Why Bother to Keep Our Balance?

Why Bother to Keep Our Balance?

Imagine standing on one bare foot. How long can you hold your balance before falling over? Do you find yourself wobbling while trying to maintain that one footed stance? Does it feel natural to stand on one foot? What other body parts are you employing to stay upright? Is it helpful to use something like a chair or a countertop to help you hold your position? 

Equilibrium

I find that there is a similarity between holding my body in a balanced pose and preserving a sense of stability in daily life. Keeping equilibrium, whether balancing on one foot or balancing daily tasks, we hope for the best, which is to stay upright. But before we can expect success in either area, we need to put some things into place. 

First of all, did you know that standing on one foot involves much more than just that one foot. Without strong ankle muscles, an engaged core and flexible hips, standing on one foot for any amount of time becomes an impossible task. Before balancing, we have to strengthen ourselves. 

Maintaining stability in everyday living also entails making ourselves stronger, namely employing our “no muscle.”  Whatever the task at any given moment, it has to take precedence over any number of possible distractions. 

I am my greatest diversion and saying “no” to myself is the biggest challenge. When I think I should be doing a household chore instead of sitting down to write my blog, I have to say “no” to myself. Cleaning the kitchen is easy and I can see instant results. Writing is hard, and I don’t always know how my writing will be received by my readers.  Yet, without leaving the kitchen a mess, at least for a little while, I can’t accomplish the goal of getting a blog posted.  

Secondly, when balancing on one foot, focusing our gaze, particularly on something that is not moving, helps us to stay steady. Consequently, centering our attention inward, on ourselves, keeps us going toward our goals. For instance, it is only when I know what it is that I am reaching for, that I can actually aim my gaze and keep the goal in sight. Given the fact that I want to grow in the art of public speaking, I knew that by joining a public speaking club, Toastmasters, would help me reach that goal. 

Balance takes daily practice. It does not come instantly, but rather in small increments. As we learn to stand on one foot for three seconds, we can slowly increase that time to thirty seconds. With this in mind, if we find we are capable of keeping our present commitments without falling over, we may be ready to add another one. 

Why bother to keep our balance? Balancing is not so much an act as it is the practice that requires us to be strong and focused. 

 

Why Bother With Balance?

Why Bother With Balance?

Once upon a time, we owned a used washing machine because it was all we could afford. It sat next to our used dryer in the basement. Sometimes the washer moved and made noises as though it were alive. This old machine would bang, clang, and bounce up against the dryer. The noise was loud and annoying and demanded attention. I did not have to call a repairman to fix the problem though. I knew that the load of clothes I’d thrown into the machine had gotten off balance. I only had to stop the spin cycle and adjust the load to solve the problem. In a matter of moments, I could restore the machine’s balance and the noise ceased.  

      Off Kilter 

Like that old washing machine, I too can become imbalanced and if I listen, my body tells me so in ways that demand my attention.  Too much sugar and I get a sore in my mouth. Too many carbohydrates and my belly bloats. Too much wine and I lose my common sense. But there is the other side of the coin too. Fasting gives my digestive tract a rest, but going without food for too long makes me weak. Finding my happy medium between consumption and rest from consumption is finding balance.

Balance or equilibrium is not just about maintaining a steady and healthy diet. Balance affects all things in my life. At times, work consumes my full attention and energy. In order to find rest from my stress, I have to make myself step away, and remind myself that repose is just as important as completing any task.

Additionally, physical exertion is good for the body, mind and heart. But straining for 

long periods of time lead to injuries. Then again, the other half to exertion is relaxation, which is also good for the body, mind and heart. But if we give ourselves completely over to relaxation we will experience lethargic muscles. 

Nature is a great example of the contrasts of balance. Day gives way to night, winter gives way to spring, full moon to new moon and fallow and fertile ground. No matter where we look, whether in nature or in our common ordinary lives, we can experience points of balance. 

Why bother with balance? When we are out of balance, with too much time or not enough time, too much food, or not enough food, too much leisure or not enough stress, our bodies will let us know. All we have to do is listen for the noise and adjust our load.