Humble Enough?

Meditations in Motion

“You can have no greater sign of confirmed pride than when you think you are humble enough.”– William Law

Long-time readers of my blog may remember that I focused on one word in 2019. The word was balance.

I felt my life could use an infusion of balance. I tend to fly off on wild flights of fancy, to dream up hairbrained schemes.

Meditations in MotionOn one level I was successful. I worked on balancing yoga poses and improved my physical balance. I balanced my diet.

In the spiritual, emotional realm, the outcome was not quite as favorable.

In “Radical Acceptance“, a book I am currently reading, author Tara Brach advises the reader to adopt the detached, faintly amused attitude advocated by many Buddhist teachings as a method of avoiding sorrow. Attachments lead to suffering.

This is a balanced, moderate, sensible approach to life, but one that completely eludes me.

I get attached. I can’t avoid it. I don’t want to. I’m willing to risk having a broken heart.

I get attached to friends, to pets, to loved ones. When I was in the classroom, I got attached to students, sometimes much to their chagrin.

I remember one student in particular. He could not master a particular concept, even after hours of practice, after-school help from me, and peer mentoring. “Just give up, Mrs. Hess. It’s hopeless,” he said. “I’m going to drop the class.

Nope,” I replied. “See you tomorrow at 3:05.

I’m stubborn. I couldn’t let him go. I was attached. He eventually passed the class.

I would not do anything differently today. Where’s the balance in a no-holds-barred attachment?

After a year of thinking about balance, my conclusion is that it’s a mirage. This old world is wilder, more sublime, and God’s love more fierce than balanced.

Meditations in MotionI will try again next year to focus on one word, one concept. For 2020, my word is “humility“.

I am looking forward to considering humility this year. The inspiration for my goal is found in Philippians: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

My starting point, however, is summed up by Anne Lamott: “I want this softening, this surrender, this happiness. The problem is, I love to be, and so often am, right.


I am linking up with Worth Beyond Rubies, Sarah E Frazer Grace for Today,Β  Welcome Heart for Let’s Have Coffee, Debbie at Dare 2 Hear, Random-osity for Little Things Thursdays, and Soaring With Him for Recharge Wednesday.

Please click on the following link to read more funny or inspirational one-liners. One-Liner Wednesday.

Meditations in Motion









  1. Love the Anne Lamott quote! I looked up the definition of humility since it’s one of those words we all “know,” yet maybe not the exact meaning (“modesty in self-estimation; humbleness”). Anyway, I’m not sure what is wrong with a healthy amount of self-esteem. In fact, I think that often those with a low estimate of their self-worth overcompensate with narcissistic, bullying behaviour (sound familiar?). We can’t always be right (even Anne Lamott) but we can stand up when we are and graciously back down when we aren’t.

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    • As soon as I saw that quote, I knew I had to save it. One of the topics I want to explore next year is the distinction between having a healthy amount of self-esteem and hubris. Hmmm…who in the world could you be speaking of with the “bullying behavior” comment? πŸ™‚

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  2. Enjoyed hearing your reflections on your balance word (cool photo of tree pose too -Not sure if that is you there in the photo)
    And yeah – true and healthy balance often does come with time of imbalance – Eh? And I think the key is to stay open to the leasing of the Holy Spirit – that night sound like “duh – of course -” but it is something I have seen some folks wrestle with – they set perimeters or have a preset notion that God flips on its head. There are times god has led me to hustle and push on (which can would have seemed unbalanced but was my path at that season) and then times when maybe some well-meaning Christians night have challenged my pulling back in a area. And so it really is that old adage of planning but staying open to being led as well – eh?
    Oh and lastly – I have noticed when people are in grief recovery the learning to detach is key- but I am with you – I don’t want to detach too much or in certain ways – and that student (and students) were blessed to have you, Laurie πŸ˜ŠπŸŽ„πŸ™

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  3. My wife is a 25 year follower of Tara and used to go to her Wednesday night weekly meditation when we lived in DC. I tried to read Radical Acceptance a few years back and I couldn’t get into it. I have trouble with Tara’s Dharma talks too. I can’t keep up. I need to pause the recording and think about what she means after every sentence. It’s very possible I’m simply not smart enough to follow Tara. Humility seems to be my general direction these days. Don’t go too deep, it can affect your self esteem.

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    • My middle son and DIL are followers too. I am having trouble sticking with it. The language is difficult for me to read. I have gained some useful nuggets, though, so I am sticking with it. I’m almost done with the book.

      One of the things I want to think about is the borderline between healthy self-esteem and hubris. That’s the line I sometimes inadvertantly cross.


      • Exactly. I worked in an environment for 12 years where acknowledging something I did well was considered boastful. I got used to never tooting my own horn and dancing around my achievements. Beat me down. Tara’s language is difficult. Lot’s of jargon I’m not used to.

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  4. Humility is good too Laurie – you wrote a post that mentioned humility not too long ago. Balance is difficult – we live in a world which swirls around us, and what’s good and right one day, is not the next day – nothing is dependable and steady anymore. We were raised in an era where being a “steady eddy” was a good thing and constants in your life were something you either strived for, or took for granted. Sadly that is not the world as we know it today – we are constantly kept on our toes anymore.

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  5. Can’t recall who it was that said humility is the shy discipline. When we look directly at it, it leaves the room.
    You have a challenging year ahead of you!
    And I LOVE that Anne Lamott quote. Ugh. It’s so ME.

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  6. I’m grateful for the many nods of understanding and clarification while reading this post. Oh, how I would love to cultivate a detached, faintly amused attitude. On humility and yoga: Being one of the youngest members of my yoga class at the senior center gives me plenty of opportunities to shine. It seems like right after I do something well, like balancing in tree pose without holding on to the bar, I get a reminder in humility, like my knee won’t let me do child’s pose.

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  7. I’ve enjoyed your year of balance, Laurie. I do love this insight you’ve had: “This old world is wilder, more sublime, and God’s love more fierce than balanced.” I chase balance too and can never pin it down. Humility…you don’t go for the easy ones, my friend! πŸ™‚

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  8. As a mental health professional, detachment & disassociate states are of great concern! We need the full range of emotions in relationship to reach other & for healthy minds & hearts.
    Balance can be found through imbalance πŸ˜‰
    Merry Christmas Laurie,

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  9. Laurie, I love your new word and often struggle to find a balance between confidence and humility. Anne Lamott is one of my favorite authors, along with Maryanne Williamson and Ayan Ryand! Their beliefs and opinions are in striking contrast, but each has take-a-way value that I appreciate. On the one hand we are encouraged to advocate and promote ourselves by being fierce and confident and on the other we are to be strong but silent. It is a fine and often contradictory line, and I suspect motivation has a lot to do with it. Looking forward to your insights regarding your word of the year.

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    • I love Anne Lamotte and often save her quotes to use when I write. Marianne Williamson is another one of my favorites. I never thought about the similarities between Williamson and Rand, but you are certainly right.


    • So true. I am still struggling through “Radical Acceptance”. I really have learned a lot and have already put some of her thoughts into action in my own life. The vocabulary is just so hard for me to wade through.


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