Last month’s explorations took us into the complicated realm of Balance. We throw that word out a lot these days: “I need more balance in my life.” “Strive to maintain a balanced life.” Ruminating over the meaning of balance, our class came up with word associations like equilibrium, stable, controlled, static, rigidity, precise — none of which made us feel very good about restoring this into our lives. That is, until Christy (my wonderful, wise co-facilitator) suggested the word homeostasis. Unlike balance, homeostasis is fluid and organic.
Imagine if we actively listened to ourselves with kindness. Listened to whatever we perceived in body, mind, heart and soul, allowing those thoughts and feelings to just be, without judgment. Rather than pushing away and denying or grasping and holding on, what would happen if we just fell into ourselves? Perhaps we would begin to restore a sense of wholeness.
When we are thrown off balance, we instinctively attempt to rectify the fall. To take a fall usually results in some sort of change, which is most often met with resistance. The wisdom of the 13th century poet and theologian Rumi always inspires me: “Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead, let life live through you. Do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”
Letting Go of the Past
In 1996, Cirque Du Soleil premiered its production Quidam. It’s still my favorite for many reasons, one of which is the song “Let Me Fall.” On Thursday, August 8th, we sat and listened.
Then we used clear wax crayons to make marks on a page in our journals that reflected what we felt while listening to the song. What were we resisting? What were we fighting off, battling with, struggling over? What was knocking us off our balance? Sometimes we wrote words; other times we simply made marks. We covered the pages, surprised at some of the feelings that surfaced. As a symbolic gesture to make the unseen visible, we water-colored over our marks.
The Meaning of Balance
Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings. – Rumi
Soon, everyone began to trust the process.
Realizing we needed to symbolically cut away from our limitations and the things that bound us in order to make way for something new, we began to cut out shapes from some of our color drawings. Then we layered our creations one over the other, revealing a new whole.
After all, it takes more than medicine to heal.