A New, Awe-Inspiring Way To Balance Work With Home Life

What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare. No time to stand beneath the boughs, 
And stare, as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
 Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

 No time to see, in broad daylight,
 Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

 No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
 And watch her feet, how they can dance.

 No time to wait till her mouth can
 Enrich that smile her eyes began.

 A poor life this is if, full of care,
 We have no time to stand and stare. Leisure, William Henry Davies 

People frequently ask me to help them to make better use of their time and to bring more balance into their lives. They want more enjoyment out of living and less stress, with more energy to carry out their daily responsibilities. As with everything else that I decide to tackle with my heart and mind, I thought deeply about this problem.

What does it mean to balance work with home life responsibilities? What are you really asking? What do you really want? Do you want to feel more poised and steady as you carry out your daily tasks? Perhaps, you need more time to relax, more time just for you, to bring this about? If so, stress and time management training is in order here. Or, maybe you want to reduce responsibilities in one area of your life, so you are more in balance with the other? Then, learning to say “no” (assertiveness and boundary training) is what you need. Or maybe, you wish to get better at fulfilling work and home tasks, so that you can do what you do with more ease and satisfaction?

There’s nothing wrong with these goals, or the treatments to make them happen, accept that they may not get to the heart of what your trouble is really all about. I’m not sure that what is really bothering you is a lack of knowing how to do things better. After all, most of you have been managing your work and home lives for many years, now. You schedule work tasks, manage job projects and parent your children. You pay bills, cook meals, grocery shop, put gas in your car, and get your family and you to a variety of self-care and improvement appointments. And, in between all of this, you exercise, dance, do yoga, or run, just so you can be in good enough shape, to get up and do it all again, tomorrow.Whew! I’m exhausted, just talking about it.

If you want to stop the world and get off, I don’t blame you. I too can feel this way, at times. But, when I’m feeling stressed and time-starved, what I want most is more enjoyment from the little time that I have to take care of me. Indeed, there’s more to life than just carrying out your daily responsibilities. I’m going to help you to manage your work with home life, by showing you how to get more enjoyment out of the little time that you do have. It’s time to seek out experiences that make you feel more alive.

Let’s Bring More Awe-Inspiring Moments into Your Life

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. Albert Einstein.

What is awe? Existential master and theorist, and my colleague and friend, Dr. Kirk Schneider, has a lot to say about this topic. Awe is an inner aliveness that can be sparked through religious and spiritual encounters, nature, music, art, philosophy, poetry, love-making, or a deeply meaningful talk with another person. It is a connection to the moment that heightens inner feeling and stops your mind from thinking, temporarily. Thinking gives way to the “wow” of the moment. It may take your breath away, as in a mystical, spiritual experience, or just ground you, fully, in the present moment (Awakening to Awe). Awe-inspiring moments uplift you, which buffers you against the negative effects of stress. The more awe you have in your life, the greater your fulfillment and and more balanced you will feel.

Today, many of you do not seek enough awe-inspiring experiences that more than one study has shown promote a healthy mind and spirit.  Researchers Rudd, Vohs, and Aaker (2012, Psychological Science) found that awe, when compared to happiness, expands people’s perception of time, alters decision-making, enhances wellbeing, reduces people’s sense of time pressure, and increases the willingness to bring more awe-inspiring experiences into daily life. This results in more living satisfaction and reduced stress.

When you start to feel like you exist solely to satisfy the needs of your employer and family members, you can become a disgruntled, unbalanced camper. Your zest for life weakens, along with your physical and mental health.

Melancholy Baby by Deana

Take for example, my sister Deana. A normal workday for her ends no earlier than 8 PM each day. And, there are days when she is working through midnight, to fulfill work tasks. Deana is a pediatric psychologist who helps autistic and learning disabled children to get the services they need to thrive at home and at school. In addition to doing the comprehensive testing and therapy of these children, she routinely writes reports, attends hospital departmental meetings, school district hearings, and anything else that is required to help these children. Outside of work are doctor and grooming appointments, grocery shopping, paying bills, and everything else that it takes to run her life. And, if she’s up to it physically, she may get an exercise session or two into her work week.

Of course, something has to give. And, for Deana, like many of you, it was in the area of her personal interests and care. For awhile, the creative, lively young woman whom I know and love so dearly had lost her spark. She plopped into bed at the end of the evening exhausted, anxious, and wondering what life is really all about.

Deana intuited rightly that it was joy that she needed to improve her life. She used whatever time that she had left after the work day, to unleash her inner aliveness. First, she started to play the drums, which really energized her. Feeling more alive opened up her desire to paint and draw, once again. Suddenly, my sister, and my best friend, wasn’t calling me as much during the day. She’d rush home to paint. She was absorbed, awe-inspired, and managing her life very well.

Like Deana, you have to unleash your inner aliveness, to reduce your stress and balance-out your life. The steps that follow show you the way to more awe. Are you ready?

1. Let’s make time stand still. To get to awe, you have to lose yourself to the moment. You have to make time stand still by how you connect to the moment. But, you cannot begin to do this, if your attitude toward time stresses you out and unbalances you. Let me get you started. The following statements come to my mind.

