Balance – OLW for 2013, 2014 and maybe beyond

sols_6Balance a word I have been holding for a few years is still rolling around in my head. I began by looking the word up to give me ideas for a new word that might push me forward this year.

This led to thinking about balance as a verb: steady, stabilize, poise or level – the idea of keeping something in a steady position so that it does not fall. Say like my life – :).

Then again maybe seeing balance from the artists eye: balance in art refers to the ways in which the elements (lines, shapes, colors, textures, etc.) of a piece are arranged. Balance can be symmetrical (“formal”), where elements are given equal “weight” from an imaginary line in the middle of a piece.  ( What I have been trying to do -equal weight!)

BUT: Balance doesn’t necessarily always mean symmetry. Asymmetrical  (“informal”) balance occurs when elements are placed unevenly in a piece, but work together to produce harmony overall.

OK – did you catch that – balance can occur when elements are uneven but work together in harmony for the overall piece.

There is the thinking that made a light bulb go on. I have been working so hard to achieve that symmetrical balance in my life and always falling short.  (which leads to frustration and a wondering about why I can’t get things into balance)

Life is not symmetrical.  Teaching is never symmetrical.  It isn’t about making things balance on a balance beam – holding steady so nothing falls.  It is about moving the pieces around in an easy flow so that we have an overall harmony to the piece or to our life.

There are going to be times when I am working like crazy and times when I will walk, sit and think. Other times I will write and create. It is about finding the asymmetrical balance – the harmony that works in all parts of my life.

This year is a year of finding a way to let the lines, colors, shapes and texture move around in a way that creates a new harmony, an asymmetrical balance that does not leave me struggling to stay on top of that fine line wondering when I will fall off!  Happy New Year of balancing once again in a new way!



About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in behavior, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Balance – OLW for 2013, 2014 and maybe beyond

  1. jarhartz says:

    Oh you have hit on it! We do equate balance with symmetry, but life, art, teaching doesn’t go that way. In fact the beauty is really in the asymmetry. I’m thinking of those pictures of the face when they make both sides symmetrical, it looks funny. Your one little word has enlightened my thinking about this! Thank you.

  2. My OLW was balance a few years back. It doesn’t mean symmetry, but it does mean portioning things out in a healthy way. What a great word it was for me! I hope it will take you on a great journey this year.

    BTW: Love the mobile photo!

  3. Cathy says:

    Loved this, “balance can occur when elements are uneven but work together in harmony for the overall piece.” You have an interesting angle with asymmetrical balance. I’ve often said the best things in life happen when life is out of balance — but maybe it has something to with knowing how to shift a bit to keep things going.

    I need to think through a bit more with my word, DISCOVER, as you’ve done here. Thanks for the inspiration.


  4. newtreemom says:

    Intriguing thoughts about balance… plenty to make it a word worthy of two years!

    I was excited to see the mobile by Alexander Calder, which I viewed at the Indianapolis Museum of Art last fall in a special art after school program some students from our school got to participate in.

    Here are some of the gallery notes from his work, Two White Dots in the Air, which is similar to the one you pictured:
    Calder’s major contribution to the history of modern sculpture was the mobile, a term coined by Marcel Duchamp. In this new art form, Calder made movement a crucial element, at first by working with motors and then by suspending his sculptures from the ceiling so that they would be set into motion by the movement of air…this genre, in which abstract shapes that evoke forms from nature such as fins, wings, leaves, or cosmic bodies, are gracefully suspended from curving wires. As these forms shift and rotate in often unpredictable ways, the sculpture seems possessed of its own life.

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