Working Toward Balance

In the wake of today’s Leadership Summit, I am full of introspection and ideas. These past months have been consumed by keeping up with Life. Work mostly. Those periods I steal away are spent sustaining my own sanity. At the end of a day of immersing oneself in others’ lives and trying to help them, a soul is famished. I. Well. You know. I hike.

Since Janet was one of my first experiences of being truly hugged to the bosom of these peaks and the CO people, I’ve come to count on that weekend of service and escape.

Rearranging schedules and meetings to make it, I came from a very different place than previous visits. The desperate part-time Columbia outlet mall employee a year ago; the amicable cheerleader to Slim’s passing on the CDT; or even the aspiring Colorado Trail thru-hiker I was only 3 months ago! Yet ever and again finding fodder for the being I am.

Returning to the Real World, I was sent down to a succession of trainings in Denver. Massive opportunities for learning, networking, and development but lending little to personal routine or reflection. Thank goodness for hotel gyms, which really only just balanced out the plate of cookies wafting delicious through the lobby.

Immersed in maintaining the various threads of responsibility, I’ve been terrible at maintaining many relationships; returning calls, keeping up with pen pals (I’ve got your letter in my purse MLE!). Which truly leaves me feeling lop-sided.

The other night I came home and through a great effort of will, chose to do yoga and meditate instead of eat something and go straight to bed. It was as if  my Inside-self had been impatiently waiting for any chance to express. The image came quick and clear and I turned to my journal.

The pendulum in the hall clock at Granddaddy & Grandmother’s house swings just above and within me. I am frustrated that it arcs always past the equilibrium point. Even as I fume it swings rhythmically. I let go and begin to see. Become entranced. Settle deeper and watch. Only in silence and being truly still do I notice the arcs are ever smaller. Patience teaches balance.

Oh man, am I like a kid with a hammer with that one! It applies to everything. I add too much water to the quinoa; I add too little water to the quinoa. Don’t worry, I’m getting closer! The more attention you pay, the closer you get. In retrospect I see it took me nearly the entire CT to get my water/dinner portions right.

Using the DiSC assessment, a behavior survey, the Summit course clarified where each of our strong suits lie. I am a ‘D’ personality. Dominant. Direct. Doer. Determined. A big picture person with high expectations of myself and those around me, can be influential, and motivated by variety and tangible results. “You score like those who like to accept more work than they can do, then do it.”

On the flip-side, am quickly frustrated when those high standards are not met, not all that sensitive to others’ feelings, not so good at watching details (for example, I didn’t find the directions to the Center until I was already on my way there. Then was late anyway b/c I ended up at some teacher’s conference down the street. Had a name-tag and everything before realizing I was in the wrong place…) and the propensity for risk-taking can manifest as impulsive actions.

Me?! Never. And anyway, by my last night on the CT, dinner was perfect. Though I do see in various friends, how different types working together can accomplish more, much more effectively than on my own. Several exercises throughout the afternoon focused on familiarizing us with what each category means, then began to lay down the groundwork for how to communicate more effectively with other types. The detail people, the relationship people; by heeding their help, I can mitigate my own trajectory.

Big picture sometimes needs a telescope.


Synthesizing the pendulum thought through previous experiences, journaling and returning to guides such as Faye Schwelitz’s ‘Journey to Inner Freedom’ I begin to see it. It’s a compound on the concept Billy Goat explained in 4 words on the PCT when I asked how to become a thru-hiker:

You don’t go home.

and our speaker, Johann today relayed regarding mile 64 of the Leadville 100:

Nothing ends badly. If things are going badly, it just means you’re not at the end.

So, keep swingin’!

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