Originally published at
“Don’t do anything by half. If you love someone, love them with all your soul. When you go to work, work your ass off. When you hate someone, hate them until it hurts.” –– Henry Rollins
Moderation is not and never has been my best friend. I like it hot or cold. Lukewarm? Forget it. When I get into something, I charge in, sword waving, chewing on my shield, face painted blue and screaming, eating brains… <blush> Well figuratively speaking, anyway.
There is this little thing called balance, however. What about balance?
Balance is not about doing something half-heartedly. It’s not about moderation, either. It really is about doing something with your whole heart and soul. If you’ve ever been a surfer, gymnast, martial artist, or dancer you know that. If you don’t focus on what you’re doing with all your heart and soul, you lose your balance and you fall. You fall hard.
While the need for balance is hardly a poly specific issue, the simple fact of the matter is that as you complicate relationships, balance becomes more and more necessary.
“So what is balance and how do I get it?” I hear you plead with a puppy-like whine in your voice.
Balance is simply a matter of being effective in what you do. Life is going to throw you a variety of experience, after all especially if you are poly! To attain true balance in your life, you all really do need to focus and do what you’re doing with a whole heart. When you’re at work, you’re focused on your work. When you’re at home and with your loves, you’re not thinking about work, you’re focused on your loves. When you’re playing with your kids, you’re not thinking about the bills. When you’re doing the bills, you’re not thinking about that hot date last weekend.
This takes a lot of practice. In our society, we tend to admire multitasking. While there’s genuinely nothing wrong with analyzing a problem while doing the dishes, or any other routine task, relationships are not routine tasks by any stretch of the imagination. They require focus. They require you to pay attention when you’re interacting.
What they don’t require is your full attention and focus when you’re not interacting or planning. When you’re with your husband, don’t be focused on your boyfriend, and vice versa. It’s a sure way to throw a monkey wrench in both relationships, and it’s no way to be balanced in how you interact with your loves.
That’s where the balance comes in not leaning left when you need to lean right, making all those little adjustments and shifts of focus as you go through your life.
Balance is NOT spending an exactly equal amount of times with each of your loves. (God forbid. I’ve been involved with extroverts from time to time. If they tried to spend as much time with me as they did with each other, I’d freak). It is about the focus required to find out what their needs are, and the focus required of you to find out what needs you want to meet. It’s about knowing your own needs and finding out ways to meet them.
It’s about being a whole person. Notice I’ve mentioned several non-relationship issues here in this column. While yes, I’m poly, I have a job, I have kids, and I have non-relationship-centered interests and passions. It’s important to focus on them wholeheartedly when I schedule time to pursue them, just as it is with relationships.
But no, you don’t have to be a moderate person to have balance.
In fact, I’m out of woad and need to go make up some more blue paint.
Toodles for a couple of weeks!