I’m grateful that I’m making progress toward a more balanced life…
As a mother of 6 children, there are always plenty of things to do. In addition to all the roles I play as a mother, I’ve also been very involved in church and community service, as well as running my own business of teaching Kindermusik classes–music classes for young children. I’ve worked hard and pushed through a lot since my high school days, always staying very busy and involved in a lot of things. Through all of these years, I’ve experienced some kind of trial with my health, but I’ve usually been able to push through and continue to stay involved. My illness would be considered an invisible one, where most people don’t see from the outside what is going on inside. I used to say to myself, “Fake it ’til you make it.” I would push and push, paying very little attention to what I needed to do to take care of myself.
About 6 or 7 years ago, this finally started to catch up to me. I didn’t really notice its effects at first, but gradually I started to realize that I was feeling irritated all the time. I was deeply tired to the point where I couldn’t push anymore, and eating was becoming more and more of a challenge as my body continued to react to more foods and my stomach hurt all the time. There were many other physical symptoms as well, but I had been living with those for so long and they had become such a part of me that I guess I just got used to dealing with them. They certainly weren’t my friends, but I had learned to tolerate them.
As things started to get worse, it became harder to tolerate my symptoms, and harder to push through them. I had been going to a variety of doctors and health care professionals, and they all kept telling me that I needed to slow down, de-stress and take better care of myself. I didn’t listen very well. I kept thinking that I could still handle it all; that I could keep pushing at the same level and still somehow get feeling better. It wasn’t until I really started crashing that I finally began to pay attention. Thank goodness I didn’t crash extremely low, but I could feel an inner weakness happening and I started to realize that if I didn’t make some changes, I was really going to crash, in a way that would maybe be very difficult to rise from.
Balance; that’s what I needed!!
Balance… I believe it’s one of the key things to learn in this life. One definition that I found for balance, as a noun is: “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.” Another definition, as a verb: “keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall.” Both of these definitions use the word “steady”. If we have balance, we are able to be steady; remain upright and not fall.
Finding balance is something that I’m always seeking for and working on. I believe in order to have optimal health and joy in life, we need to have balance–physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. That makes a lot of things to work on, and it can be very overwhelming at times. So I think it’s important to have good perspective on this, gathering knowledge for the things we will need to do, then moving forward with implementing those things one step at a time.
The stones in the picture were carefully positioned one stone at a time, being adjusted and moved around until they were in just the right spot where they could remain steady. Each stone tower that is built is going to be balanced in different ways. Some of the stones may take longer to get in a place where balance will be achieved, and some of them may stay for a while and then fall, needing to be adjusted again into a more stable position. And some of the stones may never fit into the right position and will need to be tossed aside, with a new stone being discovered that will take its place and remain steady.
We can learn about balance for our own lives through this stone tower metaphor. Each one of us is unique and will need to build our own towers in different ways to achieve balance for our own lives. As we gather pieces of information from various resources along our journey, we should choose the stones that we feel will fit the best for us to achieve our own balance. Some of the pieces may work for a while, but may only be temporary. After a while we may need to toss them aside and find other stones that create a better balance as we move forward. And with some of the stones, we may find that they just don’t work for us at all, and so we keep searching for better stones that will fit for our own personal tower.
We have to find what works for us individually and be willing to work at it for a while to find the right stones that will help us to become more steady. None of the towers are perfect and none of them are the same. Balance is different for each of us, and although we may not be able to create the perfect balance in our lives all the time, I believe that we can work toward that and find a place where we can feel more steady and remain upright as we travel through our journey and our trials, whether they be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.
I’m getting better at building my stone tower now. I am still learning and feel that I have much more to learn, but now instead of running so hard and fast all the time and constantly knocking my tower off balance, I’m carefully looking for the right stones and taking the time to put each one into its correct position. It’s a work in progress, and I think I’m finally heading toward a more balanced life!