Seeking and Finding Balance Close to Home

Today I am celebrating Balance. It’s such a beautiful word; it trips lightly over the lips almost like a ballet move. The French pronunciation is especially lovely, I think: Baaa lahns!

bal·ance
ˈbaləns/
noun
1.
an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.
“slipping in the mud but keeping their balance”
synonyms: stability, equilibrium, steadiness, footing
“I tripped and lost my balance”
2.
a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.
“overseas investments can add balance to an investment portfolio”
synonyms: fairness, justice, impartiality, evenhandedness, egalitarianism, equal opportunity

There are so many references to balance in our world: balance the checkbook, balance the ball, lose your balance, balancing act, find your balance, and so on. Today, nature seemed in perfect balance.

At 3:30 pm I decided to take a walk along the shore of our nearby harbor. It was a lovely day. That infernal wind we’ve been having sporadically this winter was nowhere to be found. The air was fresh and crisp and had just the right amount of chilliness for me. The sun was still shining providing just the right amount of warmth on my face. Everything was very calm. Balance was in the air.

I realized that I was experiencing one of those rare moments when nature is perfectly poised between winter and spring. The tide was dead low and there were ducks visible. But unlike the other day when they were manically mating, today they were calm and sat along the shore with their webbed feet tucked under them as though they, too, felt the calmness. It was that perfect moment between tides, when the water has not yet reversed its direction and all is still.

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Joggers were wearing winter jackets with shorts reflecting the need for some protection against the chill, but also a desire to shed those winter garments.

And then I spotted them. A few tiny bunches of orange crocuses poking out of the weeds along the roadside. I let out a little cry of joy when I saw them; they were such a burst of color in an otherwise muted landscape.

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All the boats in the harbor are still covered in their plastic packaging (not ecologically correct, I’m afraid), waiting for that first warm day when their covers come off. The osprey nest planted on the awning of a small boat is quietly waiting for last year’s resident osprey couple to return and take up residence. No sign of any life there yet.

Noting all these details I realized that balance was what I was experiencing. Balance is something that I now seek. Anyone who has had a combined work life and family life for several decades knows how unattainable balance can be during those years, strive as we might. I can still remember how as a much younger person I used to crave extremes, usually in the form of an adventure. Sometimes it worked out and sometimes it didn’t and when it didn’t I plunged into self doubt. My life was definitely not in balance during those earlier years.

Now I know that balance is acquiring certain habits and practicing them…no, savoring them. Avoiding extremes that will cause the boat to rock too much or maybe even tip over. Having the wisdom to say yes or no according to what is best for me at this time. It sounds almost boring but it’s not; instead, it’s peaceful. Now that spring is just around the corner and the pace of my life is picking up along with the demands, I must remember how important balance has become for me and how hard I’ve worked to achieve it!

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28 thoughts on “Seeking and Finding Balance Close to Home”

  1. Hello! Thanks for sharing your beautiful stroll of discovery and balance. I resonate with your need to say “no” when it’s really too much, and your joyous cry when you spotted the golden crocus. Peace be with you!

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    1. What a lovely, lovely piece.
      And what a challenge it is to find balance in the busyness of our days.
      Thank you for the reminder….

      It’s not easy to find, but my GOODNESS is it necessary.

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  2. It is a rare moment when you can take a walk with just the right amount of sun and breeze. I enjoyed my walk through your words this morning.
    (Good job with those photos!)

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  3. I love walking along the water, and miss the opportunity. There is a small pond I get to now & then. Your description made me want to return. It’s a lovely reflection that starts my day calmly. I hope it keeps you in balance all the week!

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    1. I can’t imagine my life without being close to water. I’ve spent all of my life (since age 9 when we left Queens to move to LI) near the water. I am sure there must be an equivalent in your life…a park, a meadow, a forest???
      I hope that there is. We never know where life will take us, and I sometimes try to imagine a life without the access I’ve had to wetlands and oceans and bays, and so on. And, yes, yesterday’s walk did refuel my balance, at least for now!

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    1. From what I know of you so far, your annual visits to a farm must present some opportunity for balance in your life. Your writing always seems so peaceful, so I know there is an inherent “balance” within you. Right now you are juggling so many things, not least of which is being such a good mentor on TWT and teaching, balance often seems elusive. Just grab whatever opportunity presents itself for now…the rest will come in time.

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  4. What you wrote about finding balance really speaks to me. When my kids were little, I didn’t really have much balance in my life, now that they are older and in one case basically gone, I am finding the desire and the need to create that balance in my life.

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  5. Ah, balance, how you hide from us all?!? 🙂

    >I realized that I was experiencing one of those rare moments when nature is perfectly poised between winter and spring. <

    This is the sentence that jumped out at me. Balance means such different things to different people. In your writing, the balance between seasons, between being chilly and warm, between being earth friendly and not, all just play so well into your theme.

    Thank you for bringing balance to our slices today! 🙂

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  6. Oh Barbara this was such a beautiful piece of writing. I enjoyed reading it so much. I think the older I get the more I need balance in my life instead of those wild ups and downs when I was younger. Older and wiser and knowing where my energy is best spent.

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  7. Hey! I just wrote something about balance as well. Great minds, you know. I read a piece a few weeks ago that talked about how finding balance is a set-up to fail and feel bad about yourself. Instead, this writer postulated, we should strive to integrate the different parts of our lives. It really spoke to me.

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  8. Beautiful description of your surroundings, Barbara. I like the evocation of the moments between winter and spring and between the tide coming in and the tide going out.

    You hit the nail on the head in the last paragraph: it’s all about “practicing.” Even people who’ve been doing yoga and meditation for decades can still feel out of sorts sometimes, but the continual practice allows us to get our lives back in equilibrium.

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