My legs dangle on either side of the seat and my hands grip tightly to the handle in front of me.
I can smell sun-baked metal and freshly cut grass.
I can feel a pleasant warmth under my fingers and on my skin where my bare legs touch the seat beneath me.
I feel so high, like I could touch the sky. Giddy with the joy of being off the ground.
The sun is in my eyes and it forces me to glance down. That’s when my stomach lurches and I realise how far there is to fall.
I look along the length of the beam, all the way down to the other end of the seesaw. My (much bigger and weightier) brother is poised to bring me crashing back down to earth. I try to read his expression; is their malice and mischief in the glint of his eyes or harmless fun?
My heart beats faster in anticipation of the crash back down.
My hands grip tighter, I can feel the sweat greasing the handles as I begin to wonder if I’ll fall.
In an instant he pushes off and leaps from his seat, sending me hurtling back down with a jolt. The impact jars all the way up my spine, bringing tears to my eyes - partly from the shock and partly from the betrayal.
Back down on the ground I feel heavy and earth bound once more.
It’s hard to imagine flying high and carefree as I futilely push up to try and get airborne on my own.
The problem with Balance
People often talk of “finding balance”, as if it’s a destination that you can arrive at and maintain.
I don’t think it is.
In one form or another, we’re always on our way up or on our way down.
Balance , that precious place where you are exactly between the two, is something we pass through rather than somewhere we stay.
Just like on a seesaw, if our goal was to stay evenly in the middle it would make for a very boring ride.
It’s necessary to seek the highs and accept the lows for an invigorating and meaningful life.
But that doesn’t mean that the pursuit of balance is wasted.
When we look for balance, what we really want is to smooth the ups and downs. To make it easier to travel between the up and the down.
Taking power back
Often our lives feel like they’re out of our control.
The flying high and the crashing back down is at the whim of things outside of out control - like my precarious seesaw ride with my brother.
Micro and macro: relationships, money, world events, the economy, unpredictable emotions, unexpected opportunities and challenges.
That can sometimes feel exhilarating as we ride the highs. The excitement of not knowing what will happen.
The problem is that it can make the lows so crushing that we feel like we’ll never get back up.
Instead of inhabiting a deep knowing that, no matter what, we can maintain our composure and stay connected to what matters, we live in a state of anxiety.
Worrying that the highs will end and dreading the lows.
That habit takes us out of being in this moment, exactly as it is. So we miss the small things that could help us find that elusive balance, or at least smooth the ride.
Reclaiming control of our own seesaw is easier than you might think.
The pursuit of Balance in a Busy World
There are 3 parts to finding balance. 1. Know where you are right now Are you on your way up? Hovering in the middle? Or on the way down? Knowing what you are feeling and thinking sounds like a given. In reality, most of us can end up on autopilot and avoiding difficult thoughts and feelings. Tuning in to what you’re experiencing is the very first step to mastering your mind and creating space for a different experience.
2. Decide what you want If you got in your car and just started to drive you would get somewhere eventually. Unless you set a direction and knew where you wanted to go though, that could be far from desirable. Your life is no different. Spending time listening to your desires and aversions is vital to help you steer your course. Even if you can’t necessarily head that way yet. 3. Ask yourself what you need right now Take the smallest step to meet yourself where you are and move towards what you want. That really can be as simple as knowing you need to take a deep, calming breath to steady your roll! You deserve to be considered and to have your needs met, I promise.
In the Be. Membership this month, we’ll be using our practice to cultivate a balanced ride.
Each week for Be.Members, I hand-pick practices from the library of hundreds on offer that relate to this theme. Combined with inspiration, journal prompts and powerful affirmations, this is your journey to grow. Taking small steps each day and week to live a life that’s rich, full and meaningful.
We’d love you to join us! And it’s just £10 per month (and accessible from a handy app) for all this goodness because I’m passionate about making these life changing practices accessible to all.
Here’s a little taster practice for you:
Laura @ Be.