PG13 Title: Seek Harmony … f*** work-life balance, it doesn’t exist
By Bridget B. Espinosa, Puente Cultural Integration
“Balance” is a misguided metaphor because it conveys the idea that we have to give up the prospect of success in one part of our lives in order to have it in another part—one or the other. ” Stewart Friedman
This perfectly explains why I reject this idea of “work life balance” and embrace the idea of HARMONY!
For years we have been told that we need to find a work-life balance. There is no such thing. This is a myth that does nothing but generate stress, and frustration. Having studied music in my youth, I have been drawn to the word harmony. Harmony is different from balance, it reflects the idea that there can be multiple layers working together in a pleasing way. There are many definitions of harmony, but the easiest to understand and achieve I found on yourdictionary.com “A combination of parts into a pleasing or orderly whole; congruity or agreement in feeling, action, ideas, interests, etc.; peaceable or friendly relations.”
We often use the word harmony to describe both the environment and our relationships – living in harmony is a common mantra. However, it is an uncommon description of our internal relationships with our responsibilities. Harmony is not difficult to achieve if you accept that different aspects of your life will be “singing the melody” while other factors provide the harmony. This metaphor shows that our family, work, social, health, and community lives can all live alongside one another – each one can take its turn providing the fundamental melody and our lives can be just as harmonious and beautiful regardless of which takes the lead.
Harmony represents the world I want to live in: people of many backgrounds, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientation, sizes, professions, abilities, languages, all connected – different voices, religions, cultures, perspectives, opiniones, ideas – all living in harmony.
Important to the analogy is when even one note is played or sung wrong the whole chord sound awful! When even one part of your life is out of whack, your whole life can feel like it’s falling apart. But the reality is that the adjustment to find harmony again is usually just a small tweak. When one person in the choir or one instrument in the band is out of tune, you have two choices:
In a rehearsal, you pause for a moment, address the issue and then start over making the correction.
In a live performance (aka real life), you just keep going. Normally the issue will work itself out, but if the problem continues you need to figure out what is causing the harmonies to go array and make the changes necessary so that it won’t happen again.
Based on a thorough review of the literature we introduce an integrated conceptualization of
work-life balance involving two key dimensions: engagement in work life and nonwork life …
Work-life balance: An integrative review
MJ Sirgy, DJ Lee – Applied Research in Quality of Life, 2018 – Springer
So F%^& this whole idea of “Work-Life Balance”, toss it out the window and just seek harmony.
I love listening to amazing vocal harmonies of diverse and talented singers. I sang for my entire youth and music continues to play an impactful role in my life. I searched for harmonies on youtube and found this incredible video. One of my former colleague’s sons is even featured in the best harmonies of 2021. This is soooo worth the time to take a listen and visualize these voices as the different elements of your life and how they can find harmony with one another.
Gifted Voices – Best Singing Videos (Best Harmonies 2021 – Pt.5)
The word ‘Harmony’ has been following me over the last year!
I was asked to sit on the advisory board of Detroit Harmony, an initiative led by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to provide musical instruments and experiences to every child in the City of Detroit.
My friend Laura LaBrie rebranded her Mysterious Mexico platforms to Maya Harmony. I have been following the Maya calendar, The Sacred Tzolk’in, trying to learn how to align my life to find the harmony that often eludes us.
Sacred Maya Calendar – The Path to Life
“The Sacred Tzolk’in is the story of humankind wrapped in a calendar, reminding us daily of our journey from birth into the heart of the Divine. We cycle endlessly through the story, reliving each chapter every 20 days. And so, the wheel turns, its path reminding us of our own story. And if we come into alignment with it, we come into alignment with the Heart of Sky, the Great Spirit. And when we come into alignment, we find balance, we find center, our lives come into flow, things go well with us, and we find our place in the Universe. And when we find our place in the Universe, we discover our connection to the One Heart that is in all and is all. “
I love this question:
“And so, as the Maya greet each other, I ask you, “Bix a bel? How is YOUR path?”
Another one of my passion projects is a weekly summer strolling music festival called Corktown Sounds. I have the honor to work with small businesses, musicians, and my team provides the content creation for this very cool event in Detroit. Shameless plug: We are hosting a Corktown Sounds Benefit Concert on February 4th. Tickets are on sale now!
I believe that we can have some really interesting discussions regarding harmony in our lives.
Join the discussion and give your experiences regarding how to embrace harmony in:
What areas of your life need more harmony?
Here are other articles and blogs that embrace Harmony vs. Balance: