Sometimes, it can feel like we are constantly trying to seek balance in our lives. Teetering those fine lines between work, rest, family, friends, eating well, exercise, life missions etc. Perhaps we feel we should already have things “together” or be in particular place. We might compare ourselves to others and their successes and feel a bit flat, but really, it´s an illusion to think anyone has the life balance thing under control. It is ever changing, evolving, and well, wobbly in many cases.
So darlings, once again it´s time to address that ever constantly shifting process. We dabbled a little here, but following the week that was, it feels apt to revisit in relation to our recent series of gallery yoga classes where most recently we lurked in the wonderful world of Johannes Rian taking it on and off the mat.
As some of you know, one of my fave things to do, is sharing my mistakes, excruciating experiences and awkward mishaps in the hope that it might help someone feel better about their situation, or offer what I might have learned (or still have to learn in most cases). This week was a prime corker of a person doing balancing “badly”. I realise this is somewhat hypocritical, as in teaching, i will reassure that there is no such thing. But i am pretty sure i hit it. It was a case of mismanaging time, a classic situation for many of us who are eager to please and worried about letting anyone down. At the sacrifice of our sanity, in most cases. Luckily, as soon as the warning bells rang (i became rudely self-critical, convinced i was incapable of anything) so took it upon myself to seek out a dark corner to plunge into the sweetly restorative balasana (many of you know this is my rescue method in an effort to calm the nervous system and come “home”). However with full days of rehearsals, teaching, djing and a premiere of the theatre production sliding in for some action and well, frankly to be on stage in full view of a paying audience seemed inappropriate and slightly rude. But I knew something had to give, or else i was in risk of full burnout sandwich.
Therefore, in order to live a life with balance, we need to get creative.
So, i´ve come up with some pointers which helped me during those moments of vertigo:
1) Take a chance.
Resisting any Eurovision (<3) reference here but in truth, to move forward, we must take a risk of some sort. Perhaps it might be trusting in something or someone or perhaps an arm or leg, to support us. Or going for that zany idea you had and seeing what happens. Or for once saying YES to that person offering to help you carry six bags up the stairs. Or saying NO thanks, i´m going to hang tight tonight and spend some time with me, because i need to replenish the stocks. Or booking that holiday just because you can. Or asking for a time out despite being fearful of what people might think.
You get the picture.
2) Set your sights
George knew what he was talking about (see video below). Apart from the money bit. Ignore the money reference. …Bear with me folks.
As much as i´m an advocate of following your spontaneous nose, there´s a lot to be said for focus. In yoga, we might refer to it as dristi, a focus point, a place to plant our gaze to steady ourselves via one-pointedness. This makes balancing easier. You might notice if you´re attempting a tree, and choose something to look at that isn´t moving. A trifle easier than eyes darting around or worse, comparing yourself to someone else. There is no competition, not even with yourself. Yes, try it all. But take one thing at a time. Repeat in times of overwhelming indecision. Or if on stage and terrified of making a mistake.
3) Keep it loose, keep it tight
Cheers Amos, let´s not take ourselves so seriously eh? Often we berate ourselves, overcritisize and offer unfortunate conversations in our head when we are any less than perfect. Can we be kind? Oh and when it comes to postures, same goes, stay breathing and hang in there (even if hanging means falling). If hyperventilating with nerves, i´m an old fan of the alternate nostril breathing. Suuuper balancing breath. Suuuper calming. Suuuper great. Try it!
4) Be ok with imperfection. In fact, learn to love it.
It won´t happen all at once, but if we break it down into bite size pieces, we can make changes one morsel at a time. We might fall in these times, or feel unsteady, or perhaps just impatient it´s not all going as we imagined, but trust in the beauty of the process. This is where we learn the best. You will look back and be happy for it. Promise.
5) It´s ok to fall out of balances.
We might plunder to the ground from our wagon, after a week of mindful eating finding ourselves in bed with a dirty kebab (not an analogy), or after setting bed time and screen curfews find ourselves in relations with our laptop typing until the early hours (again, not an analogy), but it´s ok. We can always start again. It is not the end. We try our best and that is enough. If we fall out of a balance on the mat, it´s usually the ego that´s first to squeal, but perhaps we can instead offer a smile, retain fullness of breath, and try again. Really, what´s the worst that could happen?
Here are some songs which might accompany you on your quest. Go forth, try, and try again.
Brian Eno – Always Returning
Au Revoir Simone – Stay Golden
Donna Summer – State Of Independence
Dwele – Open Your Eyes
Apollo Brown – Balance
Love Inks – Be Brave
Eddy Grant – Walking On Sunshine
Telepopmusik – Breathe
Mint Royale – Don’t Falter
Dauwd – What’s There
Metronomy – Loving Arm
Chairlift – Planet Health
Should – Glasshouse
Minimums – Behind The Mask
Arthur Russell – Close My Eyes
Scanner – The Farewell