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Journaling Prompts

Tradeoffs: Balance in life often requires us to make choose one thing over another, one experience over another. As someone wise once said, we can have everything but we can't have it all at once. What tradeoffs have you made, willingly, or under duress, to give your life balance? Are you 'even steven', or do you consider yourself someone who has given up more than she has received, or vice versa? What is the biggest or most meaningful thing you've had to give up to have the life you have today? Do you ever walk the fine line between decisions, unable to commit?

Equilibrium: Are you someone who can maintain an 'even keel'? Is your personality type, or your learned behavior, steady, focused and smooth, or not? Do you handle yourself with grace and poise in difficult situations? Have you ever regretted your reaction to a difficult situation? What parts of your life need to be in place in order to maintain your equilibrium? What are the things, circumstances or changes that can throw you off? What's your first sign that you are feeling imbalanced before you can truly identify what's wrong? How do you regain your balance in the world of the 'new normal', either temporarily or indefinitely if something more permanent has changed?

Justice: The scales of justice have long been a symbol of balance in our culture. The image of a blindfolded lady justice speaks to the idea that decisions must be made fairly (without regard to status, race, etc.) in order to maintain a harmonious and fair society. Is there truly justice in our society, in the actual legal system or in our moral treatment of others? In your own life, do you feel that you are treated fairly and with equanimity, by others, our culture or even a supreme judge? How do you take in life's circumstances that seem unfair, like individual loss, or a world in peril?

Yin and Yang: Do opposites really attract? Is there something that draws each of us to a mate or to friends who complete us in some way? If you're partnered, are the two of you complementary or more alike? Do your differences create tension in the relationship? In what ways do your strengths support each others' stretches or weaknesses? Do you have a sibling or a friend who clearly makes you see the yin and yang, the more assertive vs. the more receptive energy of life? What, if anything, are you thankful for about the balance that these loved ones, so different from you, bring to you?

Your Ledger
: Sometimes life can look like an accountant's balance give and you take, and the ledger isn't always balanced. How much do you invest in the + side of the ledger? For yourself, do you carve out time for self-care and rest, or do you go until you drop? When doing for others, do you give until it literally hurts, or do you know when to reserve and conserve your energy? Do you allow yourself to be nurtured by others as well, to give yourself the gift of balance, or to allow them to feel good by being of service? Is there a specific energy drain (person or activity) in your personal balance sheet?

Roles: You play many parts in life...some of them might be wife, spouse, mother, professional, daughter, do you balance your many roles and responsibilities? Does one take precedence over the others? How much time does each role take, and are you happy with the balance? If you had to say you were 'something' first, what would it be? Do other people expectations change how you balance your life roles? How many of your roles are related to others, and how many are more internal and self-reflective? If you could give up, or had to give up one role, what would it be? Cook? Housecleaner? Friend to a difficult character?

Too Much: Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? Often we speak of balance in terms of wanting less of something difficult and more of something pleasant. But can you have too much good...too much love and support (curbs independence), too much patience (curbs effort), too much handed to you (curbs creative solution-finding)? Is the good stuff ever out of balance and do you actually look for more challenge? Is this a good quality, wanting to grow, strive, or is it a sign of being too hard on yourself?

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The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man. Euripides

As we look deeply within, we understand our perfect balance. There is no fear of the cycle of birth, life and death. For when you stand in the present moment, you are timeless. Rodney Yee

I believe that uncertainty is really my spirit's way of whispering, "I'm in flux. I can't decide for you. Something is off-balance here. Oprah Winfrey

What I dream of is an art of balance. Henri Matisse So divinely is the world organized that every one of us, in our place and time, is in balance with everything else. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Action is at bottom a swinging and flailing of the arms to regain one's balance and keep afloat. Eric Hoffer

Truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking. Malcolm Gladwell

When a man asks himself what is meant by action he proves he is not a man of action. Action is a lack of balance. In order to act you must be somewhat insane. A reasonably sensible man is satisfied with thinking. Georges Clemenceau

