“Balance is not something you can find; it’s something you create” (ANON)

For many, the December holidays and approach to the New Year is not only a time of relaxation and family fun, but also a time of reflection: How did my year go? Was there anything that I could have done differently? Could I have achieved better results? For some, the year has been painful – sickness, loss, loneliness, confusion, and financial pressure.

At times, life can be incredibly challenging. It seems like the persistent waves of the ocean as one challenge rolls in after another. Amidst such a rush, it seems to become more and more difficult even to pause long enough to reflect on our daily choices and what we want to do with the precious moments we call life. Yet making time for such pauses to clarify who we are and what we are about is so important to our progress as human beings. Pauses are indispensable to retain balance in turmoil.

Bill Tammeus vividly described the power of such pauses in a December 1989 entry:

“There is a special moment as the waves foam in. It occurs just at the instant that one wave has spent itself on the sand but, suspended, has not yet begun to be pulled back out to sea. For less than a second, the waters stop churning and, through their clearness, I can see the ground beneath, see the rocks, the shells, the sand.

Sometimes I think that’s how much of a glimpse we are ever given of what is really going on in this life. We get a small clip of time as the forces that buffet us reach an occasional uneasy equilibrium. Then they retreat and the next wave smashes in and we lose that special momentary clarity.

But while the clarity is there, while the action is suspended, calm, we should gather it in and store it deep within us so that when the next wave hits – and inevitably it will – we can keep our balance”.

Dr Stephen R Covey, Everyday Greatness, speaks of “pauses” in the following way: “They are moments when you could see clearly the potential that is within you. Moments when you were able to look beyond life’s broken shells and swirling adversities and see what difference you can make in the lives of those around you. Cherish and hold on to such moments. Keep them at the forefront of your mind so that when the buffeting waves of trivia and busyness crash in upon you, you can keep your sights elevated and focused on your highest dreams.”

Life is challenging, hence the importance of retaining balance in turmoil. As we learn to retain our own balance, our eyes can turn outwards to express kindness, care, and compassion to others. We can search for opportunities to make meaningful contributions. As such, we not only fill our lives with purpose, but we help others fill their lives with purpose as well.

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