Down: What is Balance Anyway?
by Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert
When I was a child I spent my summers on Long Island playing endless games with my cousins. The playground was in short walking distance from their home. They had the best playground. It was a wide-open
space with all sorts of fun things for a child to play
on. We would have contests for swinging or climbing the
highest on the playground equipment. In those days I
was a featherweight and whenever we went on the seesaw I
ended up on the high end. I would bounce up and down
but there was no way I was getting my end of the seesaw
any lower then sky-high. It wasn’t until I learned to
adjust my weight did that advantage shift. I would move
to the end of the plank and found my weight could bring
me down. Not all the way to the bottom but usually it
brought the seesaw into balance. When my younger cousin
got on with me we could shift our weight together and we
then had a chance to reach the bottom. Everyone then
had the opportunity to go up and down.
Everyday we make
choices about balancing things in our life. Adjustment
are made to set things right. You shift your position
in your seat on the bus so you and the other person both
have space. Instead of French fries you choose a salad
at dinner. In the book, Living in Balance: A Dynamic Approach for Creating
Harmony & Wholeness in a Chaotic World,
authors Joel and Michelle Levey offer the following idea
of balance through their description of homeostasis.
“Derived from the Greek word meaning, “to keep the
same,” the term encompasses the interplay of all the
systems necessary to preserve and maintain the constant
conditions of life.” Somewhere in the world there is
chaos. The continents shift, volcanoes erupt, waves
hit. Despite the outward chaos and even violence of
these occasions, the earth is setting herself right. In
our own lives we may feel tossed into such turmoil. The
challenge is finding a way to right the balance in our
lives without tumbling completely into disarray. We
need a framework in which equilibrium can be regained.
Today we can strike the right balance.
a life in balance really mean for you? We all have
different interpretations on this concept. A former
roommate could not leave the apartment until she found
the discrepancy in her checkbook. The difference could
be as small as twenty-five cents but it upset her
worldview enough she could not move further. For others
it is the balance of all the factors in life; body, mind
and sprit as well as all the external attributes that
can add or subtract to a balanced life.
tell you how to attain balance in your life, but I can
offer a few suggestions to get you started.
There is a point on which balance is achieved.
Developing inner strength can provide you with the
foundation to maintain equilibrium. What are the
internal and external forces that can knock you off
balance? Food can affect us. Others are tormented by
their emotions or an unresolved past. When you are
feeling out of kilter, take the time to evaluate what is
going on. What is making you anxious? What in life
Environment: In his book, The War of Art: Break Through
the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles,
Steven Pressfield says, the artist must eliminate chaos
in order to create. Purge those things that are in you
way. Are you living in physical chaos that prevents you
from finding the table where you draw or write? Do you
want to practice dancing but your space is too small?
What in your physical environment needs adjusting so you
can live your best life? I tend to be a pack rat and
accumulate clutter all around me. A professional
organizer once told me that clutter was a representation
of the womb. I was providing a safe space with stuff.
But how else can I create that safe space? I have taken
to shredding the accumulated stuff in my life. The
sound of the shredder reminds me I am clearing a place
for my real work. My mind feels freer to think up new
ideas and now I have the space to create.
A well-maintained body is your best resource for living
a balance life. A poor diet will spin you out of control
and its misuse will leave you with little energy for
living. In some practices, such as yoga, tai chi or
martial arts you learn to develop a strong and powerful
inner core. Without this core you can be knocked off
your feet in seconds. But any physical activity will
bring you in close communication with your body. You
will intuitively know what your body needs and wants to
maintain its best health.
There have been a number of studies that demonstrate a
strong spiritual connection enhances your life.
Meditation can increase your focus and help you to feel
calmer. Prayer may give you a sense of inner peace in a
stress-filled day. A healthy spiritual life not only
gives you an inner strength but will give you a strong
community of fellow seekers who can support you.
Worldview: Are you
afraid of losing your balance? Balance becomes
this thing that must be attained at all costs. We
become so fearful of becoming out of control that we
never take a chance of any kind. The desire to have a
life with no interruptions or chaos is a life lived in a
warped state of balance. It is more an illusion of
balance rather then a true one. A life out of whack may
just be a call to creativity. A martial arts master is
able to correct an imbalance immediately. As we grow
strong we are able to manage the disorder of our lives
more effectively. We are called to live fully in life.
Meet chaos head on. Expand our worldview.
In the show 30 Days hosted by
Morgan Spurlock of Surpersize Me; David Stacy is a young
Christian man from West Virginia who spends 30 days with
a large Muslim family and community in Detroit,
Michigan. The rules are he must immerse himself in
their culture and religion for the time he is with
them. At some point he is in a heated debate with his
host family about Islam and terrorism and then there is
the call to prayer. Despite where they are in the
conversation they stop and pray together. After the
prayer is over, the heat of the debate has been
dissipated and they can go on and have conversation.
Prayer in this instance brought their emotions back to
order. Before he began this 30-day challenge his life
seemed in balance; he had a family, work and a strong
faith. He allowed his life to be thrown out of balance
to have an experience that would ultimately open his
eyes to how other people lived. His worldview was
enlarged and enriched and he had a newfound gratitude
for his life the lives of the other. He was able to
understand what it really means to live in a country
that is supposed to be free for all when you are
perceived as the outsider. We don’t live alone. We are
affected by the choices and decisions of others.
I don’t know if we can live
a life in true balance all the time. I don’t think that
would be interesting at all. Adjustment and change is
part of life. We can’t have complete control over the
outward circumstance of our lives. But like the martial
art master, we can adjust our imbalance immediately. A
healthy balance is a matter of keeping our feet on the
ground and eyes wide open.
Living in Balance: A Dynamic Approach for
Creating Harmony & Wholeness in a Chaotic World, authors
Joel and Michelle Levey
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks
and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
© Copyright 2005
Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert. All Rights
Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert is
an interfaith minister, writer and founder of Wild Woman
Ministries and Wild Woman Network a forum to explore and
express creativity and spirituality. As a minister and
coach, Rev. Schubert helps people discover and unlock
their creative potential -- through creating art,
producing classes and workshops or just pursuing a life
long goal -- and is committed to assisting people in
fulfilling their dreams. She also leads workshops and
facilitates a popular writing program called the Wild
Angels at the historic Cathedral of St. John the
Divine. Her subscription e-course - Writing for
Life: Creating a Story of Your Own, is available: http://www.selfhealingexpressions.com/courses.shtml
or visit www.wildwomanministries.org.
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