Last year Elizabeth Gilbert was in Saint Paul and a woman asked her about how she achieved ‘balance.’ Gilbert responded that she gave up the myth of balance a long time ago equating balance to perfection. “The word BALANCE has tilted dangerously close, I fear, to the word PERFECT.”
Somehow, Balance has turned into a goal or a quest. Being frazzled, busy and overwhelmed has become the norm and when we can’t achieve balance, we are failing at something else again. Isn’t that fun?
Let’s turn it all on its head. What if Balance was instead, an invitation?
In our second part of looking at the beautiful facets on the gem of Ahimsa (Sanskrit for non-violence, first step of the study of the Yamas or restraints of yogic philosophy) let’s take a look at BALANCE.
In her book “The Yamas & Niyamas,” Deborah Adele says of Balance, “Imbalance in our systems is almost a certainty for violence, as the “dis-ease” we feel within finds its way to expression outwards.”
Imagine yourself running late to pick up your kids, you will rush home to cook dinner, take a phone call while you’re cooking, and check your texts for updated contact from work. You are asked to help with homework, sign forms, and in the midst of it all you get a call from a fellow parent asking can you pick up her child and bring the child to soccer along with your own.
You get the idea?
Some form of this scenario has the potential of happening every day in our lives. Every day. Even typing it I feel a clenching in my belly and my breath has shortened. Physiological responses to imbalance…then come the outward expressions – agitation, snappiness and meltdowns.
We spread ourselves too thin. We don’t allow for spaciousness, for a moment to breathe, for time. We don’t allow for space to take it all in and let it settle. We don’t allow for presence. Or we do, but it’s often too late – when we’ve got steam coming out our ears or we’re having a panic attack in the bathroom.
Inviting balance isn’t a head thing. You can’t think, plan or organize your way to balance (believe me I’ve tried <cough, cough Virgo>.) Balance is a gut thing. It’s the small voice within that if you push the microphone up to it, you’ll hear it say, “No thank you! I have too much on my plate.” “I’m tired.” “I need some time to myself.” “Get me out of here.”
It’s YOUR voice; it’s the voice of your needs. And that sweet voice needs to be heard and honored. Because when it’s ignored, it may create the groundwork for disharmony, for discord, for disconnection, for dis-ease…for all of the dis’s.
When you Invite balance, you start listening to that voice. Really hearing it. And then, you can start creating the space around what you hear to honor your needs.
Then, the elusive Balance will light on your shoulder like a butterfly. And when it comes, your inner voice will sing. Your outer life will reflect your inner life. “Balance creates harmony within us, and harmony within naturally expresses itself in external actions that are harmonious,” writes Adele.
THAT FEELING IS SO GOOD. So good. It’s so good that you’ll keep doing it. You’ll keep listening and hearing and honoring. Then, you’ll become like Dr. Phil Nuernberger, who says, “The deep harmony of balance is my most precious commodity and I guard it fiercely.”
As I was typing this, my daughter came up to me and asked if I could check the weather for her so she’d know what kind of clothes to wear today. I said, “No. Not right now. Please finish your breakfast and when I finish typing, I’ll check the weather for you.”
My initial reaction, was to say yes – but I could feel it pulling me off of my creative center. So I honored my voice and said NO…and it’s only 8:10 in the morning. Our days, each of them, lie ahead of us full of opportunities to make choices to honor and protect our Balance.
Come sweet Balance. Light on my shoulder. I’ll create the space and I will honor you. Through balance, let Ahimsa flourish within me and through me.