The Key to Real Balance

Life is a balancing act, and an often frustrating one at that. Though it doesn’t have to be!

It seems that just when we think we’re headed in the right direction and we’ve got it “figured out” we realize we’re dangerously close to teetering over an edge we hadn’t even realized we were dangling over. 
This is the give and take of life. At its foundation this balancing act really boils down to one of two modes: allowing and acting. One is passive and one is active. One is resting, one is hustling. One is open, one is closed. One is listening, one is speaking. Both are important. 

There are so many moments when action is crucial. The tiger is leaping toward you, you can stand and receive or you can act and move. Your child is about to run into the street as a car comes speeding around the corner. You notice a mistake everyone else missed on a crucial project at work. These are the moments to take a stand, to move into action, to put yourself out there and make something happen. This capacity we have to make autonomous and intentional action is a powerful and essential asset in life.

Our society often values an active stance more than a receptive posture.

While our society often values an active stance more than a receptive posture, it is no less important. You’re swimming and get a cramp and start to take in water, but someone swims out to help you, do you refuse or receive? Your mentor has wise feedback for you in a moment of crisis. You’re exhausted and stuck on a project that your boss entrusted to you, they offer to assign someone else to assist. There are so many circumstances where life calls for us to open. Often it’s not what we expected, or dreamed, or wanted, but as much as we might think we can control and create and plan, in the end, without the blessings life offers us, we’d not make it. The rain does not fall on our bidding, and the sun doesn’t shine or plants grow because we will it. 

We must always be arriving in each moment ready to receive or act as the situation calls for.

In our finest moments, we find the perfect recipe of both to apply ourselves to what the moment requires. This is what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi calls flow state. In this state we must find that delicate balance of receiving the present moment with complete acceptance, while being ready to respond in an instant and repeat. Too much action and we end up clumsily forcing the situation and too much receptivity and we find ourselves on our heels and slow to respond.

For Wakes, we are getting to practice this balancing act quite palpably in our crowdfunding campaign. We identified a need for action in recording our music to further our mission of reaching more people with this content to help them awaken to their fullest potential. But we also recognized that in order to get all of our content recorded we were going to need funding and support to get it all done. So we acted to put ourselves out there by creating a crowdfunding campaign to ask for support from our friends, fans, and family. 

This is a situation we can’t control or force. We can only act to ask as authentically and clearly as we can and then open to receive what comes. Now, in the final hours of our campaign, we look back and see that very seldom did we feel balanced in this process. It was instead an all too familiar process of barely keeping the car on an icy road, overcorrecting left and right. 

It was so easy to swing from one extreme of pushing, grinding and worrying that people weren’t going to hear about it, or care enough, or it’s not compelling enough. “It’s too direct, it’s not direct enough. Do more! Do less!” Then we’d swing to the other end to wallow in apathetic resignation. “Let it be. What can we do? They’ll hear about it and care or they won’t, I can’t do anything more”

What we’ve learned is that all we can do is take our next best action, and then accept with allowance the outcome.

Allowing is a practice. Receiving is a practice. Where in your life are you maybe forcing things, trying to control? Where could you loosen the reigns a bit and simply accept, trust? It is from the place of allowing that we can then act again. It’s a feedback loop. By allowing something, accepting something, doesn’t mean we won’t ever change! It just means we can respond to what truly is. 

So, as we are 10 hours away from the end of our campaign with 15% still left to go, we are going to act again. We are going to ask again. Will you help us? But after that, we are letting go. We will receive whatever comes with a full and grateful heart. A treasured Wakes member and contributor Andrés recently said to us, “Life rarely gives us what we expect.” And isn’t that true? Learning how to deal with that reality is going to make life go a lot more smoothly.  

So thank you all for being in our orbit and helping us learn and practice these important lessons. We wanted to pass along our insights to you too, in case they might apply to some part of your life. And of course, if you’ve been touched by our music in some way over these years, and want to help us cross that 15% threshold and meet our goal, then please contribute before midnight PST (March 10th). We will be ready to receive whatever comes. 

With much gratitude and love, 
Ada & Nathan 

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