It was about 15 years ago that I was introduced to rock balancing. It was buddy Chris Corrigan that got me going. That, and an Art of Hosting facilitation in Ontario, Canada on the shore of a river with rather giant stones. I loved the beauty that was created through a momentary focus, with minute adjustments not knowing it the particular two (or three) stones could hold each other, and an acute awareness that it might all fall within moments.

I suppose there is a connection between that on the shores of that Ontario river and some much smaller balancing that I do these days. Like this picture above with a few stones that are on my desk / table. The praying monk is about two inches tall. It was a gift from a long time friend and colleague. The white jagged stone is about the size of a small fist. I got it from a trip to Yukon a few years ago. It even has a bit of Fool’s Gold in it. The rounded and smoothed stone below is also about the size of a small fist. It’s from the coast of Whidbey Island, Washington. I use each of these pieces as talking pieces for online circles.

So, back to balance. This particular stack is rather precarious. I laughed when I made it last week, feeling a bit of the absurdity in stacking and balancing these. The monk is particularly tipsy. Standing as it were on one foot. The Fool’s Gold is, well, Fool’s Gold. It has tricked many a wanting fortune-seekers appearing as one thing and yet turning out to be another. The rounded black stone is close to a sphere. It’s less of a platform, but more of a point on which to balance.

Yup, absurdity. But not perhaps that different from the absurdity of balance these days for any of us finding our way. In work. In family. In community. Some of us are still far from travel to be with the people we love and work with. Some of us are leaning to the edges of reclaiming face to face time. Schools have reopened. Yet many of us are adjusting to surfaced CoVid cases and renewed shut down. What once was a reopening is becoming a reclosing. It’s challenging isn’t it. Not just the exterior of behavior but the interior of emotional balance.

For me, balance has generally been a term that needs some clarification. Balance as in “everything under control” has always felt misguiding. That’s not the way that life is. That’s not the way the working together in teams is. There is something that many of us long for in our dance with certainty and uncertainty. Balance for me feels more like a good mix of both of these, and growing a comfort with not balanced.

So, though it started as a playful image, there is something to be said for our prized objects and experiences feeling a bit tippy, right. And for the way that our desires and efforts are stacked on a couple of, albeit beautiful, but pretty wobbly and moving foundations, right.

Balance these days, like it was with Chris when on that river shore in Ontario, is an experiment. To be enjoyed, but not taken too seriously as something with longevity. Stones fall. So do people. It still matters that we commit to experiments. And beauty, even if just for a moment, to then pick up and try again. In these times. In all times.


5 Replies to “Balance”

  1. Beautiful. I wonder if those rocks are still there, by the shore of the Ottawa River, billion-year-old pieces of granite which have rested there since the glaciers, and had one strange moment of glory when they stood upon each other before going back to rest.

  2. Hey, I’ve been doing some little audio postcards to my colleagues, just short moments of acknowledgment of how hard this work is now and the role of beauty, simplicity, gratitude in surviving it. Last time I read them a Brian Doyle essay. A reading of this post and a link to your blog is what I will offer them this week, thank you! Such a great metaphor for this moment.

  3. Love it. The notion of balance as everyday experiment. Refinding our balance every day again afresh. Experimenting each day. Giving ourselves the freedom and permission to fall down of these beautiful rocks. Thanks for sharing.

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