The Point of Balance

From “Zen Cards” by Daniel Levin:

The center is not always the point of balance. When you find that place where Balance is achieved, peace will result in all situations. There is no conflict, for everything rests without strain.

As I read this, I wonder…..then I pick up an un-sharpened No. 2 pencil. I lay it across one finger at its center point and ¬†it falls off. Of course it does. The eraser end is heavier than the writing end. I move its resting point toward the eraser end. It balances.

So what? Well, balance is essential to our wellbeing. Healthy diet, reasonable amounts of exercise, fresh air, sleep, and the meeting of other physical needs keeps the body in balance. Attention to these things benefits our physical wellbeing. Many of these things are also necessary for mental and emotional balance, and thus, wellbeing. Too much sugar and not enough sleep directly affect how we react/respond to daily life. These two things can throw our mental/ emotional balance off very quickly.

I am thinking and writing about these things because I have been assessing my own habits in light changes in my own life. I want to be stronger, more active, continue to learn, grow, and serve. I am finding what works for me and I am inviting you to sit with these ideas now and then and see if you can discern your own needs in ways that create more balance, energy, happiness, and joy for you.

Blessings of Love and LightūüíęūüíĖūüôŹ

Mental Balance

A balanced mind abides in the present moment.

To abide means to remain, continue, stay, dwell, reside.  The mind only knows now, this present moment.  There is no past or future.  Have I presented another paradox?  If the mind knows only the now then what is going on when I spend an entire day dwelling on past mistakes, losses or disappointments?  What is going on when I spend an entire night in fear and anxiety over future possibilities?  I am bringing the past and/or the future into the present moment and my mind will respond accordingly as will my body and my emotions.

When I abide in the past, whether the memories are filled with joy or trauma, my mind interprets it as happening in the present.  And if I abide in the future, whether I look forward with joyful anticipation or anxiety-filled dread, my mind thinks it is happening right now.  Aside from the physical and emotional responses that are triggered, I am totally oblivious to and missing out on the present moment.

Yes, there are times when the future or the past are appropriately part of the present.  When families get together and share laughter and joy while reminiscing, that is their present moment.  When a young family prepares for the birth of a child months ahead of its arrival, that is their present moment.  These experiences come and go and the attention returns to the beauty of the sky, paying bills on time, or preparing a meal that will be shared lovingly with the family.

The key is developing the ability to abide in the moment.  I come back to each person finding what works for them, what keeps them in the here and now.  For me, when I walk, my intention is to see, hear and enjoy my world.  I watch the sky, listen to the birds, say hi to neighbors and pet their dogs. I breathe the air and allow gratitude for my life, even when at present it is filled with challenges.

Years ago, Thich Nhat Hanh, suggested on one of his tapes to walk very slowly to the phone when it rings.  As you walk, ask yourself if you can be fully present with the person calling.  If you cannot stop what you are doing and be only with that person, do not answer the phone.  Call them later.  (Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese monk living in exile.  The primary focus of his loving, compassionate teaching is mindfulness.)

The way to begin is to become aware of your own mental patterns.  It is important to embrace this awareness without judgement.  Awareness allows me to accept what I have been doing to avoid the present moment.  Once I accept that I have created these patterns, I can forgive myself if necessary and begin to create new patterns of mental behavior.

For many people, this process is enhanced through counseling with a professional therapist.  I am in this group.  There have been a number of times in my life when therapy was essential to finding and maintaining a healthy mental state of being.  Others need medication in addition because they live with a chemical imbalance of some type that must be treated in order for them to be able to experience healthy thought patterns.  Remember, the physical directly impacts the mental and vice versa.

May you learn to abide in the moment as you discover the balance of body, mind and emotions that allows you to do so.  Peace, tranquility and contentment will follow and also abide with you.

 

Emotional Balance

Emotional balance has been unfolding in my life for 50 years.  One of the biggest hurdles has been letting go of the belief that my emotions define me; that I am what I am currently feeling.  I now define emotion as: e-motion = energy in motion.  When I am experiencing a specific emotion, I realize that it is energy moving through my entire being.  It is energy that has been given a name such as happiness, sorrow, anger, etc.  Remembering this helps me release judgement about the nature of that energy.  Energy is energy; it is neither good nor bad; it just is.

As practices for the body and mind (yoga, meditation, healthy eating, exercise, fresh air, loving friends, etc.) have become consistent in my life, my emotions have become more consistent as well.  For the most part, my emotions fit what I am experiencing in the moment.  When each of my parents died, I was deeply sad and grieved.  I was also profoundly grateful that I was with them in their transitions. I was proud to be their daughter. I was also grateful for everything they had given me over the years.  So many emotions flowed during those times and I felt them all. Intense and fulfilling all at once.

In releasing judgement, I view these experiences in terms of intensity.¬† Seldom is overwhelming happiness described as bad, yet it is every bit as intense as sorrow and can be just as exhausting.¬† My granddaughter’s birth was so intensely joyful that there were times I didn’t sleep very well.¬† There were times when I quietly cried for happy.¬† Intense.

