Weighty Matters

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Are You Balanced?

on March 15, 2015

“Are you balanced?” Our instructors at last week’s Tai Chi workshops asked us that time and time again.  In the moment, it meant if we felt we were balanced in our bodies.  To properly balance requires a lot of different aspects to line up.  The first is the actual alignment, the stacking of my body over my feet.  Then there’s the notion of “equal and opposite force”.  When I stand up to kick, the intention in my hands and arms as I position them aids my balance.

Every time I practice my Tai Chai, I keep the question in mind and ask myself if I’m balanced.  It reminds me to strive for that feeling as I do the moves.  When I am balanced, I move with greater control and flow, as well as an absence of pain in my creakier joints.  I have to say that I feel wonderful in those moments.  They don’t always happen and, when necessary, it’s okay for me to use a prop foot, but I know how balanced feels and that’s the goal.

Balance infuses all of Tai Chi.  There’s a natural balance to be sought between body, mind and spirit.  Expanding out from the martial art, I seek balance in all areas of my life.  In OA, we sometimes talk about the three legged stool.  The “legs” are physical, mental, and emotional.  If those are not in balance, our foundation is uneven and doesn’t provide proper support.  We tilt and rock, spending more time adjusting or compensating for the part of our life that’s out of whack.

When I’m out of balance I am more vulnerable to my compulsive eating disease.  In those times, I most need to be aware of the which “leg” of the stool is shaky and do what I need to in order to secure it and bring myself back into balance.

Today I felt balanced all day.   I was able to sleep in a little this morning.  When I woke up, after I took care of the dogs, I went out on my porch to enjoy a beautiful day.  I did my Tai Chi foundation exercises, followed by a set.  Then I practiced a couple of moves that challenge me balance-wise.  I worked on finding my balance point in those moves so that I can remember how it feels when I do them right.  That muscle memory will help the next time.

I’d made plans to go to breakfast with a friend to celebrate her new job.  I knew that I would have the treat of a mimosa and some breakfast treats.  To compensate, instead of driving, we road our bikes.  After the meal, which was delicious, I opted to extend my bike ride a few more miles.  This balanced out the caloric intake a little, I think.  (Don’t worry, I only had one mimosa and we lingered over the meal so my cycling was not impaired.)

After an enjoyable ride, which benefited me emotionally as well as physically, I came home and addressed a variety of tasks inside and out of the house.  It’s a great feeling when I get things done instead of procrastinating.  I feel sharper mentally when I complete things and cross them off of my list.

In between, of course, there was also time for some dog cuddling and simply breathing in the fresh air while relaxing on the porch and watching boats cruise by.  These things warm and settle me emotionally.

Sunday afternoons, some of us get together at the beach to do more Tai Chi and this provided another opportunity not only for physical activity, but also relaxation and a connection to spirit.

When I got home, I prepared a nutritious and yummy dinner.  I think the act of cooking healthy food nourishes all three aspects of my balance.  I’ve discussed before that the evening hours are often challenging for me to remain with my food plan.  That’s when I most often want to eat or overeat on junk food.   Being in a balanced state freed me of the compulsion tonight.  I stuck with my plan to eat half an apple for a snack.

A few paragraphs ago I talked about paying attention so that I can feel my balance points in different moves.  Tonight, I’m looking back over the day and paying attention to how spending it in balance feels.  Hopefully, this self-awareness will make it easier for me to find this balance point again.

So, how are you doing?  Are you balanced?

2 responses to “Are You Balanced?

  1. Mary Stella says:

    I’m in an okay place and determined to improve from here. In the meantime, sometimes I rely on “faking it until I make it” which helps me find how things, even balance, are supposed to feel.

    I hope you get a great report at your checkup. Isn’t it amazing how often we neglect the things we do for fun when they’re so important to a balanced life?

    I think it’s natural that you, or any of us, feel frustration over changes – whether significant or smaller. Grateful for what we have or can do on any given day certainly helps the mindset.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. Again, good luck with the eye exam. Fingers crossed!

  2. lynnviehl says:

    You sound like you’re in a very good place, Mary, but you always seem to find the direction you need to take to get there. 🙂

    I am getting ready for my six month eye check-up this week, at which I’ll find out just how well I’ve actually healed from the surgeries. I think I’m doing great, but I can’t look at my retinas in the mirror. 🙂

    As for my balancing act, I’ve finally worked out how to fit my work schedule in with my home life and responsibilities, so now I’m working on exercise and things I do for fun, both of which I’ve neglected while figuring out my career shift and adjusting to the vision changes. I’m back to walking every day and sewing or reading every night, and I’m writing stories for myself every week, something I’ve also missed.

    Maintaining the balance is always a challenge when your life changes in some significant way, I think. Sometimes I feel frustrated because I can’t do as much as I did pre-surgery (or do it as well as I once did.) I’ve learned to stop and remind myself that I could have lost it all to blindness, and that I need to be grateful for what I can do and see every single day.

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