Work and Play | Finding the Balance

A simple yellow dwelling, under a clear blue sky, above the Ilulissat Icefjord in Ilulissat, Greenland.

Work and play are two seemingly opposite parts of our life that, for many folk, are likely in conflict with each other. We're constantly driven to work longer and harder, yet we crave more time to rest, relax and play.

Greenland | A Study Of Opposites

The above photo is a study of opposites. We can break the image up, from a compositional point of view, into areas of warm and cool, ground and sky, earth and air. Folks that follow this site will know that my photos often explore such dualities in our world. It was a very simple photo to make, made during the early hours of the morning, under the midnight sun, in IlulissatGreenland.

The photo, from my point of view, isn't about a domestic dwelling in a very remote part of the world. On a simplistic level, that might explain where I was when I made the photo. But it's really about finding balance and harmony within a world of seemingly conflicting opposites.

Notice how the windows both reflect and, in a way, become the sky. Who'd have thought?

A bicycle parked alongside a colorful door and wall in an old part of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Heal Yourself, Heal The World

Many of us despair at the need to find balance in our lives. But to put aside enough quality time for the needs of our partners, children, parents and friends is beyond most of us. And let's not forget our own needs. Add into the mix a good dose of regular exercise and time for spiritual growth and it's clear why most of us find it impossible to satisfy these essential needs.

The incoming tide washes the remains of an iceberg onto the black sand beach near the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in Iceland.

Look to Your Own Needs Florence Nightingale

I believe the best way to help others, to be a more loving partner or parent, a more devoted child or a more caring and honest friend is by first looking after your own needs. To that end the benefits associated with creative expression through hobbies such as photography cannot be understated. 

Mindset is Key

While I have neither the expertise, theoretical or practical, to provide the solution we all seek I can, perhaps, throw a suggestion your way which may be helpful.

I like the notion that Our World is Love Given Life. Let's see how applicable that notion is with elements, large and small, within our daily lives. I'm sure you'd agree, though maybe not everyday, that your children are prime examples of love given life. Likewise I suspect a truly enlightened person could make this same connection with almost every aspect of their life. 

A man, relaxing in the shade with his dog, in the rural town of Merbein in far northwest Victoria, Australia.

Does it not then follow that our own lives, at least the untainted potential with which each of us are born, are also love given life. Drill down further and you could argue that every task we perform, even mundane and trivial tasks like washing the dishes, could also be seen to be acts of love given life. But only if they're done in the right spirit and with purpose.

A dandelion, backlit by a warm sunset, by the banks of the Harcout Reserovir, Harcourt, Australia.

The Solution

It's not so much about rebalancing our time as it is realigning our perspective concerning what it is we're doing throughout the day. I've been fortunate to have traveled to many amazing places throughout the world (e.g., Tibet, Iceland, Greenland, Antarctica, India), but I've had experiences that are just as meaningful (e.g., playing in bands; lying on my back while looking up through a leafy canopy on a warm day; and being in love) within a kilometer of where I've lived at various times of my life. As I'm sure you have to.

I remember an important time for my folks, when there were five young kids to look after, was the time they spent doing the dishes after the evening people. It wasn't the task that was important, but the opportunity for connection that that task provided them. And it didn't cost a dime! It was active engagement, which simply doesn't happen when you're watching the tube. No wonder couples become estranged after years together. Too much TV and a lack of meaningful discussion is hardly a recipe for a successful marriage. Am I right?

Detail of two candelabrum on the altar of St. Peter's Eastern Hill Anglican Church in East Melbourne, Australia.

Your Future is Before You

If you're struggling in your job then, I suspect, the secret is to begin to see both the job and yourself in a very different way. No longer are you working so as to live. You are now living life through the work you do. No longer a cost centre or a dissatisfied employee, you're very purpose now is to solve problems and, thereby, make people happy.

Let me say that again, your purpose in life is to make people happy. And every time you do so your own happiness grows. You are living in the moment, just as you did on that beautiful day when your dad pushed you, so high, on your favorite swing, all those years ago.

Can you imagine how good that must feel? Well, you can do better. You can have that feeling back right now, today and everyday. Come on, be a child again by living in the moment, with purpose and pure intention. Meaning will follow, as will happiness. Who needs sugar? 

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru