“Every traveler has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering” – Charles Dickens
Spring is readying its return and the anticipation is heightened after such a harsh winter. Just when we need it most, spring appears and reminds us that renewal is a part of the cycle of nature and life, even after the bleakest dormancy.
Coming out of my winter cocoon, I recently return to my yoga practice after an absence of many months. When I knelt on my mat it was like an old friend who had been there all along, waiting for me to return. During the practice our instructor reminded us that, whether we are conscious of it or not, the breath is always there waiting for us to come back to it. That simple statement struck me as profound when I applied it to the bigger picture.
It made me realize that we step away from things that keep us happy, healthy and centered all the time. But these things never really leave us. They remain available, quietly and patiently waiting for our return.
There is a center point of balance that is a set point within each and every one of us. This is the place where our happiness, wisdom and vitality lies. I’m not suggesting that this is a static point of monotony or repetition. In fact, just the opposite is true. A state of balance is the mindset needed to make life expansive and full of new opportunities to explore what makes us feel good.
The further we stray from our center point of balance the more apt we are to find ourselves in a state of imbalance. Being close to our center is like charting a course that keeps us sailing in calm waters. But the further out we drift the more apt we are to lose our bearings and encounter rough seas. This is where tidal waves of bad decisions, impulsiveness, illness, exhaustion, chaos and sorrow live, making us sea sick and harder to find our way back home.
We may blame our state of affairs on external factors, but in reality we are the ones who have moved away from balance.
Why do we step away, especially when we know how good it feels to be in balance, and how awful it feels when we are not? It takes discipline to keep from stepping away from the routines, people and places that keep us centered. Sometimes it feels easier to avoid or take a shortcut, but anything of value requires us to put in the work. Whether it’s a great backhand in tennis, a successful job search or a healthy mind and body, a life in balance does not happen on its own. One of the simplest ways to return renewal and balance to our internal home is to return these things to our physical one.
It’s a great feeling to be in harmony with our surroundings. Everywhere you look you see things that remind you of who you are at your center and reinforce your sense of balance. But it can be a frustrating feeling to be out of synch with what you are seeing around you. Not having the connection you need could be the root cause to malaise or depression, and everything in between.
After doing this work for so many years I am still amazed at how easy it is to change ones mood, outlook, vision and life by manipulating physical surroundings. Beauty and balance vibrates very differently from chaos and clutter and we have the power to choose which we live with. By returning our attention to what delights us, makes us feel calm, secure and settled we start to get a sense of how we are calibrated. This information is key in seeking out things that align with our personal settings and avoiding things that don’t. These are the coordinates that will always sail us back to our center.
Once we know the ease that comes from living in a place of balance, the quicker we feel it when we fall out. I am reminded of a client who worked so hard to take her home from a state of chaos to an oasis of calm. Overwhelmed by the demands of family, work and life she stepped away from the routines that kept her home and life running smoothly. In no time at all she was feeling the effects that came in the form of clutter, not being able to find things and feeling more anxious. Realizing she was wobbling, she spent an uninterrupted weekend getting back on track. That time gave her great insight into what she needed to keep in her home and her life, and what no longer served her.
Sometimes it takes everything falling apart and spinning out of control for us to look for the breadcrumbs that take us back home. Sometimes it just takes an internal nudge telling us that something is amiss. But the closer we stay to our center the shorter the distance back if we do stray. Our balanced center is always there patiently waiting for our return. We just have to step back to it.