What Are You Braiding Into Your Life?

A very wise woman once said something to the effect of: “You will have balance in your life. Maybe not every day, maybe not even every year. But over the course of your life, you will have balance.” (Note: I can’t remember who said that. She was a panelist at a luncheon honouring some women of distinction that I attended years ago.)

Cord-ManyThreadsI’ve been thinking about that statement a lot lately, as I work on changing the balance of my life. More than changing the balance, though, this has felt like changing the pattern, the colours and the threads, the shape. I do live a pretty balanced life now, but it IS changing. It looks and feels different than it did last year, and it’ll look and feel different again this time next year.

I recently read an article in The Globe and Mail about Michelle Obama called “Fashion’s first lady” (short link = ). I enjoyed the article but what really struck me was this paragraph:

“First ladies are often a lightning rod for cultural angst about the choices women have and are intensely scrutinized for the ones they make. But in her choice of fashion, Michelle Obama is an exemplar of how many modern women think and behave. It’s not about Having It All. And it’s not about Having It All Just Not At The Same Time – the popular sequential view of how a woman can organize herself with career, marriage and motherhood, a path that often ends in heartbreak as women discover they cannot conceive. It’s more about braiding various responsibilities as wife, mother, Ivy League alumna and professional, allowing some strands to be thicker at certain stages of life, depending on the circumstances.”

Aha! THAT’S what my life is like: a cord braided of strands that change colour and thickness and texture. Sometimes I change the strands. Sometimes outside circumstances change the strands. Sometimes a strand breaks, when a relationship is severed for whatever reason. Sometimes a new strand is braided into the whole, when a new relationship starts.

And those relationships are with anything and everything: family, friends, your home town, your current geographical location, your education (and the choices you made there), your career (and those choices too). Even with yourself: your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects. I know at different times of my life I have focused more or less on any given relationship, started new ones, ended some. The cord, my life, goes on, a little different than it was before.

Sometimes that cord gets knotted and tangled. Sometimes it flows smoothly. Sometimes it’s weaker than others. Sometimes it feels like it’s fraying, as if bits of me have gone astray like fuzz from a woolly scarf. Sometimes it feels strong and flexible. Sometimes it’s simple, sometimes it’s complex.

Cord-FewThreadsI’m working on making it simpler, at the moment. The threads I want to nurture are getting stronger and thicker. The ones I don’t want to focus on are getting thinner and less colourful. Most of them will always be a part of my braided cord, but they won’t be as noticeable. Some I’ll snip and tie off; they won’t continue.

What does the braid of your life look like? Is your cord knotted and tangled, or running smoothly? Are you paying attention to the important threads (relationships), making sure they’re healthy and strong?

Sometimes we need help, another set of eyes and hands, to help us untangle threads. If you’ve ever scooped a fine chain out of a jumble, you know exactly what I mean! For our lives, or lifestyle businesses, sometimes we need a listener, a sounding board. Which strand in your braided cord can you tug on for help?