Life's Other Adventures · On Motherhood

Balance

I’ve been doing more yoga.

And by more yoga, I mean I have been going once a week for almost two months, which makes this the most consistent exercise regimen I have had in approximately six years.

The first week I went, I spent the whole class with a brain in at least 35 different places.

Are the boys ok?

Did I leave enough food for dinner?

Is the babe eating enough?

Did I forget to put his milk cup somewhere obvious?
Is the no spill insert in the cap or in the compartment of the dish strainer? Will he be able to find it? Will it spill? Will I finish class to find multiple missed calls with urgent questions that only I could answer?

Can they possibly survive an hour without me?

If they survive the hour without me, does that mean the currency of my self worth has diminished?

Am I selfish for wanting to be here?

Am I lazy for not coming sooner?

Am I too much?

Am I enough?

You get the idea.

I thought of a lot of things about a world that revolved completely around me. I thought very little about yoga.

They were fine. Zero missed calls.

The next week, I spent the afternoon preparing for the class. I made sure there was enough dinner. I set out the cup somewhere very obvious. I confirmed the location of the no spill insert. I prepared.

Not because they needed me to, but because I needed my brain to have an hour away, and sometimes to achieve that, sometimes to find balance, we need to prepare.

And then I went to yoga.

And an hour later, my brain had focused only on my body. Not what my body does for everyone else but what my body does for itself.

And the following week, I spent the entire hour thinking about balance.

Maybe it’s just me, but for 33 years I have BALANCE written on an existential chalkboard as a goal for the week, the month, the year.

2004, 2012, 2020, the year I find balance.

As if it’s a good deal on a great pair of boots you’ve been eyeing for months. If I’m diligent enough, persistent enough, creative enough, I will find the right coupon, the right sale, and voila, at 40% off, balance will finally be mine. I will admire it, and wear it, it will fit perfectly, I will feel perfect with it, and perhaps most importantly, when I go out in public, everyone who sees me will know I have balance.

But week three of yoga, sweating while my boys ate their dinner just fine without me, somewhere between a dog and a warrior, I realized that balance is the process. You don’t arrive at balance and stay there. My years as a dancer should have taught me that the moment you stop working to balance, you fall over.

So if by some bizarre happening, you too have spent years wondering why you haven’t yet arrived at the precipice of the elusive allure of balance, let me tell you from experience, you are probably already there. If you are working for it, thinking about it, preparing for it, spreading yourself thin in pursuit of it. If you’re trying to be it all then realizing you can’t, or don’t need to, or don’t want to- you’re balancing.

It is a fluid pursuit; ever changing. It is evolving and growing, shrinking and morphing. It is constant. It is some muscles flexed while others relax. It is deep breaths and focused eyes.

And sometimes, without shame, it is a toe to the ground, a finger to the wall, a gently whispered acknowledgment that you cannot do it all on your own. Because to keep pursuing balance, sometimes you need to pause and accept some help. And that doesn’t mean you’ve lost your balance, it simply means you took the next step, did the next thing, to keep on your journey to continue to balance.

One thought on “Balance

  1. Beautifully written as always. I have been explicitly seeking balance since that awful year when my parents died within 6 months. Then my younger brother died. I agree that balance is an ongoing and changing target. The things you learned as a dancer (head up, focus, straight spine, pay attention to your own space etc) apply to all things.

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