On the other end of the spectrum, I choose not to take in news about things like child abuse because the depth of anger I feel on behalf of these innocents is almost frightening to me.¬† But is anger always “bad?”¬† Not in my opinion, because there are many people who have been inspired to acts of bravery because of the anger that arises within them.¬† Anger and frustration with things I had allowed or created in my life have given me the courage to make very difficult changes.¬† Intense.

Intensity is seldom comfortable, which is why these energies are judged as bad or unhealthy.  The key, is Рguess what? Рbalance!  It makes more sense to realize that imbalance in the emotional body creates confusion and can be destructive than to set the goal of never feeling these things.  When I feel angry, can I allow myself to be in it in a way that leads me to action, forgiveness or compassion?  If so, I will quickly return to peace and tranquility.  My actions will be appropriate to the situation and to my desire and intention to live lovingly and compassionately.  It is when I avoid and stuff or hide my feelings that my behavior becomes inappropriate and possibly destructive.

Balance is the key.¬†Here are a few reasonable goals: ¬†Feel without being thrown against the wall by the intensity of emotions. Be willing to sit with the discomfort in order to remember that energy in motion does not define me; it is something you are experiencing in the moment.¬† It will diminish, shift, transform because that is the nature of energy. ¬†Embrace the experience for what it is:¬† a human experience that does not change or define your True Self, a spiritual being. Be patient and remember that it takes time and maturity to come into this awareness in every aspect of your being: physical, mental, emotional. ¬†You don’t have to change everything at once. ¬†You don’t have to fight yourself and judge yourself. ¬†You do not have to be perfect. ¬†You can be in this moment, experience it, and be all that you are. ¬†You can unfold into True Self as naturally as a healthy tree matures and produces perfect fruit.

One of my favorite responses to myself when I explode into emotional intensity and catch myself in the midst of it is:    Well, Catherine Ann, welcome to the human race!

 

Here’s A Thought…

What others are doing around you seems very important when you have not found your own steadiness. You want to say to them, “Don’t rock my boat! If you rock my boat, I can’t be steady.” But the truth of it is, you’re the only boat-rocker in your world. Only you can rock your boat.

This quote comes from Abraham-Hicks Publications. It is dated February 1, 2014.

My own sweet Soul often reminds me “You are doing this to yourself, Catherine Ann. This is not coming from outside you. You are doing this to yourself by the way you are responding to these circumstances.”

Enough said? Just think about it ūüíęūüíĖ

A Disturbance

As I begin this new day I cannot help but realize how out of sync I felt with myself yesterday. I began the day tired rather than refreshed and still had quite a good morning. By mid-day, however, I was edgy and easily annoyed. When the sun finally set, I counted the last few hours until I could go to bed!

This morning I am reminded of that phrase from the first Star Wars movie:  I sense a disturbance in the Force.

Yep, there is a disturbance in the force field of my life, several big ones in fact. My only sibling, my older brother, died unexpectedly recently. Though unexpected, it really wasn’t sudden and he suffered terribly in the process. Since I was born into his world, I have never known the world apart from his presence. And his presence was powerful; his energy easily absorbed the room and everyone in it. I knew energy would shift and I would be making adjustments on every level of my being. I had no idea and still am not fully tuned into what that feels like.

I returned from family services to learn the neighbors are doing a major expansion on their home and the deconstruction started a few days ago. The energy of my home and daily life has changed and will continue to mutate for months to come.

Yesterday, I not only sensed a disturbance in the force, I must have been caught in the whirlpool it created! Knowledge/Awareness is Power so today I hope to ride the waves of transition more competently. As I typed that sentence I had a visual image of my son surfing and then seeing the absolute joy on his face as he emerged from the water carrying his board.

I wonder if the waves of change in my life could be that much fun? Time will tell.

Namaste, dear hearts. Be blessed today. And be a blessing as well.

Use Anger Well

From The Twisted Root by Anne Perry, a murder mystery set in Victorian England:

Anger at injustice has righted more wrongs than most other things, and it is one of the great creative forces in a civilized society. But in order not to replace one enemy with another, albeit innocently intended, you must use your intelligence. (Advice given by the character, Henry Rathbone, to his son, Oliver, who is preparing for an almost hopeless court case with a high moral issue at stake. Page 245)

In my words:

Use your anger to motivate moral action. Relegate emotion to its proper place and purpose; use intelligence to take the highest road possible in attaining your goals.

This passage struck me deeply this morning because I considered participating in a survey yesterday that came to my attention via Facebook. The writer encouraging people to voice their opinion provided red state zip codes for Californians to use because their responses would not be values otherwise. When I read that part, I exited FB and went for a walk. Isn’t that fraud? Is that who I am? Is that what will allow my voice to be heard? I refuse to believe that or participate in it. I cannot make everyone who questions or disagrees with what I believe and want my enemy.

Intelligence won out, thank goodness. I am grateful for those who have consistently taught me to seek truth in all things.

May each of you do the same.