Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rockin' Balance

Recently a friend of mine called me grounded. This statement floored me (and that is about the only grounded I ever seem to get). You see, I’m a Libra. And although I don’t follow my horoscope, I firmly believe that our characters are nicely formed at birth and that there is a lot of information out there in the world that could either guide us or explain us that we don’t tap into. The sign for Libra is a set of scales. The general gist of the associated personality is that she is always seeking balance.

It is true that I am a question asker. I like to solve problems. Hek, I will make problems just to have the chance to solve one. I like complicated and I navigate chaos naturally (though not easily). I have always tried to seek balance in my life. I have been unable to stay in jobs that did not allow for adequate work/life balance, even before I had children. To be honest (and that’s what we’re doing here isn’t it?), I was grateful to have children because it was the first time in my life I had an ‘acceptable’ excuse for wanting a life outside of my work. They even have a leave code for staying home with your children in the government. You just need to say it once and everyone nods and understands.

In my twenties I got a lot of blank stares when I listed off the things I wanted to do outside of my career. I was considered the unpredictable one, always on the brink of taking flight. I held down my jobs (I was contracting through my twenties) and was reliable and effective at my work but folks were always wise enough not to try to land me in any kind of permanence.

Balance refers to something serene and steady. This is true, except nobody talks about what it takes to find or keep balance. It is a constant chase and battle. The universe naturally likes to ebb and flow and us living things have to find a way to make an anchor, work a compass, read the tides, and recalibrate time and time and time again. A perfect balance in actuality requires pushing and pulling, entering and exiting, birth and death, giving in and fighting back, reassessing and re-examining over and over. There is nothing straight forward about finding balance.

Yesterday I watched my two children on a teeter totter. It was a four seater and other children of varying weights would come and join my two, bounce for a while and then leave again. Effort was continuous to keep the right equilibrium. Two lightest kids on one side. Heaviest kid forward, lightest on the opposite back seat. Little legs pushing up, little arms pulling on the handle, bums steadily bouncing – with gravity working as the silent partner. All in the name of balance.

To the naked eye, I might appear to be grounded. I seek to live in the heart and nucleus of the emotional, natural, physical and magical world. I like to work hard. I like to learn new things and also do things I am very comfortable with. I like to be running towards things and I like to get away sometimes. In my opinion all of this keeps me grounded.

I think the only way to find balance in any situation is to keep questioning, and looking for the best way to approach the particular set of circumstances. Contrary to popular belief, it does not happen without effort.

As I make my way through this maze of mothering and farming, I am forever tripped up with the number of times the game changes. Early on with my infants I learned that the sure rule of thumb was that as soon as you get something figured, it was going to change. When my daughter finally learned to crawl, I was set free of being the baby crane. But then I became the hazard hider. This rule continues to be true for parenting today. The same can be said of farming. Its important not to get too comfortable with outcomes. The world around you is ever-shifting and your job as a keeper/facilitator/parent is to respond. A full-time effort is required.

The act of balancing will always take work. Balance does not come because you have looked away and ignored the situation entirely. In fact in my experience, that is a sure way to make more work for yourself in the future. The result is one steadily confused human being. Someone always asking questions. Always in motion. Seemingly always unsatisfied.

Is this grounded? You know, in a way I suppose it is. It is someone dealing with the laws of the universe as they are. Forever in flux, like the electrons orbiting an atom, like planets circling their sun.

Don’t let anyone tell you your crazy when you look around and see the world unsteady before you. It means that you are working with gravity the way it requires. In constant action and reaction mode. If it feels like you just can’t get a handle on things sometimes, be comforted my fellow human. You may only be at the centre of the act of seeking balance.

Because we could all use a little less fretting about whether we’re getting it right. Right?


  1. Did you write that last paragraph just for me? try to assure me I'm not simply off my rocker? If so thank you, if not...thank you anyway!

  2. Ooh I love you. What a great post. Thank you for this. And hello by the way!


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