My friend Jen asked me to write more about this. So I’m going to try to share more deeply what I mean, and what I’m learning about Balance.
Balance is a way of describing a relationship between two or more forces, or qualities, or flavors, or anything really.
Balance is a perfect sandwich: the right combination and arrangement of ingredients. Maybe it’s bacon, thin-sliced apple, butter lettuce, tomato from your friend’s garden, and that amazing bread you love, toasted just enough to give it some texture. Too much bacon, and you overpower the rest. Even though you love bacon, you love it more when balanced within the context of the whole sandwich.
In Tree Pose, balance arises from the relationship of muscles and bone — alignment over the standing foot. Yet even within that stillness the heart beats, the body breathes, there is a continuous symphony of moment and little adjustments.
Each breath is a balance: inhale. . . exhale. . .
Dancing is a balance. You play with gravity, you play with the heat and force of your partner, or with the movement of your own limbs and weight in space.
In a sense, learning to fall also calls for balance — a relationship to gravity and your own body. I learned to fall in Modern dance, and also in AcroYoga. I learned to fall in Trapeze. (I have often lost my Balance falling in Love.)
Balance is our relationship to lovers, friends, family, work, rest, and play. It is not a fixed recipe, portioning out exact measures of time, energy, and love among these things.
Balance can look different from one moment or season to the next.
Balance is personal.
Balance describes your relationship to your center, your internal sense of home. When you feel unstable, unsteady, or out of balance it can be scary and uncomfortable. There were many days during law school when I felt extended beyond what I could sustain. How to get it all done? When could I sleep? (The biggest and I think most foolish risks I’ve taken were during law school: a few late nights, driving tired over Highway 17. Driving tired is terrible. There’s so much at stake — not just you, but also the other drivers. Yet the brains says, “I just need to make it home.” Please don’t drive tired.)
Some days it is possible to push beyond what feels normal or familiar. But you must come back into balance. Sometimes it is by returning closer to center — other times, you grow in a way that your center point changes. Or you add a new ingredient. Or release something that no longer works.
What does Balance look like, or feel like, at this point in your day? In your life? In your career? In your family?
Balance is never “done” in the sense you figure it out once and for all and are done. There is always discovery and growth — you’re a human, these are your gifts. It need not be a struggle. Just notice what you need and give it to yourself. That is the essential thing. Give yourself rest, love, release, connection, tenderness, whatever you need in the moment. Because, really, you already have it. You’ve just temporarily forgotten.
I feel myself drifting. So let me come back to center.
Balance is a relationship. Remember your breath: inhale, and exhale. That’s balance. It’s fluid. It’s dynamic. If you feel lost or out of balance, just come back to your breath. It will help you remember everything you need to know.
This is your life.
It is sacred.
Be curious. Savor all of it.