balance – that ever elusive concept


(photo from Google Images)

Lately I have been thinking a lot about balance.

My word for the year is “happy,” but my journey on happiness has lead me to think a lot about that concept of balance.

When I looked up the actual definition of balance in Merriam-Webster, I found a lot of options, all of which in some way could apply.  The definition for the balance I was really thinking of was this:

: mental and emotional steadiness
bal·anced adjective
in the balance or in balance

: with the fate or outcome about to be determined <our future hangs in the balance as we await his decision>
on balance

: with all things considered <the meeting went well on balance>

Mental and emotional steadiness.  That is part of the happiness journey.  Balance must be in place – mental and emotional steadiness – in order for happiness to not only be allowed to enter, but actually resonate.

I have been reading a lot on this topic over the course of the year, but the one book that has stood out so far is 10 Mindful Minutes by Goldie Hawn.  Yes – the actress.  It is one of those books {especially if you have children that struggle (like I do) with how to handle their emotions and anxiety at times} that are potentially life-altering.  She knows her stuff and the book has me thinking about things from a totally different perspective.

Now – I know that to my family this might come as a shock – but I am a pessimist.  I always have been.  I have been anxious my whole life.  I joke that I was raised Lutheran with Catholic guilt.  I would have sleepwalking fits before tests in high school.  If I ever broke a rule, I freaked out and waited for the worst.  I have always been that way and continue to struggle with it now.  Only now the stakes are bigger and higher…

I now understand that I might have an apple that didn’t fall far from the tree and that I need to demonstrate better ways to manage my anxiety and stress in an effort to help him learn better ways to handle his own.  We are going to tackle this together, like we have been, but from a different angle.  I am going to be happier.  I am going to be more balanced.  I am going to learn how to be more positive.

Tonight I sat outside and closed my eyes.

I took time just “be.”

If I sit inside I hear the dishwasher ding and beg to be emptied and reloaded.  I hear the dryer buzz as laundry finishes.  I see something that needs to be cleaned up or put away.

I never just sit.

Tonight I did.

And do you know what?  I smelled the lilacs growing outside my front door.  I love that smell.

I heard birds chirping in the distance and crickets singing their song as the sun was starting to set.

I heard a dog bark and a baby cry and cars whizzing down the road a block over.

And I took a deep breath.

I felt my shoulders relax.  I felt my tension start to melt away.  And I was grateful.

Grateful for that moment – those sounds, that smell, and just the peace.

Finding balance in the midst of the turmoil is not easy – it never is.  And this was only a small piece of that happiness/balance puzzle.  But, for a few small moments tonight, I felt it.

And it. Was. Awesome.

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