When I homeschooled my son in the eighth grade, there was a lesson in physical science about force -- the different kinds of force, force and motion, force vectors and resultants. For example, when you push against a wall or against another person, your force is “acting upon” the wall or “acting upon” the other person.
There is also balanced force and unbalanced force. If you kick a ball, you are providing an unbalanced force on the ball. Conversely, if you push against a wall and the wall doesn’t move, then it is pushing back with a force equal in magnitude to your pushing, and in the opposite direction to your push. This is called equilibrium. Balance.
This was a moment for me. I began to see force everywhere.
At the time, I was doing CrossFit, and this was all around me in the gym. I was pushing and pulling myself all over the place. When we are paying attention and have awareness, the Universe is always providing us with lessons. I was very aware of the “force” I was, or wasn’t, exerting at any given time. Physically, this was very cool to be mindful of while working out.
I also do yoga. For balance of course.
One of the many beautiful aspects of yoga is that every practice is a reflection, the mat your mirror, showing you exactly where you are in life. (I now see how the same principles can be applied in CrossFit.) The trick is to be present, not to FORCE anything and just ALLOW your body to do what it can do in that moment.
To stay balanced, yoga teaches us not to use force to stay in pose, but to flow with the movement, like a tree in the wind, and the balance will find you. It’s quite humbling.
So, I started thinking about this concept a little deeper. There is so much talk these days about “being in balance,” “living in balance,” creating a “balanced life.” I’ve done it myself.
There are times when balance is good and we want equilibrium. A balanced checkbook, on a paddleboard, in half-moon pose, or tree or dancer, or a box jump.
But when does all this balance we seek start to turn into being stuck, stale and stagnant?
What if the thing that will propel us forward with the most force - getting us where we say we want to go - is to design a state of unbalance, in order to FEEL the flow of the radiant life we seek? So we can hit the ball a little farther, hold the pose a little longer, get in one more round, and actually...
feel ourselves vibrating with life force. happiness. joy.
Now we’re getting somewhere.
So I say screw balance for awhile. What makes us feel completely unbalanced? What scares us, thrills us, makes us scream with delight? That’s where we need to go.
And if any of these responses pop into our heads:
Oh I can’t do that. Story.
That’s just not me. Story.
I’ve tried that. It didn’t work. Story.
It’s just not my personality. Story.
It’s not the right time...and more story.
We are believing our excuses more than we are believing in our dreams.
That is what keeps us stuck. That is the balance we are NOT looking for.
At times we push on one side of the wall, giving it what we tell ourselves is all we’ve got. But we don't make progress. We stall. Even stop. Wash, rinse repeat.
We think, “I just don’t understand why ___________ isn’t working?”
(my business isn’t growing, I can’t lose weight even though I work out and eat healthy, my relationships are sliding, my kids don’t respect me, I can’t figure out how to get from A to B, I just don't have time to do anything new...)
What’s on the other side of that wall is AN EQUAL AMOUNT OF FORCE pushing back, in the opposite direction. Oh. That.
It’s called RESISTANCE. (See above list of excuses.)
I hear the next questions.
OK, where does the resistance come from? How do I find it? What do I do to move it?
It’s the story that we call our life. It’s the list of excuses that we have attached to as our identity. The myriad of perfectly “legitimate” reasons why she can do it and you can’t.
We are believing things about ourselves that aren’t true.
There is enough time.
We are strong enough.
We do have the courage.
We can change our minds.
We just have to believe WE ARE ENOUGH. Then take action.
- Create unbalance in the places that hold the most resistance - exercise, food, communication...insert your sticking point.
- Stretch ourselves in the places that make us scared, or nervous, or excited. Those places will then start to hum. Shaping that broad sense of balance we seek.
- Try a new exercise method. Eat something new. Drive down a new road. Flip some stale patterns upside-down. Small steps at first are just fine.
The potential energy of being at the TOP of the roller coaster, before the falling, thrilling, stomach-dropping sensations of the hills and twists. Flips and Turns. Yeeeeesssssss.
That's where life is.
Join me there.
Hair-on-fire love and laughter,