Are you getting enough solitude?

I watched a promotional video yesterday from a very popular motivational speaker.

One line caught me off guard,

“There is no such thing as life balance.  The pursuit of life balance is actually causing us more stress than the craving for balance itself”. 

It bothered me all day long.

You see, I like to have life balance.  And I like to pursue it.


Its not some rainbow chasing pursuit.

I have a dream to live in harmony, beautifully blending my roles as wife, mother, friend, teacher, business women etc.

And guess what?   Sometimes it actually happens!

This is what I have come to know:

  • It’s the pursuit of life balance that governs a lot of my choices.  If I didn’t believe it existed, I’d accept chaos and put work first more than I should.
  • It’s the pursuit of life balance that compels me to pause and notice the world around me.
  • It’s the pursuit of life balance that makes me appreciate the moments balance actually occurs.

The myth, I believe is the thought that balance is an arrival state.  That once you have achieved the state of balance it will be constant.  Not so.  Its something that requires constant sacrifice and good choices.  You have to fight to stay there, and most of us spend a good deal of time trying to make it there.

In many ways, I believe life balance can be more a state of mind than actual physical proof of living in perfect order.  You can be in balance and still have the world spinning around you.

The main source of feeling balance in my life comes from my scheduled time of solitude.

Every morning. No exception.  It requires me to get up earlier than everyone else, but the price I pay if I miss it isn’t worth the extra sleep.

I journal in 3 separate journals, read, pray, and plan… Sometimes it feels routine. Other times I make major discoveries. But every time it grounds me for the day and nourishes my heart to be able to give to those in my path.

Sarah Ban Breathnach is right. Solitude in any form is necessary for our emotional survival.

Are you getting yours?

What solitude adventures do you have to share?

Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah.  She’s come to be grateful for the wild and crazy 2 year old in her life for forcing a little balance into the routine.  It would be easy to work while he was awake–if that were actually possible–. Since doing such a deed typically causes major disaster from said little one being unsupervised, it has become universally accepted that there will be no business attention during wake time hours.  At first Brooke was a bit regretful at the loss of extra time.  Now she’s discovering the life lesson in working smarter not harder and soaking up the hours spent playing at the park.  This too shall pass, and when it does it will be missed.

Brooke teaches inspiring online photography classes that bring you confidence in your skills and creativity.

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10 Responses

  1. I am so curious about your journals… read, pray, plan… can you share with me the specifics of those journals? (Just the kind of things you put in each one, what the categories mean, etc.) I love your thoughts.

    1. I fabulous Mindy! I would love to tell you about my journals! I have a gratitude journal that I write 5 new things that I’m grateful for every day (usually things that happened the day before, so I can recognize the good things happening in my life), I have a Morning Pages journal (idea from the book The Artists Way) where I journal stream of conscious thought for about ten minutes or more (amazing…it’s changed my life), and a scripture journal where I write down the thoughts that I have in regards to the scriptures that I read and how it applys to my life.

      I’m actually thinking of adding one more 🙂 I’d love to start an Affirmations journal…just taking a minute every day to jot down some positive affirmations of things that I need to work on my frame of mind about. I’ve said affirmations aloud before, but a journal for me–would probably be better and more consistent.

      HOpe that helps!

      Ironically, the only journal I don’t keep very well is the traditional one 🙂 Writing down the historical aspects of my life! ha ha! That is also super important, and one that I need to work on!

  2. What a lovely post to write… and one I so desperately needed to hear today. My belief is that if we didn’t have something to aspire to, like balance, we would become complacent and lose the drive for self improvement.

    I realize that a large portion of what happens in our lives is out of our control (sometimes more is out of control than others), what we control is our reaction to it. Some day when you have time and if you feel like sharing, I would love to know more about how you go through your day, what things are done, what are assigned, and what you choose to let go. So many of my days lately seem like just trying to survive, and I don’t have a two-year old monkey boy! 🙂

    1. Oh my lovely Beth 🙂

      I have plenty of days that I’m just trying to survive too 🙂 Most of them 🙂 And I whole heartedly agree, we have to aspire to something or we are in danger of complacency!

      I’ll ponder on your question and see what I can come up with! You’re fabulous!

  3. I have realized that this is what I desperately miss about life on a farm! When we were in Florida, I loved the summer months (non-hunting season) when I could go wandering behind our home through miles and miles of pastureland and cypress and palm forests. Though I loved taking pictures, getting exercise, seeing animals, it is the solitude I think I enjoyed (and needed) the very most. Fifteen minutes, thirty, (and on a really blessed day) an hour away from fighting children and schedules and phones ringing and the computer and noise. It was so heavenly. The problem I find when I do get moments like that is actually using it productively–if that’s not defeating the purpose. How do you control your mind so it just doesn’t spin out of control when you finally get a breather? Or is the point to let it go and then reinstate the discipline when the “solitary time” is over. Maybe “spinning out of control” isn’t the right way to put it, but I find when I do have solitary time, a lot of my brain power goes to thinking about trivial things rather than sorting out important ones. Any advice on how to “productively ponder” rather than just becoming a more invigorated vegetable? 😉 I am better when I have a pencil and paper in hand, but when I’m walking, I don’t, and sometimes that is the only solitary (or close to it) that I get…
    Loved this post… Thank you!

    1. Oh Jocelyn 🙂 How I can relate to your spinning thoughts when in solitude 🙂 I’ve tried both ways…simply letting my mind think about whatever comes and letting myself unwind, or trying to forcefully direct my thoughts in a certain direction to be able to receive insight on particular questions or challenges. Both have a time and place. Usually if I’m walking outside I am more free with just thinking about anything or nothing. If I I really want to get my thoughts more inspired and in a certain direction I journal free flow thought for a period of time.

      Ideally….if I know I want my walking thoughts to be more productive I try to journal before I go if possible. That usually gets me in a clear state of mind where I’ve already got some great thoughts about something and can more easily continue that flow of thought for being outside.

      sometimes you just need to not force anything though. It is just an incredibly welcome break for the brain to not have an agenda 🙂

      THanks so much for your comment and thoughts on such a great topic!

  4. Hi Brooke, Always fascinating to see what your pondering over. I am a hughe fan of Sarah Ban Breathnach. This summer i read some of her books again ex. Something More and Moving On. I too had a rough summer but i hesitantly trusted my emotions and went there. Sarah calls it being in transition and to take your time as your going through it.Good Advive, transitions are full of gifts if we take the time to look for them. I have to share one of my favorite quotes:” Women are repeatedly accused of taking things personally. I cannot see any other honest way of taking them.” I too am taking quotes and adding them to my pictures like you did with the ray bradbury quote and your son. Well keep pondering, we’re listening….Miranda

  5. Miranda!

    I always love it when you leave a comment! You are so thoughtful about your words! And we are kindred spirits to both love Sarah Ban Breathnach! Thank you for sharing your quote! I’m going to add it to my quote collection! You’re fabulous!



  6. One of the things I came to learn over my years as a woman with advance degree, professional career and then children, is that I can have everything, just not all at once. It is when I came to know and accept that, I became much happier and content. All three are there, but different periods in my life, require shifting priorities. Right now I am in the thick of raising my children, so career and personal pursuits are lower priority. Trying to create and equal balance is impossible for me. Writing this on a photography blog makes me think of exposure; sometimes the light is bad, and your budget only affords you a 1.8 lens, but you can still capture an image of your kid on stage. It will be less than perfect, and yet still priceless.

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