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Life is a balancing act

As a practical definition, balance is "the ability to stay upright".  Barring any physical challenges, people gain the ability to walk by learning balance.  I manage to stay upright, most of the time, when I'm walking although I have lost it in pretty bizarre situations.  Despite several years of ballet training, which is supposed to improve your balance, I have found myself losing my balance while walking in flip flops (I slide off the side of one, and fall over!) weird, I know, but that's me. (It's ok, the floor/ground/wall/whatever object I ran/fell into needed a hug!)  Nevertheless, I regularly practice balancing acts, such as walking on railroad tracks and concrete dividers, or standing on one leg while playing the violin, or climbing on tables or speakers while playing the violin, riding a bike or a scooter, or most recently, roller derby (to the shock and awe of friends and family)!! Imagine the reaction when I posted a picture on facebook of me playing the violin while skating around the track!!  For the record, I'm much better at stationary balance than ambulatory balance.  (In case you're worried, no fiddles were harmed during the skating while playing the Star Spangled Banner episode.)

I came to realize that all of the above activities were difficult if I was looking down and trying to move forward carefully and slowly, and I always maintained longer periods of balance when I looked ahead or up and kept moving at a steady pace.  There was something about having my eyes, at eye level or above, that helped align my posture which in turn improved my ability to stay upright.  Staying in motion also helped keep that alignment (for forward motion activities, such as railroad tie walking and roller derby).

Another aspect of the word balance is proportion or harmony between elements.  We would use this definition in describing a quality of a piece of art, design, or outfit.  In music, we learned to balance sound with silence, and orchestrate the song, piece, or composition with proportion between the bass and treble voices.  When teaching, I would encourage the students to spend time each day practicing and playing.  Financial gurus probably emphasize the balance between spending and saving.

This definition can also be applied to how we balance areas of our life such as work, friends, and family.  I'd like to say I'm pretty good at balancing work and family.   Sadly, I'm not and I need to improve on the proportion of time working to time spent with friends.  That was one of my goals this year and I've noticed that the above principle of looking up and forward has also helped me in balancing these three areas of my life.  So what does looking up and looking ahead mean in terms of keeping work and family and friends in a healthy, harmonious balance?

Well, "looking ahead" might include planning events and/or time to spend with friends during my week and putting them on the calendar.  "Looking up" would involve putting aside or finishing work and then leaving it so I can call friends and family and catch up with what's going on in their lives.

Another aspect of life that fits this definition of balance is the harmony between our spiritual, physical, and emotional parts of ourself.  And the key to proportion or balance in these areas is also "looking up".  In a previous post, I mentioned an area of struggle pertaining to faith in GOD to move in a certain area of my life.  I kept asking and praying for GOD to remove it and yet I kept stumbling over it, doubting and "losing my balance".  One day, in exasperation, I questioned GOD (this is my MO...struggle, struggle, struggle all while telling GOD I trust HIM, and then running out of patience and questioning HIM or "grilling" HIM, in most cases, about why HE hasn't responded) as to why this obstacle was so "huge" and I kept "stumbling" over it.  (Like it was somehow HIS fault)  He replied (as usual, in a very calm, rational way) "You keep looking at it.  Look at ME."

"Hm!! As if it's that easy", I thought to myself.  But, somewhat skeptically, I agreed to give it a try so I looked to GOD and kept looking "up" towards GOD as I kept moving forward.  And what do you know??? Lo and behold, the issue quit being a stumbling block and I was able to maintain my balance!  So, if you're having a hard time balancing in any area, try "looking up and ahead" and keep moving.  I'd love to hear your stories. :-)

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