Finding balance

woman walking on fence
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woman in black dress holding balance scale
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What does ‘balance’ mean to you?

What does finding balance in life mean to you? And what imagery comes to mind? Do you picture a gymnast on a balance beam, scales of justice, or perhaps a busy working mum ‘juggling’ an armful of responsibilities? Do you imagine a calm, serene and peaceful individual with a balanced life? Do you think of pH levels, of acid and alkaline levels? Do you picture the natural physical balance often found in the animal kingdom, such as a flamingo standing on one leg? 🙂

What does finding balance mean to you?

A sliding scale.

Balance in life, if you’ll pardon the pun, might be seen as a sliding scale. Our ideas about living a balanced life can vary over time, they can fluctuate and move from one thing to the next and then back again. They can vary according to circumstances, insight from the people we meet, and from life experiences, for example.

Pleasing everyone or staying sane?

From observation, of myself and of others, I find that as social beings (and that applies to all of us as human beings, no matter how introverted, isolated or reclusive we think we are), balance in life is often a dance between managing the needs and expectations of others and our own.

We need to maintain our own inner equilibrium if we are to live life well and be the best we can in our relationships and in managing our commitments. And we need to be involved in a world full of connections and communication with other people for our own wellbeing, growth and happiness.

We all have a variety of mutual needs – for community, communication and contact that co-exist with more seemingly ‘individual’ needs of solitude, quiet, rest, repose, refreshment, healing and maintaining our own commitments and responsibilities.

Maintaining balance. 

An important part of maintaining a balanced, healthy and productive life involves growing in insight of what our needs are and how they interplay with the needs of others, especially those most close to us in our lives.

We need to also understand that maintaining this fine equilibrium may also sometimes mean saying ‘no’, taking a step back, and refocusing our time, energy and efforts, so that we can be replenished, we can keep up with our responsibilities and be our best selves for the people we love as well. If we aren’t sometimes ‘brave’ enough to say no from time to time then we may end up feeling stressed, becoming ‘frazzled’, burn out, and withdrawing from the people who mean so much to us because we just can’t cope.

We all need balance, and we all need to help each other find it, as well as to grow in understanding of ourselves and each other in our varied and unique ways of finding and maintaining such balance.

A fine art. 

Perhaps the art of living a balanced life is comparable to learning to ride a bicycle, learning to dance, to walk a tight rope or on a balance beam, or to becoming a person who is wise and discerning and capable of making just and noble decisions.

The common thread among these is that balance may be in a sense intuitive, but it is not complete at the outset – it takes time, practice, effort, perseverance, diligence, insight, and often help from other people.

So if you are feeling a bit ‘frazzled’ in life, maybe you feel run down, burnt out, over committed, with too much to do and too many people to please, not enough time, energy, ‘sanity’, or peace of mind, then perhaps it is time to take a step back, time to breathe, to think and figure out a healthier way forwards.

It is worth recognising that finding balance is a part of life, and it can be difficult and we may fall down a few too many times. We may feel like a toddler who is learning to walk, with legs like jelly, unstable in our ways. Yet, with practice, we will get stronger, more adept and before long we will be off and on our way, and able to walk, run and play, including with other people. We might be scarred from too many falls off our metaphorical bikes but we don’t allow those things to keep us from getting back up again, watching and learning from others, until it becomes ‘second nature’ to us and we look for new challenges and learning opportunities.

I do think finding balance is a fine art. One which isn’t always easy to communicate. But just as we can learn to dance, to ride a bike, to grow in wisdom, to walk a tightrope, to reach out to someone else as we are doing so, so too can we learn to hone our skills at finding balance in life.

It’s important to grow in being able to communicate this with others, because just as we are working through things to find balance in our lives, so too are they. We need each other, and we’re in it together, and although we may be making a lot of mistakes, with practice, patience and love we can create a ‘dance’ that is full of beauty, love, and passion.

Stumbling is a part of learning. And finding balance is a part of that process.

flamingo standing on brown soil
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two pink flamingos
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Beautiful Autumn

Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year. At least it is when the days are crisp, cool, and there is a hint of sunshine. I’m not so keen on those rainy, wind-swept blustery days, so it has been a blessing to wake up to the gift of some really special, sun-kissed autumnal mornings.

I live in a city, but you don’t have to wander too far before coming upon a park or green space that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s one of my favourite things about living where I do.

So, I’d like to share with you some of the tender moments of autumn that I captured during a stroll in the park last Saturday. I had a belated birthday lunch with a couple of good friends, which is one of the nice things about living in the city, so many options and opportunities to connect with people, and to enjoy some tasty cuisine – the variety seems endless! Afterwards I decided to walk home through the park, and I often find these walks some of the sweetest moments in my ‘ordinary’ life. I am so grateful to live in the hub of a city, but still to have nature around me in some way or another. The pace slows, people stroll rather than rush, and there is time – time to linger, to notice, to chat, or to contemplate life in solitude. There is time to watch the world go by, to observe individuals, joggers, photographers, students, older couples, young families, toddlers finding joy in the simple things like jumping up and down a pile of crisp golden leaves, or watching squirrels scampering to burry food for the winter. The squirrels were probably the most rushed creatures in the park, everyone else had more of a sense of ease about them, which if you are a city dweller you know that that isn’t generally the norm.

I hope you enjoy ‘pausing’ with me for a moment, to enjoy the beauty of these autumnal gifts. What is autumn / fall like where you are? Is there anything in particular that you love most about this season? Happy wandering, friends. x

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The pressure is on, the heat has been turned up, you’re in an oven or ‘fiery furnace’…but hang in there…you might just turn out stronger and brighter, just like this little piece of pottery! :)

Last week I wrote about how I went for the first time to a little place where you can paint pieces of pottery. This was a birthday treat from my mum, and we had an enjoyable ‘crafternoon’ getting creative and a little messy (or at least I was messy, with paint all over my hands!) painting pottery.

It was the first time I had done something quite like this, but it was a blast. Not only did I have a blast, but our pottery did too. It was dipped in some kind of a green glaze (all you potterers out there will know the technical terms for these things, I’m just a ‘newbie’) and then put in the heat of a kiln, and after a week it was ready for me to come and collect.

Here is how it turned out. Just my first ever attempt so hopefully if I have another go I can learn more about technique and do something a bit better. But it is full of fun and happy memories.

So a little piece of encouragement from a little piece of pottery – if in your life you find that the heat is up, the pressure is on and you’re in a ‘fiery furnace’ – stay strong, endure, persevere and let it pass – you might find that you emerge on the other side, stronger, shinier, more vibrant with your true colours radiating brightly for all to enjoy. Be encouraged, friends! 🙂

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