If there’s anything I’ve been chasing lately, it’s balance, which isn’t really different from any other time in my life because I think that maybe my whole life is being lived in the pursuit of balance, like maybe it’s actually my life’s purpose and someday I’ll experience this magical moment of balance in all the different parts of my life and then blue birds and doves will come and swirl around me and sing and chirp and braid my hair and I’ll be lit by a perfect ray of sunshine and I’ll get all glowy and sparkly and a unicorn will come and and bow in front of me and then we’ll high five and I’ll ride off into the sunset, never to be seen again, on a the back of a giant white tiger, accompanied by a blue giraffe, a pack of wolves and a grizzly bear.
I suppose it’s more likely that I’ll just spend forever chasing after it.
I’m working on it.
I work on it, in a very literal sense, when I’m in yoga, and Mary, my yoga instructor, has us pop up our back foot into Warrior III and I stand there, one foot allegedly rooted into the ground, but mostly shaking like a amber field of grain in the midst of a buffalo stampede, arms outstretched, face smushed into a scowl, shoulders creeping closer to my ears, no matter how hard I try to slide them down my back. I spend the whole time, first wobbling about on my right leg, and then wobbling about on my left leg, thinking about how all the things that happen in yoga can all too easily be applied to the rest of my life, and my mind slips deep into the realm of THIS MEANS SOMETHING, and I wobble about and think about how my inability to balance in yoga is all too closely linked to my inability to find balance in other things and that maybe, if I just mastered Warrior III, all the other shit in my life will fall into a state of balance as well.
It’s not that easy, sure, and besides, I’m probably never going to master Warrior III, so it wouldn’t matter even if it was that easy.
I work on it with running, because the thing about being a runner is that you can’t just run, you have to commit yourself to a whole host of other physical endeavors to make your body strong in ways that running doesn’t really help with. If you don’t work the rest of your body, like I wasn’t for a while, with strength training and core conditioning, eventually things start to hurt which is precisely what happened to me. I got a sports massage, hit up a Body Pump class, foam rolled with far more seriousness than I’d been able to muster previously, and suddenly the knee pain that had me flustered run after run suddenly disappeared. Because balance, y’all. BALANCE.
The hardest for me though, is to find the balance in repairing the broken things. When it comes to things that are difficult, and that have been difficult for a handful of months, it’s really easy to wake up one day, say ENOUGH, and stuff all those feelings into The Pit, that lovely gorge into which I throw all the shit I just can’t handle today or tomorrow or right now. But the thing about The Pit is that it doesn’t keep the things you try to bury within it forever. It’s a volcano, an angry, totally uncontrollable volcano that will vomit hellfire over everything until I’m curled around a box of tissues, cringing at the judging looks the cats give me each time I cry.
But when things are broken you can’t just be broken forever. At some point you have to get up, carry the broken bits with you, get out the super glue and try like hell to put it all back together again, realizing that it won’t be the same, but that the road to being unbroken includes facing the hard parts, balancing the reality that things aren’t perfect, but moving forward toward a different sort of better.