'Curious Harmony' by noula diamantopoulos
When I hear the word balance, I think of work-life balance. Before I can reflect further, my body responds with an internal squirm and quiver, followed by a somatic gesture, which I try to hold in – but it squeezes out and my nose crinkles!
Why does my nose crinkle at the thought of work-life balance? Because it feels like I need to produce an Excel spreadsheet, improve my time management skills and tick more boxes of accomplishments, so I might feel I am living a balanced lifestyle.
I need to start again, so I do. As I continue to balk at the notion of balance, I turn toward the word harmony. Now my body begins to get comfortable. My computer keyboard rhythm slows as I glide over the letters, forming words that are helping me explore the concept of harmony.
Harmony doesn’t require a balancing act, a juggling of opposing and conflicting must-dos or wanna-dos or some preconceived idea about how my life should look, as determined by people whose good opinion is just that.
Harmony, like the universe, can appear chaotic – yet in that chaos there are teleological patterns forming. That means in the unpredictability of life experiences, there is an unobservable pattern that surfaces as chaos and appears to be random, yet has a flow and is here on purpose. I begin to wonder: Do we want the opposite, which is order and constancy? Is that what balance looks like? Won’t we get bored? Ah… Then we want to be in charge of creating non-constancy – i.e. variety – for variety created by others is chaos!
Why would anyone wish to explore the underlying patterns of chaos? My take on this is that if nature is in flow and everything is happening purposefully, then I wish to experience my nature’s harmony. Flow is a term used by psychologists to name that state that creatives and athletes and many successful people operate in.
Going with my flow is my definition of harmony and at times this may look unbalanced on the scales of work-life measurements. However, harmony (the flow of my life) is about the quality of life that I am living. I am talking about the quality of my relationships, the quality of my creativity, the quality of my thoughts and attitudes, and the quality of my contribution to the planet through my work and through my service.
Harmony is an attitude and an attention to those things that matter in my life.
It is an awareness of who I am, of what my gifts are, and the responsibility – or authenticity – of sharing those gifts with others and collaborating with their gifts at all times.
A harmonious life, and therefore a balanced life, may be very busy and it may be working long hours. However, they have not come at the cost of the many other quality-of-life things that matter. And what matters varies from individual to individual and from time to time.
What matters changes regularly for each of us but we may not realise and so continue pursuing old matters. How can we create self-awareness about what matters to us and how can we create harmony?
QUEST FOR HARMONY
QUEST is a process I use to explore our attitudes in a way that is fun, inquisitive, creative and stimulating. The process is as simple as sitting alone in silence, or you can invite another person to participate with you. You will need paper and coloured pencils.
In silence, you begin QUEST by writing down a question. If you are doing this alone, respond to your question with another question. Continue this process for as long as you wish, but for a minimum of 10 questions. If you are doing this with another person, they will respond to your question with another question (written) and you will respond to theirs.
QUESTing elicits the gifts stored in our imagination. When we use our imagination we are connecting with our creativity. We often feel that there is only ever one right answer, but QUEST does not seek to find the answer. Instead, QUEST seeks to reveal the possibilities available to us.
QUESTing arouses our curiosity. Like our imagination, curiosity is a fundamental quality that we all already have within us. However, we often forget to practice and embrace it. Curiosity is a feeling of wonder. And wonderment is a state of bliss, which can only arise when we are in our flow and in harmony with what matters to us.
To learn more about QUESTing, visit www.noulaquesting.blogspot.com