Balance in an Imbalanced World

Climbing Pikes Peak last summer, I discovered a trail marker I’d never known before.  Called Cairns, they’re stacked rocks that mark the trail.

When I first noticed them, I thought they were merely cute displays, like snowmen, that resting hikers had created.  Instead, I learned, they are guideposts leading the way down the trail.

They are also prime examples of balance.

Somehow, these stacked rocks survive winter weather and animals and winds and inexperienced hikers.  They remain, steady in purpose, throughout the seasons. The same can not be said for me.

Moving out of my own inertia, trapped in the busy-ness of life, I’d forgotten about balance and what it means to me.  Every person has different needs, but I learned in my North Texas days, that balance for me requires three things.

  • Exercise
  • Spirituality
  • Creativity

And then I had children.  There is no such thing as balance when you have babies.  It just is.  But my children aren’t babies anymore, and my times of solitude these past days, my need for a spiritual connection, has helped me to realize that all my frantic movement was served no purpose. 

Don’t get me wrong.  It was ABSOLUTELY necessary to create forward momentum in my life because I had grown stagnate (maybe a mite depressed), but once I found my momentum, I needed to recreate myself and my life in the best form for me.  

And that means balance.


I tend to get tunnel-vision when it comes to my goals, be they physical or spiritual, and pursuing them with laser focus, I lose sight of other building blocks in my life.

Last year, preparing for the Pikes Peak hike, I let other areas of my life slide as I focused my energies on becoming physically fit for the hike.  Now I’m putting on a little flab as I work tirelessly for my writing.  And all of this has created a strong need in me for solitude, for meditation, for spiritual connectedness.  And I haven’t let that be my focus in… awhile.

Like a comforter in a washing machine, I’m out of balance.

All that I’ve done is right for me, but I rush in headlong without finding the right balance between my goals and every facet of my personality.  And it’s to my detriment.

The hiking and physical fitness are a strong need for me.  I am a better mother and a better person and a better writer when I am physically active and fit, but I don’t have the easy lifestyle that dedicating my time to fitness requires.  At the same time, I need writing to keep sane, and that’s not poetic license.  Creativity is what holds me together, what connects the disparate events in my life and how I express myself in the midst of the chaos.  But when I focus on those things without refilling my well, I get burnt out.  Fast.  My spirit needs to replenish.  

I need all of those things to be me.

Not one at the exclusion of all else.  I cannot move through life in a series of frantic progressive actions followed by months of inactivity.  Physical health requires consistent action.  Writing requires consistent progress.  And the spirit needs time to refill, reflect and renew.

These things together give me balance.  They help me to remain steady through the darkest days, the least loyal friends, and the greatest fears.  Balancing these disparate rocks in my life keeps me steady and gives me a guidepost to follow through the trail of my life.

Balance isn’t everything.

But it is an important thing.