Stepping Out with Balance

Surfer at Fanore, Co. Clare
Surfer at Fanore, Co. Clare

I live in awe of surfers and people who have perfect balance ~ like surfers, tightrope walkers, ice-skaters, jockeys and gymnasts to mention but a few. Physical balance is not my forte, especially since breaking my leg a few times in silly accidents that involved not looking where I was going! However, there’s also the matter of mental balance and equilibrium. This is something that everyone finds challenging because of the tossings of life. Looking at the photo of the surfer which has a place on my desktop, I feel that mental balance is also about working towards achieving confidence, working like hell at times in the margins when no one is looking. It is also about knowing how to celebrate even the tiniest achievements and taking apparent failures and rejections on the chin. Yes, learn from rejection but never succumb to it. And most of all, be gracious and thankful; give and receive with heart. Therein lies the grace of mental balance in its purity and freshness. I’d love to hear what you feel about mental balance. What exactly does it involve? How important is it?

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

22 thoughts on “Stepping Out with Balance”

  1. Mental balance – when I become completely present for long periods of time. Over time this becomes my way of life, a balance and perspective that is peaceful until the fire of reality.

  2. Whew Jean, you ask the darndest questions. I’ve heard this explained many ways. Sun Tzu (The Art of War) basically calls it situational awareness. In tennis Navratilova calls it “finding the sweet spot”. I’ve heard it described as “presence” or “being in the present” ( Belinda over at Idiotwriter). And many other descriptions.

    For me it means knowing all the rules and reality around my endeavor – in as far as they will apply to me. Then I make it all a part of who I am or to put it another way – my ego steps aside and allows me to be an equal force in the dynamic and spread my consciousness through-out the entire situation. Which sounds strange but let me give an example. I drove a tractor trailer for many years. I have 3 million miles of experience. I know the rules and understand them. But that is just the neginning. When I get on the highway, it feels as if my mind expands to include all the of truck and I ‘feel” how the truck operates and impacts and affects the environment that I move through as well as how the context affects me. When something is “off” or not right or not resonating, I can focus my attention and intellect to identify the problem and repair it so that it does all work together again. I have an acquaintance who is a military helicopter mechanic and according to him, that is the way you fix helicopters as well. They are so complex with so many systems that starting from scratch and anzlyzing each system is not a realistic way to approach a problem. The mechanic assumes the helicopter systems all work harmoniously to make the helicopter complete. Then he finds the part or system that is not working harmoniously and focuses there to identify and repair what is wrong.

    So, mental balance is about accepting that you are built for this world, about understanding how it works, and then by subsuming the “world” into your self – in part by removing your ego from the mix.

    Ha! It doesn’t bend itself well to words but once you’re there you will go “Ah Ha!”and it will be obvious.

    Thought provoking post Jean. Thank You.

  3. Mental balance can be very hard to achieve in a world full of variables that you can’t control. I guess it’s a case of letting go of the past and not worrying about things that might never happen tomorrow, as well as not wanting what you can’t have. All easier said than done, but a good thing to strive for.
    Also, if you take a holistic approach to things, then it helps to keep your body as healthy as possible, which gives your brain a better chance of maintaining balance. I do Qi Gong exercises every day, but not obsessively, as there has to be a balance between inward and outward focus.
    Well, that’s some of what I think, for what it’s worth.

  4. Very thought-provoking post. Thanks for sharing it with us. As for balance, it is getting harder and harder to achieve as our worlds get more complicated. I also think you can’t truly separate mental balance from physical balance from spiritual balance (whatever spirituality means to you). They are all connected.

    I agree with previous commenters – keep your body healthy with good food and movement. I also believe in Tai Chi, Qi Gong and yoga to help with the mind/body connection.

    Practicing gratitude works well too. When I first heard about this, I was very skeptical and thought that something so simple as finding something to be grateful for every day could be so powerful. But it is. It has really helped change my mindset.


  5. Instinct

    There’s no place for love
    at this time in my life.
    I envy those
    who achieve the balance of need.

    Opportunities ignored
    in the interest of safe-ness,
    flying toward
    my ability’s determined focus.

    Children gone
    in their own living-dreams direction,
    their lessons learnt
    and heeded. My job’s complete.

    Is this my way
    of avoiding the ‘empty nest’ syndrome;
    gathering materials
    for comfort as I settle to old age?

    Frances Macaulay Forde 2003
    (Poem No 2, ‘Hidden Capacity ~ a poet’s journey’ pub Ireland 2003.)

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