Photo Credit: Aziz Acharki,

Balance was in the house, and then . . .

In terms of finding and losing life balance, 2018 was a study in change for me. The first three quarters of the year were golden—all good things—everybody thriving.

Then, the fourth quarter stopped me and mine in my tracks. First, my elderly mother had major surgery and life-threatening complications. Then, just as she finally got home to begin recuperating, Hurricane Michael punched my parents’ home, community, and neighborhood hard. I traveled back and forth for another six weeks helping out. And the truth is, the recovery process is barely getting started.

In fact—and this is important—that tough fourth quarter and its continuing urgencies have re-ordered my priorities in ways that turned out to be transformative. Inspiring. Energizing. My life’s morphing toward a brand new kind of balance. The pendulum swings. Evidence of the yin and yang of all things.

No doubt some of you reading the above instantly recall similar experiences. Moments or seasons when dark times fueled some new light. We lose our way. We find our way. The sun does rise again. However, as much as we may learn and re-learn this lesson, another human truth is that when the path turns downright hard as rock again, it’s natural to dwell on our fears. Our exhaustion. Our losses.

Light to darkness, dark to light

So, in the trenches, when times are tough, when balance has been blown away, it’s good to remember—and to remind one another—of the difference between short-term and long-term. And of that yin and yang factor. Because, and read this twice for good measure: when we lose balance, the act of seeking it—of setting that goal and jamming toward it—is actually a beautiful and powerful phase of self-discovery. Of personal evolution. Repeat. Bottom line: tough times, in fact, expand and enlighten us. Repeat. The pendulum swings.

A couple of years ago, during a much calmer visit with my parents, I found a yellowed index card in an old book the night before I was to head back to California. The next morning I laid it out on the kitchen counter to show them and snap a couple of photos. It was type-written, in pre-computer days:

“Don’t look. You might see.
Don’t listen. You might hear.
Don’t think. You might learn.
Don’t make a decision. You might be wrong.
Don’t walk. You might stumble.
Don’t run. You might fall.
Don’t live. You might die.”

This unexpected message from the nebulous past seemed then—and seems even more now—like another expression of that pendulum swing. The “don’t” that starts each line addresses in its negative way the risk of seeking to find our truest selves. Our truest lives. Our own brand of balance. There’s fear of failure, and of losing whatever we may find. But in truth, dark and light may be two sides of the same coin. And further, one may help us retrieve the other on some new level we weren’t ready for before.

Meanwhile, live!

And what’s the coin? Living fully, maybe. On the court. In the game. Not afraid to walk, to run, to make a decision. To think, and listen. To act!

Maybe, in fact, on any particular day, in any particular week or season, the gig’s to first declare balance as a next, new, or renewed priority . . . then pursue it. Just like personal and professional goals. Just like a healthy eating and exercise plan. Like the beautiful, satisfying year you want and intend. In the process, keep seeking balance. And reach out for the expert support you deserve.


Photo Credit: Aziz Acharki,