The Art of Balance

I’m a klutz – or as they say in Central Pennsylvania – dopic.  So, I really admire people that are more coordinated than I am (which is pretty much everyone).  Last night, we enjoyed a date night at the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by our beloved Maestro Stuart Malina.  What made the performance particularly memorable were the additional performers on stage last evening.  “Cirque de la Symphonie” featured acrobats and aerialists who amazed the audience with choreographed moves, accompanied by the orchestra’s masterful artistry.  I was particularly enrapt with the final performance by two bronzed muscular men. Those in attendance were spellbound by their feats of strength, balance and grace.

As I watched, I wondered what propelled these athletes to choose this occupation.  What discipline and practice it must have taken to achieve such synchronicity!  The countless hours of training and experimentation, the injuries that were likely sustained are beyond my comprehension.  And I’ve wondered similar thoughts about those musicians whose performances we so look forward to as they weave their own magic, beneath the stars of the glorious Harrisburg Forum.

My mind connected what I was witnessing to words that Cheryl Strayed spoke at last fall’s Pennsylvania Conference for Women.  (You can view her presentation on their website at  She talked about preparing for a hike, and how much stuff she attempted to cram into her backpack.  As a relative newbie to hiking, she learned circuitously to lighten her load to make the journey easier.  Discipline, focus, practice.
cirque 1
(Photo courtesy of Kim Lutz Isenhour, The Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra)

The minister who recommended me for my first job interview out of college used to say, “Life is what happens after you’ve already made plans.”  Circumstances led to the unraveling of several facets of what I believed was my future direction over the past year.  As I’ve attempted to use insight and flexibility, creating new plans, these are the words that keep coming to my mind: discipline, focus, practice.

These words resonate with my New Year’s post on making your year transformational.  Og Mandino’s words seem to complement this seemingly repeating theme I’ve been hearing for some time:  Never again clutter your days or nights with so many menial and unimportant things that you have no time to accept a real challenge when it comes along. This applies to play as well as work. A day merely survived is no cause for celebration. You are not here to fritter away your precious hours when you have the ability to accomplish so much by making a slight change in your routine. No more busy work. No more hiding from success. Leave time, leave space, to grow. Now. Now! Not tomorrow!

How can you streamline and better balance your life – really focusing more clearly on your goals?  How will you better utilize the gifts you’ve been given, with discipline, as you move forward with the life to which you’ve been called?

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