By Rivka Perlman

August 17, 2015

Mess, Stability and the Elusive Balance

I am a creative person. And I love that. But you know what ¬†gets to me? As much as I love all the fun¬†¬†I know¬†that stability is important. And this makes me crazy. Because there are amazing things to do in this world and they don’t always fit into a neat schedule.

And my question is, as much as there is value in order, isn’t there is so much value in flexibility and ¬†in enjoying the moment? ¬†Isn’t there so much life in creating?

So what if things get a little nuts.

Here’s the thing, in the world of art, I’m a mixed media collage, definitely not a still life.¬†

I’m a little bit of a mess.

Today I had a great conversation with a fellow coach. Before today, my mind would ¬†berate me.”You’re a mess! Everything is chaotic!”

Those words were a weapon of shame.

But not today.

Today I learned something cool;¬†Maybe I am a mess. But maybe, (and here’s the cool part) the fact that I can notice that is a sign of something important. It’s letting me know what I value.

As much as I value creativity, I also value balance. When my house is a mess or my head feels like a tornado I am not in balance. And that bothers me.

This is great! How awful would it be if I was an actual mess and didn’t know it. Or didn’t care.

Today when my mind tells me¬†“I’m a mess” I’m looking at that as a gift! It informs me. It’s like a healthy warning that I’m not in line with my values.

Here’s the deal; Creative people ¬†have a strong value around newness and change.¬†But constant activity¬† breeds instability¬†and¬†we also have other, often competing values. Values like making a living, raising a family, being a good mother, wife or friend.

So what happens next? Are we doomed to be forever in conflict? 

The answer is; it depends. In order to find sanity we must be willing to let go of conflict and embrace balance.

Balance is tricky word. I used to equate balance with some other bad words, like “boring, still and¬†lacking passion. I may have valued balance but I ran away from it like the plague – ” please don’t get me!!” ¬†¬†

Today I’m looking at it through a new lens. Today, I’m running towards it.

See, balance and conflict are actually not that different. Both ask us to deal with  opposing forces. But whereas conflict is a tug of war, balance is a dance. We lean to the right and when we go too far we lean to the left. Balance requires movement. Something which we creative people are very good at!

There are still two things.  But surrendering to the dance instead of fighting with the elements is the key to balance.

So the big question to ask yourself is:

What do I¬†need to obtain ¬†balance? What is your personal formula for honoring both creativity and responsibility? ¬†For some, its¬†90% stability and 10% creativity. For others it’s¬†50%-50%.

So break it down, let’s get real, what’s your bottom line? Life is a lot simpler when we¬†surrender to the idea that we have things we really care about ¬†plenty of things we¬†don’t. The idea is to look at what really matters to you and consider everything else ¬†a bonus. If you do those other things, great – ¬†if not, you’ll survive.

It takes honesty, but for us “messy types” ¬†the only way to get to achieve the incredible things we want to accomplish is to realize that it takes a canvas to hold a painting. Everything needs parameters. What are the parameters that will allow you to achieve balance and create incredible work in the process?

So, to answer my question РYES. There is so much life in creating. And YES there is value in stability. And using your unique formula BOTH are possible.

Why is this important?

Creating your personal formula for success is important because it  allows you to let go of the shame. It  moves you from the conflict that leads to inaction. And it boxes up the negative self talk so that you can move into your power.

I’m on a journey now. I’m welcoming stability as a partner in¬†the dance, not an interloper. And with that, I’m¬†serving G-d with everything He gave me and knowing with 1,000% certainty that all this, all this mess, all this color is just what His world needs.

And that’s why He made us.


In case you’re curious, here’s my personal formula. ¬†I call it The¬†¬†Tripod of Accomplishment. The goal is to bottom line ¬†activities that matter to me¬†in each of ¬†life’s areas¬†and ¬†to consider everything else a bonus. I chose a Tripod because its manageable. You are not going to regiment every part of your life if you are a creative person. ¬†You have to¬†choose the areas that most easily slip out of balance or get neglected.

Kids – Supper/Homework/Bedtime

Job – Writing/Coaching/ Teaching

Spiritual – Prayer/Learning with Kids/ Personal Work

These are checkmarks that balance my life.¬†¬†Yours will be completely different. ¬†Having it on paper means that when something¬†comes up I have to think twice about it because its¬†not¬†my main focus. That something could be ultra responsible or ultra creative. Either way, I’ll need to check in with my Tripod.

If supper, homework and bedtime are taken care of I may or may not clean my kitchen. ( Hey, maybe the kids can clean it!) ¬†Having achieved my bottom line goals I’m free to do whatever amazing¬†thing I want to. I may clean it or spend time by myself or with my husband or write a novel. Who knows? It all wide open!

My family is cared for. I’m released from conflict. I am in balance and I’m honoring the creative, responsible person that I am. I won’t become Holly Homemaker¬†overnight and I don’t even want to! But I do want to be normal and knowing what my normal is sets me free.





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