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. Lazarus Long

Fortunate indeed, is the man who takes exactly the right measure of himself, and holds a just balance between what he can acquire and what he can use. Peter Mere Latham

Prosperity is no just scale; adversity is the only balance to weigh friends. Plutarch

Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away. Barbara De Angelis

Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it. George Santayana

We can be sure that the greatest hope for maintaining equilibrium in the face of any situation rests within ourselves. Francis J. Braceland

Order is not pressure which is imposed on society from without, but an equilibrium which is set up from within. Jose Ortega y Gasset

I've learned that you can't have everything and do everything at the same time. Oprah Winfrey

Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. Robert Fulghum

The word 'happiness' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. Carl Gustav

Jung Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or very foolish imagine otherwise. George Orwell

If you listen to nature, you will never loose the equilibrium. Ivonne Sanchez

Nature, who for the perfect maintenance of the laws of her general equilibrium, has sometimes need of vices and sometimes of virtues, inspires now this impulse, now that one, in accordance with what she requires. Marquis De Sade

To dispose a soul to action we must upset its equilibrium. Eric Hoffer

White shall not neutralize the black, nor good Compensate bad in man, absolve him so: Life's business being just the terrible choice. Robert Browning

Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is. Francis Bacon, Sr.

We regard intelligence as man's main characteristic and we know that there is no superiority which intelligence cannot confer on us, no inferiority for which it cannot compensate. Henri Bergson

In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth. Patti Smith

How seldom we weigh our neighbor in the same balance with ourselves. Thomas Kempis


Grandchildren are God's way of compensating us for growing old. Mary H. Waldrip

A fanatic is a man who consciously over compensates a secret doubt. Aldous Huxley

The rare pleasure of being seen for what one is, compensates for the misery of being it. Margaret Drabble

No other success can compensate for failure in the home. David McKay

Nothing of fame or fortune can compensate for the spiritual suffering that one possessing such qualities has to endure. Edwin Booth

You are a very small man, and like other men (of small stature), you have a Napoleonic complex and a need to compensate for what you lack. Small man, big bomb. Alice Hawthorne

Genuine good taste consists in saying much in few words, in choosing among our thoughts, in having order and arrangement in what we say, and in speaking with composure. Francois Fenelon

The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper. Aristotle

Nothing baffles the schemes of evil people so much as the calm composure of great souls. Comte de Mirabeau

When all this started, I asked myself, 'Am I going to withdraw from the world, like most people do, or am I going to live?' I decided I am going to live-or at least try to live-the way I want, with dignity, with courage, with humor, with composure. Mitch Albom

The goal is to live with godlike composure on the full rush of energy, like Dionysus riding the leopard, without being torn to pieces. Joseph Campbell

It's very hard to be effective without having composure. We know we have a tough schedule and need to be as good as we can. Kirk Ferentz

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. Thomas Merton

When a man asks himself what is meant by action he proves that he isn't a man of action. Action is a lack of balance. In order to act you must be somewhat insane. A reasonably sensible man is satisfied with thinking. James A. Baldwin

Let me remind you of the old maxim: people under suspicion are better moving than at rest, since at rest they may be sitting in the balance without knowing it, being weighed together with their sins. Franz Kafka

If you're interested in 'balancing' work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable. Donald Trump

I balanced all, brought all to mind, the years to come seemed waste of breath, a waste of breath the years behind, in balance with this life, this death. William Butler Yeats

Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle. Helen Keller

Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise. George Orwell

The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man. Euripides

One should see the world, and see himself as a scale with an equal balance of good and evil. When he does one good deed the scale is tipped to the good - he and the world is saved. When he does one evil deed the scale is tipped to the bad - he and the world is destroyed. Maimonides

For me it's important to be in balance. To not let fear get in the way of things, to not worry so much about protecting yourself all the time. John Frusciante

A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life. William Arthur Ward


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