Keeping it boring, I mean, balanced

Balance is something for which I have been striving as long as I can remember. There’s the physical balance of holding a tree pose, or walking on a tight rope, but that is not the kind of balance to which I am referring.

giphy a

I am referring to balance in life. This begins in my thinking.

I have this tendency to swing hard to one side or the other. Extremism. All or nothing. Black or white. It’s a terrible way to operate, and becoming aware of this tendency is a great place to begin. Without awareness, there is no acceptance, and there has to be acceptance before launching into the action of changing it.

I wanted to give myself a reminder to avoid these extreme ways of thinking. I drew a teeter totter on my wrist with a Sharpie to remind me to not jump from one side to the other, but to remain more neutral in my thinking – more balanced.


I liked it so much that I had it permanently inked ON MY WRIST. Some people may be shrugging like, yeah, whoop-dee-doo. But this was a big deal for me. It’s my first visible tattoo, and I didn’t wait ten years to get it. More like two weeks. When you know, you know.

On the appointed day of inking, “fulcrum” was weirdly the Merriam-Webster word of the day. I knew the little triangle in the center was a fulcrum, but I had never read the definition.

1a : prop; specifically : the support about which a lever turns
: one that supplies capability for action

Did you catch that second part? It supplies capability for action. It’s the center and the support. I did some further reading about fulcrums, and it turns out, they are the most stable part of the entire system.

I am so grateful to have learned this. It provides more hope knowing this.

If you don’t struggle with extremes, count yourself among the fortunate. I have wasted so much energy doing “mental gymnastics”. This is a great sport in which to excel if you’re a fiction writer (which maybe one day that will be img_1085true for this girl). But it’s a terrible way to show up in the world. I am usually imagining the worst possible outcome on any given situation.

Moms are especially gifted at this. If our kids are a measly five minutes late, we imagine them overturned in a ditch and bleeding out, don’t we?

There’s science behind why our brains operate in this way. It has to do with our survival mechanism of identifying threats and such. If I wasn’t suffering with senioritis, I would look it up and give you the link, but it’s just too much work. I hope you’ll forgive me.

I know this much – when I can level out, and become still and centered, life is more peaceful. Some may say boring, but I’ll take it.

How do you keep from swinging from one extreme to the other? Meditation? Mantras? Is there an app for that? I’d love to hear from you…

Thanks for reading, until next time,

Carry it well!

Three glorious weeks of non-school life was absolutely amazing. It was a brief season to catch up, rest, play, socialize, paint, relax and do all the things that I can’t do when staring down the barrel of homework and assignments.

My philosophy is that whatever you’re doing, do it full on. If you’re at work, then buckle down, focus and get sh*t done. And when you’re on vacation, relax and enjoy. Seriously. Like, have pizza and cheeseburgers and dessert. Oh, and lots of margaritas. Whatever you do, please, don’t check your emails or any of that nonsense. Continue reading

There are no straight lines

Nature is so freaking amazing. I think I could call myself a Nature Nerd. I am one of those people who follows National Geographic on Instagram, and then follows all the individual photographers that are also on Instagram. If I enjoyed studying all that scientific stuff, I’d probably be a marine biologist, but then it would become work. I’d much rather enjoy the beauty of all the patterns instead of figuring out how it all works. So maybe not a nerd, maybe just a fan? Either way…

In spite of a crap ton of homework, I decided to spend a little time outdoors. Last night there was a camp-out on the 81 acres of our church property. I went just for the s’mores, the hayride, and to chat with a few friends. It was so beautiful out! The moon was shining down on us.

teresa's moon shot

Moonlight & firelight. Photo courtesy of Teresa Gowin.

There was a family of deer hanging out in the field, and the kids were climbing trees like it was their job. I regretted my lack of camping gear, and returned home to sleep in my comfy bed.

This morning, I went on an Eco Meditation Walk at a local park. It was free, and partially guided, and exactly perfect. I spent an hour outside (it was 72 and sunny) gazing at nature. We walked slow, we stood and breathed and listened, we sat and meditated, and then shared our experiences.

Each of us had a unique perspective of our time. One lady shared about having breakfast with the squirrels, as they were all chowing down on pine cones nearly as big as themselves. One lady described envisioning herself as a bird flying around. Another gentleman confessed how much easier it was to meditate in nature than in downtown San Francisco. I tried to articulate how as people we strive to create straight lines, and how we find so few of them in nature.


Red Bug Slough, Sarasota, FL. Photo credit:

Sure, there are trees and plants reaching upward, but none are actually 100% straight. Everything is a little off. In fact, the more “crooked” they were, the more I found myself drawn to them. It was a perfect morning, but nothing was square, or symmetric, or even straight. This is exactly the perfect metaphor for the people in my life.

It seems that none are perfect individually. We all have our quirks and imperfections, yet when we’re all together, it’s beautiful. Each component added to the beauty and diversity of the landscape. It was a profound and delightful way to spend a Saturday morning.

So no matter your schedule or the weather, I hope you get to take a few minutes to soak in some time in nature this weekend. And also, appreciate all the slightly crooked people in your world.

Thanks for reading, until next time…



Over committing…

Some people are professionals at their job. You know, like doctors and lawyers and professors. They went to school and wrote papers (really big ones like dissertations) and studied their brains out for years. All the letters behind their names prove this, and they command respect and credibility for achieving this accomplishment.

I think I have enough credits on over-scheduling to earn some sort of degree. There might not be letters that I can add after my name, but there is this:

I am a professional at over committing. I want to do everything all at once. But alas, I am learning that I cannot do everything – all at once – if I want to do any of it well. Continue reading

How is your vrksasana?

As I mentioned in my last post, I love the practice of yoga. I don’t necessarily love the weirdness that can sometimes accompany an instructor. I don’t do chanting and all that. But the stretching and the breathing and developing my strength is perfect for me.

One of the foundations for a good yoga practice is to honor your body. One teacher that I sit under regularly says, “You know yourself – do what works for you.” She also says, “Each day is different – and even each side is different.” How long you can hold a tree pose on the left is not necessarily how long you can hold it on the right.

This whole concept of honoring and accepting and balancing is so beautiful. My tendency is to push myself – and others. To force things to happen the way I think they ought to. Letting things unfold naturally is, quite frankly, annoying. I want to get it done!

Ahhh…but it’s so much better and more peaceful to let things unfold. To not push and not force. To allow God to work things out.

Isn’t that what Jesus taught?

It’s easier to do when I just breathe. Honor the day and where I find myself. If I am tired, it’s ok to get extra rest. If I am lonely, it’s ok to phone a friend and make a plan. If I don’t feel like cleaning, well, I can postpone it but not indefinitely! Some things just need to get done whether you feel like doing them or not.

But I do not need to push myself. I will get where I need to be. I don’t need to push others, because they also will get where they need to be. And how do I even know what that is?

I am so grateful for learning these lessons.

How do you stay balanced? How do you honor your limitations? I’d love to hear….

Thanks for reading, until next time~