If I were to describe the way I often feel it would be “out of whack”. Like water I seek my equilibrium in life, but it can often elude me. Just when I may have had a good night’s sleep (an increasingly rare occurrence) I put on the morning news show (big mistake!) only to be confronted with not one, but two or three shooting rampages, tornadoes, or terrorist insurgencies that have snuffed out innocent lives. Getting into balance and staying in it is like being on an emotional see-saw.
Which begs the question: Are we supposed to achieve balance in life? There’s nothing that appears more stable than a placid lake or a solid ledge, yet below the surface there may be a raging turmoil or quaking earth. If I were in perfect physical balance I’d probably stop moving. It is the momentary sensation of imbalance that causes our body to react by shifting our leg to take a step forward. Even a see-saw enjoys a momentary pivot point of balance before shifting levels.
After having my balance nerve cut in brain surgery due to an acoustic neuroma, I discovered in subsequent therapy that we depend on three things to keep us in physical balance: our two balance nerves, our sight, and the sensations we feel through our feet and ankles. All three work in harmony to keep us upright and in relative balance. If one fails the other two are called upon to compensate. If all three fail, such as when I am walking in the dark on uneven terrain, I fall down.
I also discovered that not having a balance nerve has meant that my body works harder to stay upright. I use up more energy to do ordinary human activities such as standing and walking, which results in my getting tired more easily (or is it being 62 that I can blame?). I’ve discovered that when I walk forward at a fast clip the momentum helps keep me in balance. Walking slowly in tight spaces throws me body out of whack.
Applying the physical to the spiritual and emotional realm let me off the hook. If I think of being out of whack as the norm then I can focus on what it is that helps me find that pivot point of momentary balance. Spiritual and emotional imbalance can be my friend as I sense what will prompts me to move forward, to gain momentum, to help me take the next good step and discover what’s next for me.
Being “out of whack” then is not a bad thing and I need to stop judging myself or beating myself up that I feel out of balance. Sometimes I simply need to ask myself:
* What is it that I need to do in this moment simply to get to the next moment?
* What is my body, mind, or spirit trying to say to me with this feeling of unease?
* How is my mind trying to dominate my heart?
* What is my heart saying that I’m not listening to?
* What do I need to do to take care of myself so I can look forward the next pivotal moment of balance I’ll be able to enjoy, before feeling out of whack again?”
How I resonate with your post! I can’t blame my imbalance on any physical issue – except lifelong clumsiness. My personality, according to the enneagram has me perpetually out of balance, and in CPE the images I found to represent myself were the Mobius strip, the Foucault pendulum and the gyroscope. I maintain some semblance of physical balance through dance, which gets harder each year, but has allowed me to feel that exhilaration of balance/imbalance that you mention with walking fast. One of my favorite phrases is from T. S. Eliot who speaks of the still point – your fulcrum – in the dance. Movement can be meaningless without that still point that energizes the movement.
I use a number of still points in my day as a chaplain and as a person of many identities to inform my movement – at best, growth – throughout my day and my life. Questions like those you ask are excellent exercises in awareness at the still point or in the awkward movement.
in all of our differences so many of us feel the same. We want to find some joy balance and peace…find comfort then in knowing that even in your darkest hours of despair which will pass…you are soooo not alone!