Photographs by Meadow Linn

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Keeping the Balance

Recently I was hanging out with a friend who’s the poster child for “woe is me.” According to him, no one works as hard as he does and everyone else’s life is better, easier, and more fun. The more time I spent with him, the more I began to notice myself falling into this thought form as well. When he said he did x and y, I found myself wanting to one-up him with, “Well, I do x, y, AND z.” Whether we’re aware of it or not, we tend to mirror those around us.

After meeting with him, I was embarrassed to hear myself talking to another friend in much the same way. I even caught myself whining about going wine tasting with friends when what I really needed to do was organize my tax documents. On one hand, since I have very few free days in the coming weeks, I was being responsible by setting the time aside to go through receipts; yet, I also started to wonder if perhaps I’d begun to lose my sense of balance. It’s important to take time for myself, whether it’s to taste local wine, make myself a nice meal, or spend time with family and friends.

Since my “woe is me” friend talks incessantly, mostly about how busy he is and how everyone else seems to “have it made,” he misses the opportunity to see what’s around him and recognize the many blessings in his life. His rapid-fire chatter reminds me that Mahatma Gandhi said, “There’s more to life than increasing its speed.” Interestingly, I’ve noticed the people whom my friend believes “have it made” tend to work hard, but they have the ability to slow down enough to find joy and beauty wherever they are, no matter what they’re doing. Henri Matisse said, “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” There’s always something to marvel at, but we have to be willing to slow down and look.

Take time to smell the flowers
Most of us are constantly striving, seeking, and running from place to place to accomplish the next task, reach a goal, or make ends meet. Yet, do we know what we’re running toward?

When I look at my schedule and my head begins to spin, I feel both simultaneously overwhelmed and titillated, because oddly a full calendar seems to mean I’ve reached some level of success. When I’m in the middle of it, everything I’m doing feels crucial to my success or failure, as though the world would fall apart if I didn’t respond to e-mail, return phone calls, or make every deadline. Of course, in the short term, all of this stuff is indeed important. But, beyond that, there’s a larger picture.

Perspective can be a valuable ally when striving to keep balance in your life. At the risk of sounding dramatic, if your life were to end today, would you be satisfied? What have you experienced? Are you nurturing your relationships? How have your grown? Have you made a difference? Are you living your best life in this moment? Are you enjoying the journey? How much joy and love do you experience each day?

Over the past year, my scales have been dangerously tipping out of balance, but I’m working to find my equilibrium and take time not just to smell the roses, but also to smell the soup simmering on the stove.

As a suggestion, surround yourself with people who not only support and uplift you, but also people whom you’d like to emulate. Since we tend to mirror those around us, the more you’re with people who have a good sense of balance in their life, the more peace, love, and harmony will flood your life.


Coconut Lace Cookies 

 As I'm striving to keep my balance, I’ve realized that spending time with good friends is one of the things that’s lacking in my day-to-day life. So, although my calendar is currently quite busy, I carved out a few days to go to Chicago to celebrate the upcoming birth of my college roommate’s first child. In honor of this occasion, I created these cookies for the baby shower. These dainty gluten- and dairy-free pastries seemed like the perfect sweet treat to welcome a spring baby.

Makes about 2 dozen

1/3 cup coconut oil
½ cup organic sugar (evaporated cane juice)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ cup sweet rice flour
1 cup unsweetened dried coconut

Preheat oven to 375º

In a medium bowl, cream the coconut oil and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until fully combined. Stir in the sweet rice flour and the coconut. Roll a small amount of dough between your palms to create a walnut-size ball. Flatten it into a disc and put on a cookie sheet. Repeat. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the outside edges are golden, about 10-12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet, then remove them with a thin metal spatula. Enjoy!


  1. Wow What yummy cookies! I LOVE coconut, and..they're gluten and dairy free--just like me (which you might remember). I'll keep these in mind when I decide to make a sweet treat. Thank you! -- And the picture of your kitty smelling the flower, is precious. A perfect greeting card shot.

    So, you'll be in my town...Chicago soon. Have a great time. I'd love to see or talk w/you while you're here...but I know you'll be happily occupied w/the Big Event. Enjoy it!
    ..the best to you always..

  2. Hi Meadow - Whew--I could just feel my energy going down as I read about your friend. May he realize his true worth!!! Having said that, your coconut lace cookies sound like a perfect antidote for negativty! Enjoy your time with your friend in Chicago.


  3. Hi Meadow

    Thank you for the gentle reminder of what is important in life. Even though it makes me a little sad because it brings to mind some relationships that I need to nurture more.. ones that I am not sure how to address... distant brothers who have their own lives for instance. Anyway I appreciate this call to action! Lots of love. Sarah

  4. Beautifully expressed, as always. I've been dealing with the inner conflict brought on by someone I'm feeling is more of a frienemy than a friend. It is a constant battle trying to stay on the high road as she continually fires at me from the low road. I'm trying to be the light but my patience is wearing thin and my skies are getting cloudier where she is involved. I'm struggling with the dichotomy of not letting it get to me and being a good friend vs burning this toxic bridge. I don't want to engage in drama and where she is involved that's all there is. Maybe I should draw the bridge up and maintain my peaceful kingdom.

  5. It has sweet rice flour listed as an ingredient. The health food store does not have it. I did see somewhere Mochiko Sweet rice flour. Would that be what you are referring to. I thought I use to use it to make Mochiko which is like mochi. Would the Mochiko work

    1. "Sweet rice flour," "Mochiko," and "glutinous rice flour" are all the same thing. It's much starchier than rice flour, and it has a finer texture. It gives the cookies a bit of a chew. Typically, it's available from Asian Markets and Natural Foods stores. If your health food store carries the brand NRG...they have it in a box. Happy baking!!

    2. Hi! It's been awhile since I visited this site. I've been in a certain personal "realm". And time seems to fly by.

      I love your beautiful photos! I can smell the flowers and feel the soft cuddly fur of your cat and the warm, steamy aroma of the tea. So cozy and comforting and beautiful. I've always wanted to learn photography and capture amazing scenes.

      Relationships seems to be one of the most difficult/challenging aspects of life. Recently, I've been listening to Abraham Hicks audios. Abraham Hicks' teaching would be that I have attracted my experience by law of attraction. So I'm being more aware of what I tend to vibrate/think and feel for most of my time. Do I tend to worry alot? Feel resentments? Etc. I'm also learning to pray more often, for peace for everyone involved. I also learned that I also bothered the other person too(ouch!). So, now I just pray and imagine, as often as I can, the mutual relationships I would love to have. But, I guess the negative ones are lessons too. I guess we are here to learn too about ourselves, and all is well in truth.

      Much love and blessings. All the Best to you, Meadow, and everyone.