One Little Word: Balance


Three bloggers I admire very much have nominated me for a Sunshine Award. I feel so honored to be included on their lists of “bloggers who inspire,” lists that include the names of many bloggers who inspire me. Over the next day or two, I will answer all their questions and come up with my own list, but until then, I’m going to answer one question that both Amy and Michelle asked: What is your “one little word” for 2014?

Balance. We hear this word everywhere. Balance your checkbook. Eat a balanced diet. Balance your tires. Entire Eastern religions are built around the idea of balance. In art, balance is achieved when no single element of a work overpowers another. So why is it so easy for our lives to become unbalanced? How is it that we forget the importance of eating right, exercising, doing things we love, and finding time for friends and family every day?


I took this picture at Point Judith lighthouse in Rhode Island last September. The asymmetry of the construction of this cairn intrigued me. How does the small stone on the left remain poised on the end of the stick? Does the stability of the larger rock on the right allow this?

In 2014, I want to be the small stone on the left, poised on the brink of whatever the day brings, yet able to maintain my balance. Just as bridges have firm footings and extra capacity (thanks, Anne!) that allows them to withstand forces of use, wind and weather, the firm foundation of the large rock keeps this cairn in place. I think that if our beliefs are solid, if we know our own mind, we have a firm foundation for our choices, both personal and professional. We may waver or deviate a little, after all flexibility is a good thing, but with secure footing and a good support system, we’ll be able to withstand whatever life throws at us.

Cairns have been used since prehistory to mark trails. This cairn will be marking my path through 2014, helping me to keep my balance.

Thank you to everyone at Two Writing Teachers and all my fellow slicers for their friendship and support over the past year. Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and balanced New Year!

10 thoughts on “One Little Word: Balance

  1. I’m impressed you want to be the stone on the left. I’m usually up for huge physical challenges, but…I’ve got to be compassionate with myself and admit that that just looks too darn hard. I’ll take the bottom one. I don’t need to balance but I need to be strong. I can do that. 🙂

    My one word, chosen last night in yoga class, is breathe. Breathe deeply, slowly, and with a purpose. It will remind me to respond instead of react, brace myself for difficult lifts (as in weight lifting), and sustain me on long runs when my legs need to be led by my mind and breath.

    Love this, and congratulations on the blog award. Way cool!


  2. Congratulations on your word for 2014! I look forward reading how balance will shape your life this year. Happy Balanced New Year!


  3. Congratulations on your nomination! I can’t wait to read it.
    I agree. We need balance. Great word. The idea of balance and a cairns make me think, touchstone. A rock to ground you and maybe help keep things in perspective. It also makes me think, it takes a long time to get to the point of being confident in what we believe and what we want to hold on to. Thanks for making me think!


  4. Nice that you took, and kept, the photo of that cairn, Catherine. I suspect it’s been guiding you since that time, at least guiding your thoughts. Balance is a good word, keeping the push and pull just right for yourself. I hope you have a wonderful year! Happy 2014!


  5. Usually when I think of balance, I think of one of those pan scales, where both sides are exactly the same. I really love your image/metaphor of the cairn. It seems much more accurate and achievable than the scale! Happy New Year!


  6. Balance is such a great choice for OLW – and your picture is perfect. I will claim this for the new year – “with secure footing and a good support system, we’ll be able to withstand whatever life throws at us.” Thanks for the good word!


  7. “In art, balance is achieved when no single element of a work overpowers another. So why is it so easy for our lives to become unbalanced?”
    Such a great question, Catherine. I love the thoughtful way in which you sought to come to terms with it – especially with the visual. Happy New Year!


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