Center of Balance

I have felt out of balance lately, trying to find security in a rapidly changing mental landscape. I could feel myself constantly grasping and hanging on for dear life to anything that gave me some momentary sense of stability. As life-long ideas about who am I snapped like twigs beneath me, I felt like I was falling from the top of a redwood, crashing through branches, wildly reaching for something to catch me.

This past week, I was consciously searching for a metaphor that captured the sensation and gave me some direction on how to manage these emotions. Although I am the furthest thing from a rock climber, I imagined myself dangling from a precarious position on a high mountain, scrambling for footing.

Within this metaphor, I began looking for a way to calm my anxiety, sadness and fear. Here is what I have worked out —

Knowing your weight and center of balance on a climb enables you to maneuver the environment safely and efficiently, evaluating your next move with a clear sense of your strength and the capacity for each step to bear your weight.

In the same way, knowing and accepting my inherent value as a person gives me a sense of being centered and in touch with who I am. Instead of having my value rise and fall as defined by outside opinions or circumstances, I have a static value — just  like my physical weight on a climb. With this stable base of perception, I can make better choices, more aligned with my true self — safer steps more likely to hold and carry me forward.

I can finally stop saying there is something wrong with me when I experience failure, loss or rejection. I just made the wrong choice because my center was off-balance or I didn’t evaluate the situation clearly. This does not reflect my value as a human being — that never changes.

So when I feel myself grasping and unsteady, I will remember —

  • Just because a limb is close by and seems like the logical next step doesn’t automatically mean it will hold me if I am too heavy. Even if I grasp tightly, it will still break — probably faster. Reaching for something that is not right for me, even if I really want it and use all my strength to hold on, will ultimately result in a fall.
  • Breaking a limb does not mean I am too heavy. It just means that my weight is more than the limb can carry. There is no judgment necessary.
  • Sometimes a step seems impossible or too risky, yet it really just means I need to build my strength. Once rested, I may find that the foothold is safe. I have to stop pushing myself to exhaustion to please or impress others or because I am impatient. I might be on the right path after all, yet the timing is off.

And when I fall, I will tell myself — Falling is okay. I took a risk. I have a harness. I’ll try again. Nothing has changed. You are the same person.

Photo courtesy of photographer Heather Hanson

 

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One thought on “Center of Balance

  • Posted on February 26, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I have become aware enought to realize that most of the time is unbalanced, for me. But the good thing is this, During periods of time that balanced is experienced, yin and yang is balanced the wonderful feeling of stillness even in the center of activity is amazing…….. Further, balance can be appreciated more when unbalance is experienced occationally. So therfore periods of unbalance can be part of a balanced life.

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