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Posts Tagged ‘Equilibrium’

Change and Balance

Wow, how time flies! It seems like just yesterday I was posting my last blog, getting ready for this one. And yet, it has been several weeks. It does not seem possible!

In the meantime, I have been thinking a lot about the relationship between change and balance — how it is possible to change my habits and still maintain balance in my life. Or maybe I should say, change my habits and restore the balance in my life. What do I mean by this? Simply that I want to live my best life fully and mindfully on every level of my being: mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional.

Hmm . . . well . . . maybe achieving balance is not so simple after all. For example, what do I mean when I say I want to live my life “fully and mindfully”? In this case the answer really is simple: I want my life to be as happy, fulfilled and meaningful as I can make it by being present in each and every moment.

But how do I do this, and exactly what does it mean to be in balance? The answers to these questions may take a little more thought.

When I am trying to get clear on a concept, I usually go to the dictionary first and so that’s where I headed when I started writing this post. I found several meanings for balance as both noun and verb at Dictionary.com, including:

  1. a state of equilibrium, or something that brings about such a state;
  2. a mental steadiness or emotional stability;
  3. the act of weighing factors, quantities, etc, against each other;
  4. harmony in the parts of a whole (as in an artistic composition);
  5. to produce an aesthetically pleasing or harmoniously integrated whole;
  6. to move in rhythm to and from; to move forward and backward or in opposite directions (as in dance).

I have to admit, I had not consciously thought about all these different variations on the meaning of balance. However, I like them all and would like to incorporate each one into my own personal definition. For me then, balance is a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual state of equilibrium that weighs each part of the whole and moves in a steady rhythm to produce a harmoniously integrated whole.

Whew! That’s quite a mouthful! Thomas Merton1 says it much more succinctly: “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”

In striving to attain balance on any level, I believe it is our thoughts even more than our actions that determine what sort of vibrational energy we send out and what we can expect in return. In other words, whatever changes we decide to embrace, be they large or small, our thoughts about the change are as important as the actual behavioral or situational modification.

While doing a little research for this blog post I came across a web site I really enjoy. It is called Evolving Stacey: Where my story unfolds . . . by Stacey Hoffer Weckstein. According to Stacey (and I agree), if the anticipated change and your thoughts associated with that change do not make you feel good, the change will not be beneficial to you and you will be out of balance across the many areas of your life.

But sometimes, no matter how hard we try to stay balanced we can find ourselves lolling about in the doldrums. As Stacey puts it, “In life, at one time or another, we all find ourselves in a life balance slump.” She illustrates her point in a fun way with this excerpt from Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss2: 

 Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers, who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t. Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true
and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” 

Stacey also quotes author Stephen R. Covey, who says that “Voice is the overlapping of the four parts of our nature: our mind, our heart, our body, and our spirit.”  She suggests one way to lift yourself out of the slump and restore your equilibrium on all four levels is to find your voice, and then ask yourself “How am I balancing the different parts of my voice?” The following four questions may help you both discover your own voice and find the balance in your life:

Mental/ Mind: What am I good at?
Physical/ Body: What need can I serve?
Emotional/ Heart: What do I love doing?
Spiritual/ Spirit:   What is life asking of me? What gives my life meaning and purpose? What do I feel like I should be doing? What is my conscience directing me to do? 

To help you get going, here are a few more thoughts on balance:

“Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.”
Brian Tracy (American television host)

“I always try to balance the light with the heavy – a few tears of human spirit in with the sequins and the fringes.”
Bette Midler (Actor and comedian)

“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.”
Barbara de Angelis (American researcher on relationships and personal growth)

And finally, click here to download Stacey’s free e-book How to Practice the Art of Life Balance, a collection of inspiring life balance resources and stories.

Blessings,

This Old Crone

1.  Thomas Merton,  Trappist Monk, Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey in Trappist, Kentucky, 1915-1968.

2. Geisel, Theodor Seuss. Random House January 22, 1990

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