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Life is a balancing act


When I was young I did gymnastics. I was confident with the floor and vault exercises, but had an ongoing conflict with the balance beam. In my mind it was the most cruel part of gymnastics. Raised from the floor and only 10 cm wide. Every time I lost balance I added a painful bruise to my collection on my legs, sometimes hitting the same spot over and over again. At times my mind was consumed with the vision of falling which resulted in my body to freeze.

My movements became jerky instead of fluent and flexible. My body tensed up and reacted to anything that was going on internally (my fearful visions) and in my environment (instructions from my trainer). These constant responses literally threw me off balance.

To master the beam you have to be able to listen to your body and take mindful actions to move forward.

The difficulty for me was to find the right balance between listening and taking action.

I still encounter those situations in my life where I fall off the beam. I loose balance and catch myself reacting to anything that comes my way.

When I find myself in this situation I put away and turn off anything that could distract me from regaining balance. This could be the radio, phone, computer, or any paper or to do lists that stare in my face.

Then I just do nothing, only follow the air of my breath and observe any sensation that emerges. This can take me one minute, ten or twenty. This little ‘time-out’ exercise clears my mind and often shows me how to get back on the balance beam.

What is your experience? How do you balance listening and taking action?

Image: Raphael Goetter

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