We had the good fortune of connecting with Kendra Cunov and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kendra, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I actually dislike the phrase ‘work/life balance’, because I believe it sets us up (especially as women) to aspire to something fairly unattainable.
In nature, or in yoga class, ‘balance’ is brief. It’s something we see or do for, at most, several minutes at a time. Maintaining balance takes constant awareness and continual micro-adjustments, and we will often *feel* out of balance the entire time. This leads people to judge themselves for not having ‘achieved work/life balance’ – as though this is a state one can attain and then stay there.
The truth is, conditions are always shifting, and, in order to stay in alignment, we must shift with them.
This is why I prefer the terms ‘flow’ and ‘rhythm’ to ‘balance’.
Connecting with our own right rhythms (inhale/exhale, alone time/together time, rest time/play time, active time/quiet time, productive time/creative time…), as well as including the right rhythm of our family, children, and work, allows us to create flexible structures that support our bodies, our health, our wellbeing, and our work in the world. Being in the flow of our lives allows us to meet each moment and each day with a sensitivity to what is needed now, in order to support of highest vision and deepest values. Most days this will *look* ‘out of balance’, in the sense that some part of our lives is taking priority on this particular day. If we are truly connected to both right rhythm and flow, ultimately it doesn’t matter so much if there is ever ‘balance’, but more-so if we are staying connected to that which is most important to us.
When my children (now 8 and 12) were younger, I spent much more time each day with them. I even took a babysitting job to make ends meet, so I could earn money while I was still with my children. You could say I was ‘out of balance’ in that I had very little time for my teaching work in the world. But in truth that was simply the right rhythm and flow for that time in my life.
There was a period of time where what felt best was to travel for 7-14 days at a time, and teach intensively during that time, and be able to focus more on family and children when I was home.
These days, I prefer spaciousness baked into most days, rather than extended vacations away from work. Sometimes I take a full day off in the middle of the week and work a bit on weekends.
For myself, as well as working with hundreds of people who struggle with ‘work/life balance’, what I have found to be most important is orienting our internal compass towards our truest values, and that which we are most deeply devoted to, and not worrying so much about whether we are ‘in balance’ at any given time, but allowing ourselves to micro-adjust at any moment along the way to bring ourselves into more alignment.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been teaching and facilitating in the realm of personal growth and relationships for nearly 20 years.
What started out as teaching men and women to have better relationships with each other has grown into working with people from the perspective that all of life is relationship – relationship with self, with friends, with lovers, with family, with our children, with the earth, with spirit (or god), and with life itself…
I am deeply proud of offering a truly nuanced and wholistic set of teachings, practices, and frameworks that any person, of any gender, race, sexual orientation, or walk of life can apply to their lives.
I would say I am where I am today (successful by my own measure, insofar as I am living a life that I want to be living) simultaneously through taking risks and making choices that were outside the box, staying incredibly true to myself and what I value in the world, and through the collaboration and support of incredible people along the way!
While I don’t think my story is THE way, what I most want to convey through my story is that there ARE other ways, beyond the mainstream narrative, beyond ‘industry standards’, beyond what people will tell you you need to do in order to succeed. I truly believe the most important thing any of us can do is stay deeply true to ourselves, and create the world we want to live in by living as though it were already so.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Honestly, I am The Worst at this, because I am such a homebody! I love cooking at home. I prefer cozy socks and a good book to going out. If a friend was visiting, I would be more interested in our conversations than where we went.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
OhMyGoodness – SO MANY people! I would not be who I am today if my mother hadn’t gone off the beaten path and raised me in a Buddhist community that was literally in the middle of the wilderness in Northern California. I owe my life to growing up deeply connected to nature, comfortable in darkness, and in love with how sweet silence can be.
I am also deeply grateful to have had a best friend who I literally met as an infant. As n only child, raised by a single mom, she is my sister, my person, my true partner in life.
I have been incredibly lucky to have teachers and mentors throughout my life, all the way from grade school teachers who offered more creative ways to learn, to high school teachers who took us on extended trips into the desert, to spiritual teachers within the Zen community, to yoga mentors, and women who I witnessed daring to live their lives differently than what seemed to be prescribed by our culture.