life? How could you adjust the balance to be even more aligned with your greatest self and life?
So when we revisit the initial balancing barriers that my clients and community have shared with me (listed above) through this new tree metaphor, we can see the way forward to real results . . .
- So before you address your work/home balance (branches/branches), consider how you might first balance your self/life needs (roots/branches).
- Similarly, before you stress over any more of your endless to-dos (branches), get clear on what truly matters to you (roots) and learn to postpone or drop the rest.
- To avoid the energetic crash and burn, notice which polarity of yourself is craving more attention (roots or branches), nurture that part of you first, and then nurture and integrate the other part.
- In handling emotional relationships, try loosening your focus on the “other” (branches) and first nurture your side of the relationship (roots).
- And because you ARE important too, fulfill your own needs and fill your own cup first on whatever side of yourself – roots or branches – that you need!
. . . . .
As you can tell, I’m passionate about this fresh take on balance and am just as passionate about helping women to implement this perspective too, which is why I’ve created a new Introductory Offer to get you started on your balancing journey!
“Balance & Boundaries” is my new introductory 1:1 Coaching Intensive for a special intro rate of $49 CAD! If you would love to: Get clarity on your balance issues; develop solutions for your most pressing needs; cultivate boundaries to uphold your desires and leave with the confidence to move forward, this is for you!
To your growth!
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my Introductory Offer here if you’d love some support with reclaiming a healthy sense of balance. Reach out if you have any questions.