Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.

Ashley Smith

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Key to Life

Ha Ha!  Now I have your attention!

I had an epiphany today.  Okay, not really an epiphany since that implies a sudden realization.  This is something that has been bubbling up over the last few years.  It is the key to life and like most profound realizations, it is simple.

Simple but not easy.


That's it. Balance is the key to life. 

I guess the epiphany part is that this word keeps popping up recently.  I have been reading a lot about horsemanship, so of course there is the balance that comes with that- physical balance for you and your horse so that you can both work to your potential.  Mental balance, so that you don't ask too much too soon.  Emotional balance so that when you do ask for a stretch, nobody panics.

Honestly, if you spend any time around horses you know that what you learn about interacting with them correlates directly with interacting with people.
  • Ask for what you want, don't assume.  
  • Be present.  
  • Be honest, but be kind.  
  • Be patient.  
  • Praise often and lavishly.
  • Be persistent, but don't nag.  This is only possible if you are clear about what result you want.
Down boy.  Good boy!!
 But, back to balance.  If you think about your position in life as a pendulum, balance is pretty easy to imagine.  If you find yourself too far to the left, you might pull back too far to the right before you find your sweet spot.  It comes up for me with the kids at the school where I work.  They often complain about the "too strict rules" and dress code.  I try and explain that it is all about helping them find their balance.  We pull them pretty far in the opposite direction from where they were and then they are more able to see their balance point.  When you get stuck in your one, "I'm right, I have the corner market on the truth" viewpoint, you become unbalanced.  Dare I say dogmatic?

We have a lot of stuff to balance in life. Work vs. play. Together time vs. alone time. Activity vs. rest. Sometimes we purposely let our balance lean more one way than the other.  Sometimes it leans without us noticing until we feel oddly unsettled, crabby, not quite right.  Then our task is to re-assess and re-balance.

Another big key is to remember: your balance is not the same as anyone else's.  This can be a source of frustration, especially if your beloved one is highly social and you are a hermit, anti-social, less social.  This is where it becomes important to use your horse skills: Ask for what you want.  No one around you is a mind reader and it is likely that their comfort zone/ balance in a particular activity is different than yours.  and guess what?  Balance comes into play here as well. You have to figure out your balance between

 staying with the old (comfort/stagnation)

and trying new stuff (growth/discomfort) 

Don't you love it?  I do!
 Your balance will change throughout your life.  Remember when the most important thing in the world was your (insert favorite childhood possession of your choice) stuffed giraffe?  How you thought the world would end when its eye fell off?  or you left it at some theme park?  Remember your first boyfriend/girlfriend? How you thought this is the only one for me. The first place you really loved living? (This is the only place for me)  I have found in my life that any time I use the word Never (as in I will never move from here, I will never love another stuffy) my balance point is close to shifting.  It's my way of trying to hold on to the comfort zone. And the universe's way of nudging me along.

So, as you negotiate this wonderful crazy thing we call life, remember your balance.  Cesar Milan likes a balanced pack,  I like a balanced life.  How about you?

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“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.” -Albert Einstein