About two years ago, deep in my efforts to “find balance,” I realised there was nothing balanced about my pursuit, since I was chasing a very fixed (also borrowed/aspirational) idea of what “balance” is, and I punished myself for every inconsistency. How could I possibly find balance without a balanced approach to begin with? (LOLZ)
Temperance calls to the fore a soft, intuitive balance. This is a card that I believe is an apt summation of the entire tarot deck itself in which we see the emotional (cups), material (pentacles), spiritual (wands), intellectual (swords) worlds within us always in flow, intermingling and inter-twining. Life feels balanced when we can move with, rather than against, the influences and interplay between them. The deck essentially provides visuals for when the various aspects of our being may feel off kilter — indicating which aspect we need to see/hear/pay attention to/care for — in order to bring ourselves back to balance.
Perhaps balance then, is about understanding that “being balanced” itself looks different for different people, rather than aspiring to a fixed one-size-fits-all notion of it. It is about noticing that when one aspect feels “off-balance” it’s likely that something within is asking for attention and care. Tending to it will involve listening, rather than admonishing it for its needs.
A balanced approach to self-awareness requires understanding the interplay between the various parts that make us whole. There will be times where the emotional will be louder/more demanding than the physical, or the spiritual may appear at loggerheads with the cognitive. Maybe leaning hevaily into the physical is your modus operandi, and there comes a point in life where the emotional or spiritual will rear it’s head asking to be noticed. Working with this interplay will mean looking at each aspect in context to the others, as it may be coming up for you.
This ebb and flow is natural and human. Knowing this is step 1. We can then get good at recognising when one of the aspects are in flux, and what they’re asking for. This is self-awareness, and it enables us to respond appropriately. Flowing in tune with our inner-needs that are ever-changing (and demanding!) as opposed to having external goals that are mostly fixed. We can allow ourselves variance and opportunities to grow by listening keenly, being in tune with each of our aspects and understanding what drives us. And we’re more likely to find balance, in this way.