Monday, September 24, 2012

Equinox: Striking the Balance

This past Saturday was the Autumnal Equinox, the official first day of Fall.  Up here, in the Seattle area of the Pacific Northwest, Fall literally happened over night.  All week it was warm and sunny like Summer.  I woke up Friday morning to the cool, overcast weather that is typically associated with Western Washington, and all the leaves had turned.  Just like that, Instant Fall!  I suspect most areas experience a less sudden and dramatic change of seasons.  Where I grew up, in Florida, you start to notice Fall about the time it should be starting Winter.  I've lived in this region for almost a decade, and it still amazes me that Fall happens right on cue rather than gradually sneaking up on you some time around Thanksgiving.  However, the Equinox happens everywhere, heralding the start of Autumn, whether it feels like it or not.

What actually happens on the Equinox is the hours of the day are perfectly balanced to the hours of the night: they are equal in length, "Equinox."  In honor of this occasion, I feel it appropriate to examine the value of balance in daily life and the part it plays on the road to inner peace.

For someone like me, a Yoga, Pilates, and Dance Instructor, the word "balance" is so second nature and integral to my thoughts as to be easily taken for granted.  I recently stood in for a fellow Yoga instructor, and her class commented on how much of a balance element there was in my class.  It surprised and challenged them.  I was surprised it was so unfamiliar for them, but every teacher is different.  We have our strengths and weakness, and we will tend to teach toward our strengths.  As a former ballet dancer, balance is my strength.

In a broader scope, truly, where there is balance, there is harmony.  This applies to all aspects of life.  When something is out of balance, there is discord.  Bringing things into balance creates ease and joy.  I would like to suggest that now, at the balance of the seasons, is the ideal time to examine the aspects of your life that need to be balanced.  Is your health in balance?  Do you balance active pursuits with enough restful time?  Is your work life balanced with a healthy dose of recreation?  Do you balance social life and solitude?  Is your income balanced by your expenditure, a balanced budget, as it were?  If you are a very giving person, as most spiritual folk are, do you balance it with the ability to freely receive?  The list goes on and on. I challenge you to take a few moments to look at what areas of your life are filled with discord, pain, fear, stress, or anything else that essentially equals being out of balance. What would it take to bring those things into balance, to fill that area of your life with pleasure, harmony, and ease?  Begin taking steps to bring that balance back into your areas of discord.  You don't have to make the change over night, like the seasons of the Pacific Northwest.  You can always choose a gentle change, but at least take the first steps.  Bring the right balance into your being, and figure out what you need to do to keep it that way for life.

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