NOTE: The next several blog posts have all been catalyzed by a weekend (March 18-20) at the Commonweal Retreat Center as part of a Bay Area Young Survivor retreat.
Balance is a verb.
On day one of my Commonweal retreat, we were introduced to a bowl of beads and some hemp string. We were encouraged to create and immediately I chose to create my goal for the weekend: Finding Balance. I placed a silver charm in the center of the string. I placed a bead representing Chaos to the left and a bead representing Peace to the right. Both beads were green but Chaos was oval and swirled whereas Peace was round and clear. I knotted each bead so that no bead was touching another and so that both beads were equidistant from the silver charm.
The silver charm represented me.
Chaos is important to me because that is where I feel the most learning taking place. Chaos is where I feel the most emotional and spiritual growth.
But I cannot thrive in a constant state of Chaos and require moments of Peace to feel grounded. To just Be. Ideally I would like to find the balance between these distinctly different states. A weekend at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, nestled near forest canopy and always within earshot of the sounds of the crashing waves seemed like an appropriate place to get closer to finding balance.
I shared my necklace/totem with my fellow participants so they perhaps could help me in my quest – offering support but also ideas for discovering this elusive balance.
And then I was told something that changed everything.
“Balance is a verb. Not a static noun.”
I was standing outside the main building at Commonweal, about to enter the library for a movement activity. I heard the words. I felt the words. I consumed the words. I internalized the words.
Balance is a DOING, not a state of being. Balance is a DOING, not something to find.
Instantly I felt whole and decidedly unbroken. Instantly I felt whole and not lost. Instantly I knew that the act of being emotionally and spiritually imbalanced at times was not a failure but a natural process.
Just as our physical centers of gravity change rapidly with growth, our emotional and spiritual centers of gravity shift with life’s challenges and gifts. And whether I am swaying with those moments like a tree sways through a storm or whether I’m head and body forward surfing through life’s adventures, I am balancing.
Balance is an activity not a destination. Because balance is a verb, not a static noun.