Whether we are mindful of it or not, we are striving for balance almost constantly. Our innate sense of balance is what guides us towards creating harmony in our life. Whether it’s maintaining the many aspects of our life, like family, work, health, spirituality, and self-care, or creating the line that establishes our personal boundaries, our lives are a multifaceted balancing act. We use this sense of balance to manage time for work, play, activity and rest, and to find our place between giving and receiving, striving and allowing, speaking and listening. But it’s through understanding ourselves, with self-awareness and self-acceptance, that we go beyond our instincts, build our stability and strength, and utilize this sense of balance to find fulfillment and happiness in our lives.
This month, I am encouraging you to explore your sense of balance in life; what it means, what it requires, how you approach it, and how you can use it to gain perspective, make changes, and move forward in life.
What goes into creating balance?
Focal Point. If you’ve ever practiced a balancing pose in yoga, you may have heard your teacher instruct you to use a Drishti: a spot to fix your gaze. Focusing on a specific point (maybe on the floor, your extended hand, or a candle in the room) helps us deepen our concentration, hone our attention, quiet our minds, and use visual stillness to find physical balance. Off the mat, we can use the same idea of focal point to help us find balance in life. Fix your gaze on your intention, let it serve as your Drishti, use it to focus your mind, tune out excess stimuli, and find stillness and concentration.
Foundation. My father-in-law hikes steep trails, ledge-y mountain passes, and technical rocky stretches in the mountains of New England with the ease of a mountain goat. While visiting my husband and I in Arizona, we hiked a particularly steep trail in Sedona. That day he shared one nugget of wisdom, which has since become my hiking mantra: “trust your feet.” When things get steep, or rocky, or you suddenly find yourself looking down towards your potential death in the canyon below, find your foundation. Feel the grounding in your feet, your values, or your faith, sink deep into that foundation, trust it to hold you steady and keep you safe.
Flexibility. In order to balance, we must let go of rigidity, perfectionism, and attachment. We must be willing to yield to what comes and goes, bend accordingly, and be in a place that is in perpetual movement. Even when we achieve balance, we are one moment, experience, or breath away from losing it again. Balance is a state that is constantly changing; how your life in balance looks today may be completely different to your life in balance tomorrow. Be flexible enough adapt to the changes.
Falling. Anytime we balance, we take the risk of leaning too far to one side, teetering, toppling, and falling over. But sometimes, it’s losing our balance, that teaches us what balancing is. In falling we discover our strengths and weaknesses, where we lean, what distracts our focus, and decide what it takes to continue to practice. Each time we fall we are given the opportunity to prove that we can stand back up again, and we build trust and faith in our ability to do so.