Finding balance at boundaries of work life + love / by Christina Rosalie

InTheWilds_ChristinaRosalie Late spring has brought rain and more rain. Occasional thunder. Purple skies. Torrents. The air hangs heavy. Hair curls. Inevitably we leave umbrellas in inconvenient places: in the car, or at the office, wherever we are not when the rain hits, and it does. At home, on our quiet hilltop the storm clouds move off towards the mountains, leaving the green greener and the evening exhaling. The gloaming air air is soft and fragrant, filled with the vibrations of crickets and mosquitos, tree frogs, peepers.
On a walk after the boys are in bed the moon shows its waning face above the newly fluttering maple canopy. The dog smells rabbits in the hedgerows, her ears on alert, her wiry body quivering with expectation. The moon plays hide and seek with the clouds around it, and they turn radiant, iridescent, blushing each time she shows her face again. The gravel glints. And though we leave smiling, our conversation unintentionally slips. We bump up against each other. Words crossways, emotion at the surface.
It’s not on purpose. Not because there is anything awry. But simply because we’re both in the thick of things, both doing things we love, and our boundaries weak and permeable. Work has been carrying over lately, nearly every night.
Balance isn’t something you feel until you loose it. This is what strikes me, standing in the moonlight kicking at the gravel and feeling misunderstood. What we’re arguing about, and even the fact that we are, is purely product the way our work days haven’t ended with a clear edge, and everything from the day slides up against this moment like the small bits of riff raff and gem stones in a kaleidoscope.
Everything tumbling to create a bright, discordant geometry in the present moment while the frogs trill and the first fireflies lift and flit among the meadow grass.
We're both in the midst of big things that inevitably throw the balance, absorbing all available bandwidth. And then we turn to each other wondering at our own short fuses and quick tempers.
The truth is, we’re alike in the way we are both energized by action. Risk is something that has always connected us. Over and over we've leaped together toward the unknown, and for both of us, although in different ways, creative work is something that makes us feel alive.
Still, things feel off. And though at the end of the day neither of us are interested in the stasis of perpetual balance, so much as in with movement that comes finding it again and again anew. What's necessary is to acknowledge the tilting, and then make adjustments.
Things can kilter. Things can be taken to the extreme. The nature of doing work you love is that it consumes in this way. There is a voracity and hunger to it that belies balance. It's no accident we say we “fall" when we are in love.
But what makes both work and love sustainable is to knowing when things have slipped too far in one direction. It's about leaning in, and then leaning out again. Tilt, and then return. Sprint, then rest.
And to be honest, the hardest thing for both of us. The doing nothing part of intentional rest.
Both of us are inclined to throw ourselves into our work, without pausing long enough for gravity pull our bodies tumbling to the couch, legs and lips entwined. The velocity of forward motion becomes a force of it's own, and at the end of a work day, we're unskilled at letting the day come to a full stop, finding the white space between notes; pausing where newness germinates; lettting rest reclaim us.
Right now in the thick of making and doing and shifting our lives, the hardest thing is just going for a walk in the moonlight, and not talking about work, or plans, or anything at all.
I reach out and hold his hand.
We hold hands.
We breathe.