Saturday, May 3, 2008

Balance (My Sacred Life, Sunday)

I sometimes become disappointed in how I am handling a situation or a relationship, and one of the first thoughts in my head during those times of reflection is a need for balance.

What a great ally we have in that concept! In many ways, the challenge of being a hugely potent spirit in a sometimes-cooperative Earth suit is one of finding a balance between competing elements of ourselves.

We want to be spiritual, and we want to see our sports team win a championship (I can assure you I am not in my spiritual center when watching the Broncos). We want to be tough as nails, and we want to be loving and kind. We seek enlightened guidance, and we love a night out with the boys (or girls).

What balance provides us is a chance to have all of the elements we desire, and it is up to us to find the place where balance is available.

Balance is tricky, though. It's a lot like a pendulum, where you imagine the perfect sweet spot to be when the pendulum is exactly at its lowest point, but it doesn't stay there. When seeking balance, we are really in need of that same idea in our heads: where can we be which provides freedom to move a bit in either direction, but is centered in a place of peace, a spot we can relax into?

Just as a pendulum can cover a great deal of ground or only a little, the same is true of a human being seeking balance. Some people feel a balancing place in their lives even as they are wildly different from one day to the next--they are spanning the wide expanse of their own emotions or desires. Others find balance without so dramatic a change from day to day, but they, too, experience a shift from a bit too much of this one day, to a bit too much of that the next.

Another often-referenced analogy when one speaks of balance is the unicycle, and how it is ridden, or, in this case, kept in one spot, more or less. This illustration says it well.

You don't find one spot and stay there. Instead, you move the wheel forward a bit, then backward a bit, keeping your body over the center of gravity...the average of your frontward/backward motion.

My own experience was one of constant disappointment until I came to realize that I had more balance in my life than I was giving myself credit for. That easing of the standard, the recognition that it is perfectly within a balanced life to push the unicycle's wheel an inch farther than normal, was a very important one for me.

I don't know about you, but I find I am typically harder on myself than I am on others, holding myself to measuring up to what is often a placement of the bar too high to meet. Like this:

Lately, I am focusing energy on the softer approach with myself, and I think it helps me a bunch. There are plenty of opportunities in life for getting smacked upside the face, so I have decided I don't need to compete in that arena. Instead, I'm seeking balance, and accepting as balance however close I can come to it today. Tomorrow, same game, new me: I look forward to the challenge.

It could be that life is more willing to be a journey of enjoyment than we allow ourselves to realize. What if, as we are riding our virtual unicycles, life offers this message to us?


Olivia said...


As I read your sacred sunday post, I thought of balance as you described it with the unicycle. I thought of the Libby Sauter video I recently posted on my site. This has given me lots of food for thought and will, I think be what I post about for sacred sunday (here, on Monday!). Thank you for your reflections! Love, O

Angela said...


I love this post. Balance can seem so elusive at times, but usually it's just a change-in-thought away.

GreenishLady said...

Rick, Balance is one of my favourite words, and concepts. Often, after hours of working an issue back and forth in searching for the approach that's best for me, balance comes up as the answer, a return to the centre, an acceptance of the validity of both (or all) sides, but neither (or none) to an extreme. Balance. I like it. I like what you say here. Thanks.

Rick Hamrick said...

O--thanks so much for the Libby Sauter video! Thanks for being here, for being you, and for being so present for others.

Angela--I'm with you! We are never more than one breath from heaven, regardless of the drama of the moment. Since we also tend to buy into the drama, it can be hard to remember how close our rescue is from it.

Imelda--Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. While it is not my specialty, balance is a concept I have come to value more and more.