Wednesday, March 26, 2014

All About Balance

We hear a lot of advice on balance. It's supposed to be found everywhere in our lives from our diets to our checkbooks, but achieving it is rarely as easy as it sounds.

Once during a yoga class the woman next to me could not maintain tree pose. She'd have it for a second but then she'd tremble and stumble precariously until both feet were on the mat. After failing a few times, she huffed loudly and our yoga instructor addressed her with the zen attitude you'd expect. "Some days it's harder to find our balance than others. Try not to get frustrated. I know you can do this pose, but it might not work for your body today." 

I personally have experienced days where balancing poses seem impossible, though the day before I felt like I could have held them for hours. I think what my yoga instructor said applies not only to our physical body but to all aspects of one's self.

As a writer, mathematician, yogi, runner, homebody, lover of the outdoors, knitter, reader, dog mom, fan of silence, and music enthusiast finding a comfortable, steady equilibrium can be an intense act of juggling that frequently ends in bruises and tears.

Fortunately, my day job keeps my analytically minded needs met while writing and reading allow me an outlet for my creativity. Unfortunately, all of those activities keep my body stationary which drives me crazy. I need exercise or I'll wind up in my crankypants grumbling at the dog for doing things like wanting to be pet or panting loudly.

In his book On Writing, Stephen King recommends that writers make a point of being active. He takes a regular 4 mile walk to clear his head and work through troublesome plot points. Walking is definitely a great thing for a writer. No matter how frustrated I am at the start of a walk, after half a mile or so I feel better and it's easier to figure things out. Like Stephen King I live in New England and despite my love for watching falling snow and curling up with a cup of hot cocoa I'm not walking 4 miles in the middle of a polar vortex.

Lucky for me, I love my yoga and that can be done in the warmth of my living room anytime. I try to practice every morning. That means I usually do it at least four days a week. Four days is generally enough to keep me satisfied and the crankypants safely tucked away.

No matter how much we plan and work on it, there will always be times when we feel off balance. The important thing to remember while we wobble through the day is that finding that balance isn't a final goal that will ever be complete. It's a constant work in progress.

What do you need to stay balanced?


  1. This is a wonderful post. I've definitely been struggling to find that balance lately and exercise has helped. Sometimes I get so caught in doing the housework and writing and taking care of the kids that I forget to take time for myself. Or if I do take time for myself, I feel guilty. I think I need to remember that balance and instead of saying I'll take time for me when there is time for me, I should be saying, I'll MAKE time for me like it's part of my schedule. And then NOT feel guilty about it :)

    1. Exactly! I try to remind myself that when I take time for me, I'm happier and more pleasant to the other people in my life. It's like taking time for me is really a favor to everyone else. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Somedays I feel like a clown juggling, and all the balls come crashing down. Lol

    Walking would be ideal, and I need to make time to do it every day.

    Glad to hear of your completion. Congrats! One step toward your goal.

    1. Thanks, Miranda! It is hard to celebrate completing a draft when my brain is ready to think about revisions but I can have my virtual party on the blog. :)

  3. Great post. I find that balance is a challenge for me as well. Sometimes it's difficult for me to get my creativity going after the day job, but exercise does help. Again, congrats on your draft! Can't wait to read all about your revisions/editing process!