The 1 Way to Get Balanced: thoughts prompted by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

centering“I want first of all…to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want in fact—to borrow from the language of the saints—to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh


I take a butcher knife and slice through a lacy-skinned cantaloupe. At its core are seeds of new life. I savor its sweetness. I pick up yarn and a hook and create a crochet flower that can be joined with others to make a lacy summer wrap. The center of the motif joins the threads. It is the foundation of the design and holds it together. As a child of God my core loves God. I have a seed of his image that grows, increasingly resembling him. He holds the many-colored threads of my life together.

balanceMy life is messy. My core is usually tucked out of view, even to me. I find it refreshing, surprising, that things were not so different 60 years ago. We speak of those as ‘simpler times’ but maybe we only think that because we weren’t there to know how complicated life was before equal rights and internet.

“The life I have chosen…entrains a whole caravan of complications.”

Says Anne, the wife of a famous aviator, the mother of a kidnapped and murdered toddler, the mother of five younger children, the writer.

Among those of us who are reading Gift from the Sea and this blog together this summer are young single women, married career women, mothers of preschoolers, middle-age mothers, single moms, stepmoms, women with no children yet, and grandmothers. In all our diversity we have this in common, our lives are complicated. Men live complicated lives too. Much of the time complications are natural consequences of the lives we have chosen. For each of us there are also complications that chose us. Maybe it would be better to identify them as complications that God allowed for his own good and hidden reasons, things like health problems that force a slow pace, unfulfilled longings to love and be loved, grief.

Generally the most difficult complications begin with our closest relationships.

“human relationships with their myriad pulls” Anne calls them.

I think I am especially vulnerable to relational pulls. By nature I love to please. This is a good thing. Loving to please is also a bad thing. Just a few years ago I realized that my unconscious motto: “I aim to please”, can pull me off center. At the same time it can harm those people I love and want to please.

The struggle to live from a solid central core crosses cultures and epochs, of course. Millennia before Anne Lindbergh, two sisters argued, struggled, loved Jesus, and each other. Jesus cherished them. Martha was concerned with many things; she was thrown off center. Mary maintained a singleness of eye, at least in the one moment when we have a recorded glimpse into her soul.

I don’t believe that attending to that one thing means that we stop doing and serving. It can only mean that we serve out of a state of grace.

This all sounds right as I sit on my deck sipping tea in the cool early morning. Picky hummingbirds take breakfast from red flowers in pots and the song of my little water fountain drowns out traffic. When my household wakes up and gets noisy, texts, emails, and calls begin, and I have things I must do, it is more difficult.

centeredAnne asked the question that echoes in my soul as well, “The problem is…how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life, how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel.”

So, I would like to learn together.

How do you remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life?

Do you have a way of hanging on to Jesus as your one-thing, your state of grace? Do you have a habit that helps you stay balanced? Do you have a way of disciplining your thoughts?

Comment here or go over to my facebook page. If you “like” the page you will be updated on the conversation as it progresses (and eventually mysterious and wonderful Google things will happen for my page).

Another idea: I love metaphors. Let’s collect some “center” metaphors together.

Take a picture of something with a center and share it here. I’ll get us started with a few of my ideas on Pinterest.

Click here for another post related to centering and balance.

This post is part of a series prompted by Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. See other posts in this series here and here and here.

Get the book from Amazon here.

Next time: Thoughts about simplicity from Gift from the Sea, the second half of chapter 2.


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