A couple of weekends ago at the AWAKE Festival, I found myself dancing barefoot in the center of a large drum circle. I felt wonderfully free…and totally awkward.
The entire time I was in the middle of the circle, my awareness drifted between my head and my heart. I kept stepping on my long flowy dress, and I feared I would accidentally rip it off my body. Yet, the sensation of the dress floating around me and my hair flying in the wind made me feel like a bird aloft.
I worried that I looked like a weirdo, and at the same time, the energy of the drumbeats in my chest carried me to some otherworldly dimension where insecurities don’t exist. This is probably TMI, but I really, really had to pee. Nevertheless, I couldn’t get enough of the vibration in my feet as they gently pounded Mother Earth, so I held on. Eventually, I allowed myself to surrender to the dance.
Life is sort of like that moment, isn’t it? This constant drifting between head and heart. The continual migration between captivity and freedom. The balance dance.
We are in the season that invites us to recalibrate, to seek equilibrium. We’ve just experienced Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, a day of equal light and darkness. And according to Western astrology, we have entered Libra season where the archetype teaches us about balance.
There are so many ways to consider this dance of balance. One is to think about how to bring more balance into our everyday lives. Most of us, myself included, spend an inordinate amount of time doing and precious little time being. We have too much on our plates and often put our own care last on the to-do list. Perhaps this season calls us to recalibrate with a dance toward the being side. Even a few short pauses during the day to breathe deeply go a long way. I’ve also found that when I prioritize being, time sort of flexes and creates space for the doing.
Lately, I’ve been playing with the idea of the balance between my ego self and my soul self. My drum circle mental dance is a good example. Since none of us is going to shirk our egos, my question is, “How can I live more connected to my soul, or heart, and less connected to my ego, or head?” It has been interesting to watch myself dance between the two.
One of my teachers recently led me and a group of colleagues through a meditation where we dropped all our egoic identities and instead, saw ourselves as a column of light. It was terrifying to watch the roles I play float from my body and drop at my feet. Yet, imagining myself as simple and brilliant as a tube of pure white light was so empowering. This has been a valuable tool to use when I’ve been overwhelmed by responsibility, triggered by other peoples’ opinions, and worried about how future events might play out. It’s been a good reminder of the impermanence of most of the things I attach to.
Another way to look at balance is the idea of being centered. Connecting to that place deep inside us that remains constant, no matter what is happening in the world or in our personal lives. I’m finding that as I practice connecting to my center, I can also sense into an expansion. In my body it feels like a sweet, relaxed sort of heaviness in my belly and hips and a buzzing, tingly sensation at the crown of my head. In my mind it feels both peaceful and powerful at the same time. When I allow myself time to connect to this place of being, I gather strength to do my work in the world. And, of course, it’s a dance. I get pulled away from my center, then I return, pulled away, return, and so forth.
It’s tempting to think of balance as a static thing, something tangible that we can achieve. But it’s actually the movement that helps us find equilibrium. A therapist friend of mine recently shared with me this quote she read in Psychology Today: “Balance is not something we get. But rather it is a state of mind. It’s the realization that life is not stable, but it’s in constant motion.”
Just like me in the floaty dress, fighting the urge to pee, and pounding my feet and heart to the beat of those awesome drums.