There is always beauty around us to help us find our balance
I've found that there is always some beauty left — in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can help you. Look at these things, then find yourself again, and regain your balance.
~ Anne Frank ~
For a long time I found it hard to believe in balance. It felt like a mythical creature, or, at the very least, something that happened for other people, but not for me.
I possess something of an addictive personality, and then, being a Bull born in the Year of the Ox, a tendency for attachment, and holding on long after something has reached and passed its sell by date. So, for many years, my life was a concerto of all or nothing: exciting and exhausting in pretty much equal measure. (I never saw the inherent balance in that until I wrote that sentence!)
And then one day, as one does, I had an insight. I realised that balance is actually a function of the perpetual motion of managing falling off, moment by moment by moment.
The insight was that balance is not the absence of toppling, one way or the other, but the noticing of toppling, and through the noticing, the cultivating of the courage to adjust.
Balance lies at the intersection of backbone and heart.
Given the valency for all or nothing, and the planetary-induced capacity for putting my head down and ploughing forward even in the face of unworkable situations, it was often a gargantuan task to adjust, and rebalance - because the noticing took a while to fine-tune. A long while. Noticing required heart (courage) and adjusting took backbone (discipline). Have you ever had that experience where you leave something for too long, and then doing it just seems pointless because you’ve “left it too late” (even though it hardly ever is)? My sense of equilibrium was often sacrificed on the altar of that “too late” assumption: “Oh I might as well give up and allow it all to fall apart because I’ve left it too late now……” And, of course, once your behaviour is being driven by an untrue limiting assumption lived as true (in other words not lived as an assumption but as a fact) it can take a long time for things to change. We are such powerful beings, with this seriously astonishing ability to generate evidence for our beliefs. The practice of unearthing untrue limiting assumptions lived as true and replacing them with assumptions that are more liberating, empowering, and freeing of our true selves to be fully expressed in our lives is, therefore, simply not “a nice to have” but more like an essential service we owe ourselves. Other assumptions I held that got in the way of balance were:
I’m just not that kind of person
I’m a too much – all or nothing – kind of person
I’ll have to go and sit in a monastery on a mountain top if I ever want to gain balance
Balance is a myth
I will never be able to be like [insert name of any one of my more Zen-like behaving friends or colleagues)
It’s too hard
Balance is boring
Oh I could go on for pages probably. There were a lot of assumptions about my ability to trust my intuition, because I didn’t really have any intuition, because intuition is something that happens in the body, and I didn’t really have a body either! I mean I had one, but I didn’t like it much, or treat it well, or listen to it ever, so ……… no gut feel to warn me to notice that some toppling was happening or about to. So, I was often at the bottom of the deep end before I’d noticed that the balance was gone.
But balance was something that I wanted, and yearned for.
And regular thinking sessions meant that I started to explore what I was assuming that was preventing me from experiencing it.
I began to like my body, and then to love it and to listen to it, and then I began to notice. I learned that I could catch the toppling and re-calibrate. I started to experience the moment by moment messages and signposts from inside me, and outside me, around me, that would whisper or shout: left a little, right a little, nope! Not down there, down that path leads to unhappiness, go that way……..harder choice maybe, but worth the effort……balance awaits.
And most recently, my journey with balance has signposted me to breathing, beauty, playfulness and joy as four key indicators for the regaining of equilibrium if I notice it has started to falter. So, I loved this Anne Frank quote when I came across it. And I have been practicing what she suggested, and I have been finding that there is always some beauty left, and it can help.