“Time is going by too quickly.” “I don’t have enough time.” “I’m running out of time.” “Time is getting ahead of me.” “I can’t keep up with time.”

Now you try this. What did you find? Does your attitude toward time make it seem like it is racing ahead of you?  Time is limited, that’s true. But, you can make time stand still through experiences that engage you fully in the moment and bring you more awe.

2. Find what moves you and lose yourself in it. Do you sing, play music, draw or paint, write poetry, sculpt, love pets or nature, get inspired by religious, spiritual, or philosophical literature? Perhaps, you get pulled into moments of awe through novels that awaken deep inner feeling within you.

You can find awe everywhere, if you seek it out. You can spend more time with young children or pets, for whom everything is new and amazing, and more time in nature. Or, go to places you’ve never gone before and try things you’ve never tried. For example, after my sister Dorothy passed away, in December of 2004, I decided to take my mother to Lourdes, France. The Story of Bernadette, the young peasant woman, who saw the Virgin Mary in a grotto, was a story of my childhood that made a big impression on me. I knew my mother needed something quite special to comfort her. So, off we went to Lourdes, France, for a special adventure.

Two awe-inspiring experiences from the trip stand out, for me. The day we visited the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes,  we sat in the pew and grief began to pour out of my mother. She said, “If I had to lose her (my sister Dorothy), then it should be to Mother Mary; she’ll take good care of my baby.” The deep feeling of the moment overwhelmed us both, as we sat in awe of a higher purpose that we may not fully understand, but of which we have faith. We were inspired, despite our grief.

That evening, we returned to our room. It was dark, when we started to hear singing. My mother stood on the couch, so that she could see outside the window. With the excitement of a young girl, she said, “Deb come here.” “Look, isn’t it wonderful?” Visitors and townspeople walked side-by-side singing and holding candles, as they strolled to the grotto to pray to Saint Bernadette and the Virgin Mary. We were in awe. But, what filled me most with awe was the childlike innocence of my mother, at that moment. In our pajamas, we stood on the couch together, peering out of the window, oohing and ahhing, like sisters letting each other in on a big secret. Indeed, the town of Bernadette is healing.

You don’t have to go far to get awe, you can visit spiritual sites near you, take in a great sunset, or great works of art, or be inspired by a great piece of literature, music, or a film.

Just do whatever it is that moves you. Do not put effort into finding awe. Just enjoy, immerse yourself fully; let time stand still. Awe will be there.

3. Were you inspired? Did you find awe? What did it feel like? Now that you know how it feels, go after this experience once again. Use the little time you have in your life to fill yourself up with awe.


It is refreshing to know that it’s inspiration, rather than perspiration, that will help you to balance your work with home life. This doesn’t mean that you can’t learn how to relax or manage your time better. But, if you really want to reduce your stress, you have to get a new, inspired perspective on life.

I hope you discovered something new in my post today that you can use to better your life. You can hear Dr. Kirk Schneider talk about Awakening Awe in Your Life at KQED Radio Interview: Dr. Kirk Schneider on Awakening to Awe In Your Life. Additionally, the following YouTube Video is of Dr. Kirk Schneider giving a talk on Awakening to Awe at The Brooklyn Society For Ethical Culture. Enjoy.

If you liked my post today, please say so, by selecting the Like icon immediately below. And, if you wish for others to know more about how they can balance lives, through awe, just let Google know by selecting the google icon  below.

Have an awe-inspired day my friends. Warmly, Deborah.





3 Responses to “A New, Awe-Inspiring Way To Balance Work With Home Life”

  1. avatar Deana says:

    You’re right. Something was lacking. I felt so unfulfilled, and knew something had to give. Beyond some of the practical adjustments I made that helped streamline my work life, I made a decision to spend my non-work time doing activities that fulfilled and enriched me. FYI I absolutely love the image of you and mom standing on the couch in Lourdes in your jammies, like two school girls, taking in such a beautiful Awe-inspiring experience together!!! Anyway, as I was reading your article, a wash of excitement came over me. You actually gave a name to something I have always felt, but never really understood. I realized that it is chasing Awe that has dominated most of my waking moments since early childhood. Mysteries, plays, God-seeking, the occult, road adventures, exploring the mind, stream of consciousness activities, creating something from nothing, food, music, flowers, boyfriends, yoga, mountains, forests, laughter, etc. If I could, I would live in this state perpetually, but then I’d never bathe, and that wouldn’t be good. I think my next foray into Awe may be an archaeological dig. What say you? You wanna come? What Awe-some discoveries we would make! Thank you so much for writing this beautiful article today. xoxoxo

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hi Deana, you are awe-inspiring—the way you approach your challenges and life. I know (Lourdes image), the memory and its special quality is so vivid in my heart and mind. Yes, I see that it is awe that you’ve been chasing. You are so right. We have to thank Dr. Kirk Schneider for his work in this area. Don’t forget to take me on the archaeological dig. Of course, I want to come along. Much love to you Dee, Warmly, Sister Deborah.

  2. This is another wonderful article, Debbie. It makes so clear how we can increase our sense of fulfillment, while trying to handle all the time-consuming and stresses aspects of living. Great!


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