Balance Between Work, Play and Rest: Is it possible?

Joseph Pilates understood and taught the importance of a “Balanced Life”.  Joseph often shared his opinion on the importance of hard work, good hygiene, a healthy diet, plenty of sunshine and rest.  Well, I have the hard work (probably too much) and good hygiene down; I’m improving on the diet and I live in Miami so the sunshine thing is pretty easy.  It is the REST thing that I find so hard.  I have often thought that  a strong work ethic was a positive trait, and don’t get me wrong, I love my work, but the truth is, I work too much and don’t rest enough.  I have even found myself complaining about people who seem to work just enough to balance out their play and rest.  I must be jealous; in reality I think I can learn from them.

I have a patient who shared with me a story from his Rabbi about a farmer and a banker. It goes something like this:

There was a farmer who invited a banker to come out to his land to discuss a potential loan.   When the banker arrived he looked over at the barn and noticed there were 10 arrows perfectly in the middle of 10 random circles drawn with chalk.  The banker was most impressed and shared with the farmer his enthusiasm for archery.  He asked,  “who is the archer?”  The farmer told him not to be so impressed; it was his 11-year-old son.  Well this impressed the banker even more.   The farmer then shared with him that the 11-year-old son would shoot the arrows into the wall and then with a piece of chalk draw perfect circles around the arrows.

The 11-year-old son found a different way to get the desired end result and had more time to play and rest.  I would have practiced for years to accomplish the same result based on a work ethic.  Go figure!  Now, rather than just working for work’s sake, can I figure out more efficient ways to accomplish the end result?

Do we need to create more opportunities or the time necessary to play?  Maybe decrease our perceived need for the large house, fancy cars and expensive educations?  Do we need to decrease debt and financial obligations that prevent us from resting even when we have scheduled rest?  Do we need to identify the “end result” and the means to that end?

I am looking for the balanced life, how about you?  I would love to hear your comments!!!

Dr. Brent

PS I don’t know if the farmer got the loan.  That is a blog topic for another day.


2 responses to “Balance Between Work, Play and Rest: Is it possible?

  1. It is only during my first year of retirement from a fulfilling and overly active career as a public school educator that I have been able to add the balanced component of “rest” to my life. What does that say for the healthy yet stressful mix of work, family life, play and lack of rest that enables us to attain a healthy life in retirement (with the rest component included)?????

  2. Thank you Marsha for your reply, I think sometimes we are juggling so much in the middle of our life with career, family, church, play etc that we miss the need to rest. One of the things I often tell my patients that want that quick fix is that the body needs time to heal, likewise so does our mind and spirit. Here is where I find that meditation has a great benefit for mind and spirit balancing.

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