Ripples #1152: Balancing


We can teeter in the wind or steady ourselves against outside forces. As we find balance, others can lean on us.
-source unknown (adapted slightly), shared by Stephanie in Boulder, CO


We are all made up of the same essential elements. All of us are singularly unique in so many ways but essentially the same. Balance is the most important thing to try to reach and hold. That is most difficult because the fulcrum is always moving depending on the forces that move us everyday. Too much happy is sickening, while too much darkness is tragic. We need varying amounts of good and bad to shape and grow. Pressure or stress is necessary to motivate or we like to sit and do nothing. Always happy is just as bad as always sad. Have a great day and a wonderful life of ups and downs.
-written and shared by John in Corvallis, Oregon


I recently started my morning routine with one of Jeff Warren’s “Daily Trip meditations in the Calm App (I swear neither Calm nor Mr. Warren pay me to rave about them…I just dig them both!). This particular meditation focused on balance, and Jeff made a useful distinction between achieving a state of perfect balance (which is elusive in a constantly changing world) and the art of balancing (which seems more manageable since it involves making minor corrections as you move through life).

Later that morning I was out for my daily walk, still pondering Jeff’s comments about balance. I had a flash of insight as I hopped up on a wooden railing that I often walk across as an exercise in maintaining physical balance. I realized that when I was standing still on a post, it was relatively easy to find and maintain my balance. When I was walking, however, it was a bit trickier and required careful focus and frequent adjustments.

The rest of my walk had me pondering the difference between balance (the noun) and balancing (the verb). It occurred to me that one reason many of us bristle at the phrase “work/life balance,” is that as a noun, the word balance implies a permanent, fixed state which isn’t realistically sustainable given the constant change that swirls around us. Life has ups and downs, work does too….and they don’t always synch up smoothly!

For me, the term “work/life balancing” does a better job of recognizing ongoing, ever-changing nature of our lives. It also hints that finding balance requires almost constant effort in the form of frequent small adjustments and occasional big shifts.

So if you’re curious and interested, join me this week as we experiment with balancing (the verb), while avoiding the temptation of fixating on balance (the noun).



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