By Leah Kinney, December, 2015
When I was six years old, I loved the balance beam. I felt so proud of myself, and brave, when I walked across without falling. One summer, my dad made me a balance beam out of 2 x 4s. I got a ton of splinters that summer, and quite a few bruises, but by August, I was joyfully skipping rope up and down the length of the beam.
For most of us, balancing around center is a fickle and fleeting experience. But the quiet steadiness found when we do balance around center is sublime. As a physical skill, balance diminishes as we age, and yet is increasingly important as we get older. Luckily, due to the brilliance of the human body, the ability to balance can be improved with practice!
When we practice balancing postures, we gain a visceral understanding of the fact that balance is not a fixed point. Rather we wander in and around center, and then we fall. Sometimes we fall quietly and lightly; other times we collapse in a heap on the floor. At the moment, the cycle of falling out of center and then finding center again is most interesting to me.
I like things (a.k.a. my life!) to be steady, even, and tempered, so that the emotional feeling of balance is never too far away. I imagine that many of us of us feel that way. Thankfully, life doesn’t cooperate with such safe, and sometimes lifeless, plans. For example, I had a baby in August. So I am now the mother of a five year old and a four month old. Needless to say, I’ve lost my habituated sense of center.
So day after day, now, I recalibrate and begin anew, the delicate dance of navigating equilibrium. I’ve heard “center” described as the place from which we can fall in all directions, and that is ringing true for me lately. Sometimes I am literally balancing the baby on one arm while playing with her older brother. Other times I am quietly wandering the depths of my heart, in search of the place from which I can love fully in all directions.