Reading Danielle LaPorte’s article on balance, and last week’s article by Steve Handel (specifically the concept of neuro-linguistic programing), I realized again how trapped people are by their thought-concepts.
In The Power of Now, Eckart Tolle describes how attaching a description to a situation gives it presence beyond the moment. That is, you begin to attach the description to previous and future (potential) moments and it becomes a source of distress. Fights with my spouse, in my experience, often begin with innocuous statements that are personally loaded. For instance, I will often react badly to any statement that seems to imply that I am inexperienced or unintelligent. I feel that my husband, who is eleven years my senior, sometimes sees me as an intransigent child who needs to be shown the proper way to do things. This might be an issue that stems from my mother’s parenting style, in which there was a right way and a wrong way to do things, and hers was always the right one.
Do you see a pattern here? Most of the conflict on any given occasion happens inside my head. But what can I do? I can’t fight myself. Instead, I childishly demand that my husband deny, nay, prove, that he doesn’t see me as inept. Instead, he gets angry at the unwarranted attack, and we scrap.
In Eckart Tolle terms, I have defined the situation by my lack of confidence, and by the lack of confidence I had in the past. I infer from this data that people assume I will be equally unable to assert myself in the future, and therefore preemptively defend myself against the imagined undermining of my rights.
In NLP terms, I have defined myself with unflattering words that indicate unchangeable state instead of transitional phase. i.e. I am unconfident, I am slow, not, I am cautious when trying something for the first time, it matters to me to do well.
The article on balance is not directly related, except how it demonstrates Danielle’s thought-concept for the word balance, and to quote her directly “The pursuit of balance makes us juggle. It puts us behind (always behind) makes us guilty, neglectful, imbalanced. It’s as useful a concept as the original sin.”
I would rephrase this as “the pursuit of “balance”. That is, the societal construct/concept of the well-rounded (superpowered) professional parent with oodles of public service conmittments and a personal mission to eat feed her family only organic, home-made foods, recycle damn near everything, and sew her own clothes. As in, yeah, the impossible dream of atoning for the original sin.
I wrote a little note in her comments, telling her about my thought-concept of balance: A yogi in the tree pose. A mind like water. If you are anything but totally present in the moment you will fall. To be present in the moment is to be passionate about committing your whole consciousness to whatever you are doing. When you plan, you plan, when you do, you do, and you do not mix the two.
Think about how you define yourself, another person, or a situation, and how that definition might be skewing your experience. I think you’ll find it quite an eyeopener.