By Jane Miners
When we think of balance, often we think of stillness. There’s a picture of one sitting quietly in meditation just being still. And though that will happen from time to time, balance is actually the fluctuations, the flow of life, the movement of experience and emotion. The universe is not still, our world is not still, our lives are not still; they are constantly flowing, moving, and changing. This movement is the balance.
Like most people, I believe, I’ve been on a quest to find balance for my life, looking for stillness within myself. But by my early 20s I had gotten really good at creating an imbalance. Even if it wasn’t chaos, there was always slight disorder, constant low-grade stress that escalated to high-grade stress when I piled on more tasks and responsibilities for myself.
I felt I always had to “do more” and “be better” so I busied myself to the bone. I believed that balance was something to be achieved, something “out there” … someday … after I’d gotten to a certain point at which I’d done enough in life—then I would relax into a balanced life. So I pushed myself to reach this state. School, work, volunteering, mothering, helping the family, focusing on friends. Anything to avoid the turmoil inside me.
One day, my friend took me to a yoga class and I fell in love; I’d found my sense of spirituality. I began taking classes intermittently in college and the community and began to understand how yoga is more than just doing poses; it translates to every aspect of our lives to help bring balance.
Slowly, I began to allow myself to feel what I’d shoved aside and covered up by being busy. I realized that by holding on to unsettling emotions I was creating imbalance. Gradually, uncomfortable memories and emotions that needed to be dealt with came to the surface for me to look at. When I was able to be with the emotions and process them, the stress began to melt away.
With growing inner awareness through yoga, I began healing from emotional wounds, receiving Reiki and counseling, meditating, reflecting, and allowing myself to release anger and tears … I began to experience less chaos in my life. I began to practice being. Being in the moment. Being stressed, or sad, or happy. Whatever it was—working, going to school, taking a trip with my son—I was practicing being.
Then a strange thing started to happen. I started to feel more balanced. I felt less stressed and overwhelmed and began to understand that I didn’t have to avoid “negative” emotions that came up—pain, sadness, or anger. These emotions were there to guide me, to tell me that something needed to be released, to set boundaries, or to show the immense capacity I have for compassion as a human.
I realized that balance, in fact, doesn’t mean that we are happy all the time, or that we will always feel calm, great, and ready to take on the world. Balance means that sometimes we are frustrated, irritated, or tired. Balance means that other times we are happy and energized. To be balanced means that sometimes we are grieving, or laughing, or sitting quietly. It means to be exactly where we are in this exact moment.
Yoga is specifically designed to teach us to be. Yoga brings balance to our whole lives, the definition being union, bringing the body and mind together, to be. It concentrates specific postures to move energy in our bodies in order for us to release and process so we don’t become stuck and sick, or so stiff and rigid that our bodies and thoughts cannot move easily. It doesn’t matter our ability, flexibility, size, shape, or age; there is a practice for anyone.
As with yoga, another beautiful tool that moves and balances body and mind is Reiki. Reiki is very relaxing, restoring balance in the energy centers of our body and auric field, clearing energy channels and relieving stress and tension. It brings to the surface stored emotions and things we may have buried, healing on a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) level, perhaps giving us profound insight on what we can do to improve our lives. It can help give a whole new perspective on situations in your life.
When I “found” Reiki, I knew I wanted to help people heal themselves through this gentle and loving energy. I knew that I wanted to teach both Reiki and yoga to help people balance body and mind, to trample the myth that they are separate. My work is guiding people to themselves, bringing the body/mind/spirit into one through awareness and practice.
Like the tree in the field that sits rooted through the storm, we can find peace despite what is going on around us. We can learn to process emotions and thoughts in a productive and healthy way, allowing us to feel steady. The acceptance that things always change allows for this peace. The storm will pass, we will feel happy and calm again, we will face more challenges, and then … overcome. This acceptance will increase the peace we feel despite our situation. We can be like the seasons that come and go, the sun that rises and sets. This constant flow and movement is the balance of the universe. If we allow ourselves to move with this flow, that same balance will fill our very beings.