Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

A Balancing Act

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photo 1(2)On my weekly hike with a friend a few days ago, we came upon an unusually shaped cairn of stones alongside the path. These piles of stones are set along the way to let hikers know that they are still on the right path, and people sometimes will add another stone as they walk by.

It’s a little hard to tell in this photo, but this cairn of stones is balanced between two larger rocks, with a good amount of empty airspace left underneath. Creating this cairn was obviously a careful balancing act, and the fact that it has remained in place shows how carefully it was originally constructed.

That balancing act fits in well with a concept I’ve been revisiting this past week. One of my clients is ready for me to copyedit a draft novel, which he has spent the past few months carefully cutting down in size. Despite his work, it is still a very large document, and will keep me busy for many weeks, in the spaces between my other jobs. I was reflecting out loud to my friend about the importance of balance as I anticipate this season of an abundance of work. I will need to make certain to create a balance between hours at the computer and hours away from it; between words and stillness, activity and relaxation.

All of our lives are balancing acts, and those balances ebb and flow with the days and seasons of our lives. There will be times that are more active, and others that are more contemplative. In fact, Richard Rohr, Founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, where I used to work, states that the most important word in the organization’s title is “and”—because of that need for balance.

photo 1(3)One of the important ways I will keep my weekly balance is to continue to hike. I am very grateful for the proximity of our beautiful Gila Wilderness and the Continental Divide Trail, which gives us the gift of stunning views like this only an hour’s drive and hike from town. Another way to keep my balance is a daily rhythm of prayer and stillness, “hanging out” with God.

What does your current balancing act look like? Does it tend more toward action or contemplation? How might you move your rhythms more into balance, on a daily, weekly, and/or yearly basis?

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