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What’s This Thing You Call ‘Balance?’

Labor Day has come and gone, and while many people consider that to be the official end of summer – technically speaking, it’s not true. The last day of summer was actually yesterday, September 22nd. So we can finally put away the sunscreen, hang up the sunhat, and welcome autumn to our doorstep!

That makes TODAY – September 23rd – the first day of fall, also known as the Fall Equinox. You may have heard of it…but what exactly is it?

According to timeanddate.com, it “occurs the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from north to south.” This differs from the Spring Equinox, which occurs in March when the sun shines directly on the equator.

We all know that the longest day of the year is in the summer, and the shortest day of the year is in the winter. But the Spring and Fall equinoxes are when day and night are equal. These are moments that have long been interpreted to mean that the world is in balance.

To me, what a wonderful moment to pause and reflect: Is your world in balance?

Most of us would quickly answer with, “Uh, are you kidding me? No!”

And most of us would be right. After all, “balance” is an elusive thing, isn’t it? Whether it’s work/life balance (something I’ve heard of) or a balanced diet (something else I’ve heard of), the average person considers the concept of balance as something akin to a unicorn or a leprechaun – a wonderful thought, but in truth, a mythical thing. (This feels especially true to individuals involved in the care of a loved one with dementia.)

However, what if we could we could capture a small sense of balance in our lives? What would it feel like? How could we do it?

Perhaps one of the keys is to foster a perspective of gratitude in our lives. Or in Autumn-ese, call it undergoing an “inner harvest.” Indulge in self-reflection. Think about your achievements and experiences so far this year. What challenges have you endured and grown from? Take some time to appreciate these gifts in your life.

I think fortifying a sense of gratitude can help offset the normal stresses and anxiety of life – be they related to caregiving, careers, or anything else. We certainly can’t make all of our stresses disappear, but we might be able to balance them out with a mindset of deep thankfulness for our blessings.

So, summer vacations might be over. The kids are back at school. Leaves are beginning to change and temps are beginning to drop. Now’s the time to gather up your inner harvest.

Got a comment? I love ’em! Email them here and I’ll read and reply.