Trying To Build A Balance

“I’m trying to find a balance, I’m trying to build a balance.”

These are lyrics from the Atmosphere song, “Trying To Find A Balance.” I’ve been using them as a personal mantra lately because I am struggling hard with balance these days. Balancing my time has been hard. Feeling balanced has been hard. The to-do list is forever growing but there are some days where I just can’t get out of my head and focus on getting the task at hand done. Just all around my balance is out of alignment and I want to build some more balance into my life. Having depression and being self-employed is a tough pairing but I am trying to fight the motivation-killer with getting back into running and working out. I’m also trying to upgrade my task organizational system so it’s less cluttered for my brain and a bit less work to maintain.   

I’ve noticed that some of these balancing acts of life aren’t just between one thing and another like we think of on a scale, sometimes these balancing acts are a bit more complex. The balance between work, play, and rest is a tough one but it’s not an either/or kind of balance, there has to be the right kind of distribution amongst the three. So is the balance of body, mind, and spirit. This pandemic has been challenging in so many kinds of ways and it has got me stumbling and fumbling through my own balancing acts. Which I find frustrating because in some ways I feel less stressed because I have not been traveling this summer or trying to prepare for events. This is a really good opportunity to get myself working in “smarter not harder” ways but it feels like any balance I have been able to find is precarious at best.

Is that what it comes down to at the heart of balance though? Teetering on an edge that’s always moving. Finding the calm and grace in yourself while the world around you keeps moving. I remember walking across the balance beam when I was a kid. I remember the arm flailing that happens when you’re trying to figure out how to move your body weight. I feel like I am having a bunch of arm flailing moments, I think the grace comes with practice over time.

One of the ways I’ve been marking some of my life lessons is by getting a railroad spike tattoo with a final total of seven. Each railroad spike has marked a different kind of lesson for me. The first one was to remind me to stay Grounded. This first tattoo has become a useful tool for me because if I find myself feeling ungrounded I can visualize stomping my spike into the ground to help bring myself back to a grounded state. The second one was a reminder to Work Hard. It is on my right forearm and I am right handed. It is the one that I am most likely to see while I am making something or working. Sometimes I’ve caught a glimpse of it while I’m in a bad mood and it gets me to pause and readjust my mindset. I don’t want to be putting my bad mood into the work I am doing or the thing I am making.

Photo of Keiden’s lower leg showing tattoo of two railroad spikes balanced tip to tip starting above ankle, ending approximately 4 inches below knee.

The lesson for me in this newest railroad spike tattoo is Balance. I thought I knew exactly where the placement and location of the first four spikes were going, one on each lower leg and one on each forearm. I thought I would be getting spike number three on my leg that day but the lesson started before any ink went into my skin. I ended up with my third and forth railroad spike in this tattoo. Not what I was expecting but it was exactly what it needed to be. The spikes are perfectly balanced tip to tip. A railroad spike is not like a nail in that the weight is not even on the top bit, a railroad spike top has more of an oval shape that has a flat top. In real life it would be near impossible to balance two railroad spikes tip to tip like they are in my tattoo. But just because something is near impossible it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try. Finding Balance in this crazy world right now seems near impossible but that isn’t going to stop me from trying to build Balance in my life.

Thank you Shannon for making the appointment. A special thanks to Jair over at Vodou Tattoos ( for everything you do.