balance = sunflowers in a rainstorm
Every breath is an invitation, an opportunity to begin again . . . and again. With each breath, whether consciously or unconsciously, we are drawing into our bodies the inspiration for this particular moment. When we take the time to set an intention, and allow that intention to rise and fall with our breath, we are engaging in a radical process of personal, internal re-organization. Beginnings are important. Intentions are important. Breath is important.
In this particular beginning, I hold an intention of contented equanimity . . . of joyful balance. What does it mean to live a life of balance? How do we aim ourselves in the direction of balance so that we find ourselves ever-so-slightly on its joyful bank? And why ever-so-slightly? Why joyful balance? Why not EXTREME JOY?
It is my experience that Life prefers balance and rhythm over intensity and extremes. To give credit where credit is due, I am not the first person to notice this. The Taoists have long-advocated for going with the natural flow, rather than fighting against it. The Buddha called his path the Middle Way. Time spent in the natural world reveals the Earth’s balanced rhythms . . . spring follows winter follows fall follows summer follows . . .
The heart has ways of finding balance, too. If we spend our lives chasing extreme joy, Life often serves extreme sorrow in its wake. In a sense, we can be forced into balance by swinging radically between extremes. Or we can aim a bit more for the middle, where joy and sorrow still exist but perhaps with less devastating and destabilizing consequences.
The most immediate, inherent, intimate reminder of balance is our own breath. Inhale follows exhale, whether we like it or not. The beauty of the breath is its persistent pulse, its ongoing rhythm of invitation back to this moment, back to our intentions, back to the beginning, again and again. What is your intention as you draw in this breath . . . and this breath . . . and this breath . . . and this . . . and . . .
Rafia Rebeck, MA, is a psychotherapist with Joyful Balance Counseling in Boulder, CO.