Why Finding Balance Feels Kinda Imbalanced

I’m having a bit of a wrestling match with my body right now.

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It’s been quite the summer filled with travel, friends, family, eating, drinking, laughing and adventuring. It’s like I’ve been spit out of a fun vortex or something, and my body feels a bit imbalanced from the wild ride.

The gift of having a chronic spinal injury and a generally sensitive disposition is that I’m pretty aware when something’s off. I may not know exactly what, but I get messages loud and clear, typically in the form of physical sensation, when something needs to be addressed. I’ve developed skills to work with this feedback loop that I’m proud to say keep me feeling pretty top notch most of the time.

However, occasionally I get carried away with life (particularly when there’s a fun vortex involved) and forget to listen.

Eventually the messages from my body become so loud I can’t ignore them anymore and I’m forced to drop whatever I’m doing and pay attention. After some active listening and a bit of trial and error, I’m usually able to find balance. Sometimes this process takes a day, sometimes a couple of days or, in instances like this one, it can take weeks.

When I broke my spine years ago, I ended up going on bed-rest and unplugging from life for about a year. It was a very challenging time but also profoundly healing and empowering on many levels. I was forced to sit with myself and get to know myself. It was during that time I began the process of reconciling my relationship with my body, and with life in general. It’s also when I started to understand the nuances of balance.

Balance is about relationship. It is not a state we arrive and stay in. It is not static, and when we try to be static for the sake of something like feeling secure, we tend to lose our equilibrium. It’s tough (and I may even argue impossible) to be rigid and balanced at the same time.

Once this realization hit me, I started seeing examples of it everywhere.

Take trees for instance. I had the privilege of walking amongst giant trees this summer (Sequoia and Redwoods) and noticed surprisingly that their bark is kinda squishy. These gentle giants are actually quite soft. Don’t get me wrong, they’re massive, powerful creatures, but they are not these rock solid structures I assumed they’d be. They are just the right interplay of density, strength and flexibility to support their size. I even heard them creaking as they swayed in the the wind from time to time, all the while staying perfectly upright and rooted. Talk about an impressive example of equanimity!

Beautiful Redwoods

Beautiful Redwoods

The human body is another great example, particularly for me when I practice balancing asana (postures). If I’m too rigid, whether that’s in my body or my mind (attached to “sticking” the pose) I inevitably stumble or fall. When I remember to breath (creating spaciousness) and work with my body by listening to sensation, accepting it no matter what my ego desires, and choosing adjustments I feel will support, I find myself playfully maneuvering through balance. I also feel strong and open, and ultimately don’t care if I stick the pose or not.

What they don't tell you about handstands in the snow is how freakin' cold it is on your hands

What they don't tell you about handstands in the snow is how freakin' cold it is on your hands

I could go on and on with examples. Nature reflects this relationship of balance in every moment and in every season - In order for there to be a fall harvest, there has to be a summer grow season, which needs the spring rains, which needs the winter rest...

Balance is the nature of this existence and the reality of life. It is the constant cycle of flux and change.

When we understand this and allow ourselves to have a relationship with these cycles, we find ease and we feel balanced.

When we fight these cycles, we suffer.

I get why we fight them. To surrender to these changes requires the annihilation of the ego as it is in that moment. A letting go of our attachment to things being a certain way. As you might imagine, this can be a very uncomfortable experience that feels like a death of sorts, or a wild roller-coaster ride or, well, imbalanced!

Not to mention that most of us live in a culture that fights change for the sake of feeling secure. We cling to paradigms because somewhere along the way we were taught that assimilating to the status quo is how we survive. The problem with this cultural norm is that it hinders growth and our ability to evolve. At some point we hit a wall where we realize something’s gotta give if we’re ever going to heal.

The cool thing that I’m discovering is that when we’re brave and go deeper and deeper into deprogramming ourselves from trauma and conditioning, we find that we’re actually designed to handle the roller-coaster of this life. We’re all a little wild, grounded, fully present and deeply resourced. Just like nature.

Balance isn’t something we obtain or grasp, it’s something we get to dance with. It’s a relationship, and anyone who’s been in a real, juicy relationship knows they’re anything but stagnant. They’re living, breathing organisms - just like us.

So I will allow this process of finding center to take as long as it needs to. I will lean on the support that shows up for me, be compassionate with myself and keep letting go of it needing to look a certain way. I trust that I have within me whatever is needed to ride this cycle.

If you’re going through something similar, I wanna remind you that you’ve got what it takes too. Trust in the process of finding balance, even when it feels imbalanced.

If you're looking for support reach out to me. I'd love to help.

Jennifer Noble