Wednesday, October 26, 2011

At the Threshold of Balance

It's no secret that over the last two weeks, since returning home from Chicago, I've been thinking about balance. I started out by diving into a plan of how to achieve it, but realized that there is a bigger question that has to be answered: What does balance mean to me anyway? I can't develop a plan for balance if I don't have a target of what balance looks like for my life.

For me, balance does not mean focusing on any one thing to the exclusion of others. My life is a dance, moving from side to side of the dance floor. Each side has something different to offer, something different it needs. It encompasses so much more than one "thing." I don't think there is one word that can capture all of this: Photographer/Teacher/Writer/Engineer/Mother/Wife/Friend. There is no all or nothing.

In my photography, balance starts with deciding what is in and out of the frame before I take the picture. But it doesn't stop there, it continues as I play around with different compositions and views. I need to remember I'm doing the same in life - experimenting and playing with the elements that make up my life to create a balanced whole. There is no realistic expectation that says we will get it all right and perfect on the first try.  There is no realistic expectation that we will get it all right and perfect, ever. Maybe perfection happens for a brief moment in time, but life is subject to change.

I'm at the threshold of balance right now. Deciding what is in and out of the frame of life. From there I'll experiment with the details and see how to make things fit in a balanced way. It feels much simpler and freer to think of it as an experiment, where I'm testing to see the outcome, than as a commitment where I "fail" if I don't get it right.

What does balance mean to you? How do you manage this ever-changing process of achieving balance in your life?


  1. OK, I just printed out Christine Kane's latest ezine and #2 on her list of 52 ways to build your courage is: Starting right now, live your life as an experiment. So there you go!! I love your analogy of the photo frame and, yes, the composition is constantly changing!

  2. good question. so far I only achieved brief moments of balance but could never maintain it for long. I'm about to take a step back from the life I had for the past 10 years, to take a break and slow down, and hope it helps me find what really matters to me. I think too many things snuck into my life that were never really me, but that I now try to balance with all the things that are. and I'm afraid that's where the imbalance I feel more and more comes from... not sure if I'm on the right track with any of this, tho...

  3. I too really relate to your thoughts of making this an experiment - especially since I suffer from a very strong perfectionist streak. Giving myself permission to just see how it goes - that would be good.

  4. balance what is that, i either spend no time or all my time on one project or another, i wish i knew how to achieve perfect or even any balance ha ha!

  5. The thing with balance is that it's always changing. Different things weigh differently on or scales at different times so there is always a juggle. I think it is important though, to do what you doing and adjust things so that they are more manageable. I'm feeling fairly balanced at the moment, but I know that won't last!

  6. @Patty, I love Christine Kane and her music too.

    Kat, your post really resonated with me. Balance is a perpetual struggle in my life and I love how you connected the concept with photography with the "in" or "out" of the frame analogy. Lots of food for thought here. I've been so focused on filling up every spare moment with my photographic projects that I'm a little strung out. Some things will have to go as I make room for more of what I want to do without the rest of my life going to hell in a handbasket. To go back to Christine Kane for a minute, she talks a lot about having a "system" in place so that balance occurs a little more naturally. I have to agree. To me balance means I'm doing a good job with my systems, getting the details of life taken care of so that I can focus as much time as possible on creative pursuits. Heck, this is a blog entry in and of itself, so I'll shut up now. Great post, though! Thanks for making me think about it.

  7. Balance is a hard thing to keep going. When I find myself getting a bit stressed I know I hvae to step back and look to see if my 'balance' is off. Usually it will be, so I relax and think about how to put it back in balance again. Not too much of anything, not trying to be super woman, not being a perfectionist, play, work, sprituality, love, etc are all things I try to think about, to keep in balance. I try to find my joy and things will balance out.

  8. Balance - urgghhh! wish it could be found in a box on the shelf at Trader Joe's! I'd like to buy some. Seriously, most days I don't have balance & I don't even have kids at home (just a husband who gets up at 4:30am & slips into bed at 8:00pm - is busy grading his grad student's papers online; in addition to working a 40+ hour work week)... My struggle comes from being too much of a perfectionist at work... it eats up time & is it really worth it? does anyone really notice?
    I just go with the flow ~ post & read blogs when I have time! Now - that's another word to ponder! TIME - I'd like to buy some of that too.

  9. Balance is a word and concept that I have worked on and continue to work on in my life. I start by meditating and journaling each morning so I at least start the day off focused and centered ~ then there is the physical piece and I use Yoga, walking and drumming to strengthen that aspect and then their is the spiritual and most of that comes through creating ~ with sketching, painting and photography ~ Thanks for posing this question ~ namaste, Carol ^_^ (A Creative Harbor)


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