This is one of my favorite metaphors. It’s an axiom to live by: “being comfortable being out of balance.” So no matter what is happening we can be comfortable. This is equanimity in action. Here is my post from 16 August 2010.
Performance artist Janine Antoni provides a compelling image for mindfulness in life through acceptance of what is so. Mindfulness does not just magically make everything OK but it shows us, when we can stop resisting. She discovered this lesson while teaching herself to walk a tight rope. Here is what she said about the experience:
So I practiced tightroping for about an hour a day andafter about a week I started to feel like I’m now getting my balance. And as Iwas walking I started to notice that it wasn’t that I was getting morebalanced, but that I was getting more comfortable with being out of balance.
Iwould let the pendulum swing a little bit further and rather than gettingnervous and overcompensating by leaning too much to one side I could compensatejust enough. And I thought, I wish I could do that in my life when things aregetting out of balance. You know when you have a hard day and one bad thinghappens after another? I sort of learned that I could just breathe in and sortof set myself back up onto the rope.
The other thing that was really fascinating is Istarted to learn the bottom of my feet in a way that I had never learnedbefore. If the wire is just a millimeter to one side or the other I can feel itin my arms. I started to learn all kinds of things about the skeletalstructure. About my sternum and my sacrum and how to keep them in balance. Itwas quite a beautiful process, learning to walk on the rope.
Returning to breathing is key. Tightrope walking put Janine in her body, as can any kinetic activity when done with awareness.
She has dedicated her life and work to teaching integrated Mind/Body approaches to well-being for over two decades. She has successfully employed proactive holistic wellness awareness tools and techniques to help individuals and teams strengthen attention and focus, shape positive and productive thoughts, choices, actions and behaviors, reduce stress internally and externally, and build empathy, compassion and interconnection. Suzanne specializes in teaching others to honestly and fearlessly address their shadow thoughts, choices, actions and behaviors and the importance of the impact they have upon all they come into contact with as well as themselves, and how they can actualize lasting, transparent change in their lives.
Last night marked the winter solstice — the longest night of the year. Today the days grow longer, even as we reach into the deep belly of winter here in Northern Vermont and elsewhere. The solstice marks the end of a long contraction, started six months ago at the summer solstice. We are now expanding.