Maria A. Mansfield
The Gift of Balance
Finding the right balance is something I believe we all stumble upon at different stages in life. For over two years now, I have been practicing Yoga. I remember my first class. I kept wondering when was it actually going to start because it didn’t seem as strenuous. Then I learned that Yoga is much more organic. It focuses on the whole being. Apart from stretching, strengthening your muscles, and being mindful, you also get to learn balance. This, for me, was hands down my biggest challenge. On the first attempts at balancing exercises, I was sure I’d land on the floor! Thank goodness for the mat!
But seriously, I think almost everyone struggles to achieve balance. I’m learning that balance is not just being able to lift your foot for a few seconds. It’s more about developing this excellent character trait that’s indispensable for our everyday life. It’s an art that helps us juggle our priorities, relationships, work, rest, and everything in between, without dropping anything along the way. But because we’re human, we know we struggle with areas that could use more balance. Which ones do you identify in your life? Sometimes it’s good to take inventory.
The challenge we face when something in our life is out of balance is that it not only affects us, but it almost always affects others. How do we regain balance in these areas of our life? What would that look like for you? Could we start small and take at least that first step?
Lao-tzu once said: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
Seems like the first step is always the hardest. So we procrastinate. Our thinking pattern goes, It’s probably too late to change now -so why try? Or the classic, one-size-fits-all answer to avoid any kind of challenge: “I don’t have the willpower to do it.” But if instead, this was about something we really wanted, our willpower would suddenly be in prime working condition. We sometimes tell ourselves we can’t do something when we should actually tell ourselves: Ok, I’ll give this a try, -just for today.
If we work too late, then we’re exhausted, and our families miss us. -Can we work at least a half-hour less just for today? When we don’t sleep enough because of worry, our bodies don’t get to recharge and heal. -Would a peaceful relaxation or meditation help to sleep better tonight? The times we don’t work out affects our overall health. Would it be a start if at least we walked outside for 10 minutes? The hours we spend on social media comparing our life to others undoubtedly out-win our own sense of accomplishment. -How terrible could it be if we stayed off our phone for 20 minutes?
If we overeat, our body suffers. -Can we pass up on that extra piece of pie as a start? When we don’t eat enough, it also affects our mind. Would eating with a friend that cares help? When we have addictions, everyone suffers. Might we dare take the first step to be free? When we spend too much, debt amounts so fast we can’t control it. -Could we stay away from the Mall or from online shopping at least one day a week? Maybe you think if you do just a little, it won’t work -and you’re right. But that’s only true until the efforts start building up balance in that area of our life and then it becomes transformed. .
Balance is a dance we practice our whole life. We don’t need to feel bad if we don’t get it right all the time. But the more balance we achieve in one area of our life, the more it will seep into the others. I hope this encourages you in some way to start wherever you are. Balance is a gift that’s always available to us whenever we decide to open it. I believe if you’re reading this, maybe today could be a new start for you. It just takes the first step forward.
All my best to you
Maria A. Mansfield, PRS, CLC