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

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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!

 

Physical Balance

In my last post I wrote generally about balance of body, mind, and emotions.  This time I want to focus on creating physical balance. In hatha yoga, we begin with the physical body because it is the part of ourselves that we can see, touch, use, feel, experience. Keep in mind that any benefit gained in one are (physical, mental, or emotional) produces greater well-being in all.

Beginning with the physical is wise as well as practical.  Calming the mind or emotions, for example, can be impossible if the body chemistry is out of wack. For example, I was in my late twenties when the medical world came up with the  concept of PMS (premenstrual syndrome).  It was a significant breakthrough for women because with identification comes information on how to create balance within the experience.

I read everything I could get my hands on, which actually wasn’t much.¬† This was pre-internet so magazine, books, talk shows were the best source for current information.¬† I began paying attention and realized that excessive caffeine, sugar, salt, and a lack of exercise and rest intensified my mental and emotional ups and downs for a week before menses onset as well as the week during as well. That is half of every month!!¬† As I learned to limit the intake of these foods while walking more (and eventually joining the new rage of jogging), mood swings lessened significantly. I slept better, thought more clearly and joyfully experienced a lessening of the intensity of cramping and headaches.¬† Life was oh-so-much better!

This experience opened my mind to the idea of the interaction of body, mind, and emotions.  Over the years I have discovered what best keeps me in balance.  I am now post-menopausal so that is no longer an issue.  Now there are other physical issues, like keeping a healthy blood sugar balance because I have a tendency toward hypoglycemia, monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc.

Do I have a formula to offer you?  Nope.

I do have a few suggestions.

Pay attention to: ¬†your physical energy levels with relationship to different types of food,¬† how you digest different foods.¬† For example, I noticed in my late thirties that raw onions were no longer something I could digest well.¬† If you aren’t sure how to evaluate your diet for your age, general¬†condition, etc. perhaps your doctor can refer you to a reliable nutritionist.¬† It helped me immensely.

Ask yourself simple questions and look at the answers honestly and without judgement:  Do I eat regularly throughout the day so that my energy stays steady?  Am I willing to let go of things that undermine balance and health Рlike an overabundance of sodas or sweets?  Do I eat more fresh foods that processed foods?  Have I learned to read labels?  Do I get enough rest or am I regularly running myself into the ground?  Have I found a form of exercise that suits my lifestyle and current physical condition?  Do I make time for that a sufficient number of times each week?  Am I willing to try something that is out of my comfort zone, like yoga, meditation, or tai chi?

Talk to people who stay fit, laugh a lot and enjoy their lives.  Never hesitate to ask for guidance or help with creating a balanced, healthy life.

Keep on keepin’ on until new behaviors become part of your normal routine.¬† You deserve to feel good and enjoy life.

Try stuff.¬† If something isn’t a fit for you, try something else.¬† There is no one way that works for everyone.¬† You get to choose but choose you must.

Above all, find what works for you.

Seeking Balance

Human beings are designed for balance.  Homeostasis is the natural mechanism that functions 100% of the time to establish and maintain balance.  It is an automatic and wonderfully complex process.  Mental and emotional balance are part of homeostasis because there is no separation among the body, mind, and emotions. What affects one, affects all Рwhether that effect is toward health and wholeness or dis-ease and imbalance. I can enhance balance by my lifestyle choices, making it easier for my body to achieve balance and wholeness. I can exhaust it when my lifestyle choices undermine the process.

I can raise my own awareness by asking myself these questions:  Am I helping or hurting myself?  What are the patterns in my life?  What do I want to experience? Do the choices I make in any given moment support or undermine my fundamental desires?

Have you known someone who is faced with overwhelming life challenges and yet remains loving, kind and able to find joy in small ways? Do you wonder where they find the strength to go on? Is it possible their level of self-awareness is a major factor?

Have you ever known someone who consistently creates chaos while bemoaning their fate and wishing for a more peaceful, happy life?  Do you wonder why nothing ever goes their way? Is it possible their level of self-awareness is a major factor?

My observation is that both people, consciously or not,  are seeking balance.  What we need to understand is that this balance comes from within our beings, not from the circumstances outside of us. It emanates from our personal choices moment-by-moment. The results f those choices hinge on the level of our self-awareness, our consciousness.

So, if a person is chaotic within themselves, they will manifest chaos outside themselves because, to them, this feels like balance. And they are right. What they experience inside and outside is in balance but this does not create peace and contentment.

If a person is balanced and peaceful within themselves, they will manifest balance and peace outside themselves because, to them, this feels like balance.  And they are right. What they experience inside and out is in balance and it does create peace and contentment.

The¬†difference is that one¬†achieves a¬†healthy balance and one¬†does not.¬† Remember that balance is not a static state.¬† Even the healthiest balance waivers now and then.¬†The question is “What am I creating and how am I living the majority of the time?”

Life is not about perfection.  It is about balance and harmony and wholeness.

Affirmation For Healing

This affirmation came to my mind and heart during a time when I was just beginning to grasp the depth of communion or oneness that the Divine brings to my Soul. I often repeat it silently as I fall asleep or when taking a walk. May it be a blessing for you as well. (Because ‚ÄúGod‚ÄĚ is indefinable, ‚ÄúAll That Is‚ÄĚ is one of the ways Native American names for God is translated.)

 

In the Oneness of All That Is

I Am Whole

In the Wholeness of All That Is

I Am One

 

You are Love and Light in form. May you be blessed and a blessing as this day unfolds.

It‚Äôs Been Two Week‚Äôs…?

That’s  right two weeks have passed since my last entry. That was a surprise to me this morning.  But then in the past few days I have totally blanked out a payment I need to make and used a chopstick to attempt thoroughly cleaning out around the lint filter in my dryer. The reason I mention that is because I dropped the chopstick and it slid down underneath the tub of my dryer. So I will make an appointment with my landlady this morning to explain to her what I have done and admit my own embarrassment.  And this is how my “new“ year began.

Fortunately I don’t give much importance to events that are simply part of a calendar people devised in order to be able to communicate with one another.  I reminded myself this morning that other countries and cultures have calendars totally different from ours so a day is simply a day. Time is a linear mental concept and I can allow myself not to be undone by it.

I decided this morning that my “new“ year begins today. And today is a good day because I am present and aware and willing to  be in each moment as it unfolds. Yes, I hope today unfolds with more clarity and simplicity and lack of surprises!  Life is what it is and getting frustrated and overly embarrassed really does not bring me peace and contentment.

Life is what it is and I am who I am. I forget things. I make silly mistakes. I am, after all, a spiritual being currently having a human experience. And human beings are prone to oversights and mistakes because there are no perfect human beings. And knowing that is the key to being perfectly human!

May your day unfold easily and may you know Peace today.

The Myth of Perfection

In the book of Matthew, chapter 5, there is a verse that says

Therefore, you are to be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.

Deeply committed Christians have used this verse form generations to judge themselves and one another. I was a bible teacher for many years and studied this verse at great length, plumbing the depths of its meaning. What I discovered liberated me and shocked my students into being set free themselves.

The word “perfect” was used in the earliest translations of the originals texts and does not convey the deepest, and most spiritual, meanings of the original word. A truer translation would be “come into fruitful maturity.” A simple example is a fruit tree. Fruit trees have to mature before they can produce, sweet, nourishing, edible fruit. And not all trees produce the same fruit.

Therefore, dear hearts, think on this idea:

Grow up into the Truth of who you are – a spiritual being learning to be human. Mature spiritually, emotionally, and mentally so that your purpose is fulfilled…so that you produce the fruit of your True Self, your Divine Essence: love, compassion, peace…