Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Finding Balance

Photographed: Raquel Sosa (dance teacher)

Have you ever tried doing the splits, a complex move on a balance beam, skating or any other sport that requires you to find your balance?

Doing the splits requires a series of achievements: the desire to do it, the willingness to take the challenge, an understanding of the mechanics of it, and a series of prior achievements: training, posture, stretching, etc. Once you are down there, with your legs straight, your weight balanced and your arms harmoniously placed, you must smile. Sometimes, you manage it all, except for the smile. The pain of the effort is such that you find smiling too hard, so you may not smile. There are times where you just simply manage it all, get used to the pain and smile. If you let go, it stops hurting and you smile because of what you just managed to do.

I once read an interview of Paloma Herrera, NYC Ballet's first ballerina. She was asked what it took to be in such a role. She replied it involved not only loving what you do and being good technically but also being able to display your smile gracefully; to know all your parts and also to let your soul show through.

I like to use the splits as a metaphor for finding balance in life. I know a lot of people that say they haven't found balance in their life cause although they have achieved many things they wanted, they are not so happy. Many say they have gone through all of what they assumed was expected of them only to realize they are missing a large piece of the puzzle. They have invested too much time doing something they didn't really like, trying to achieve their ideals (often others' ideals) trying to play the "perfect" part in a script, trying to please, sometimes forgetting or leaving aside what they really want. But, are ideals so good when they're not your own? was that part meant to be for them? and, what is "perfect", anyways?

Three of my favorite concepts in Psychology are balance, ideals and perfection because I find they are some of the most intriguing of the human mind: the more you pursue them, the more demanding you become with yourself, sometimes leaving little room for amusement or pleasure.

When searching for balance, remember that balance is relative. Figure out what you really want and follow your dreams. It's not to late, you can start now. Whatever it is that you like, you will do that with passion and it will make you and those around you happy. By stepping out of your comfort zone you will grow as a person and you will inspire others. You will make mistakes. If you let them into your life, they will enrich and soften your own self. If you don't, you will begin to stiffen. Learn from your mistakes. Laugh at them. Learn from success too, there is much to learn from things done right.

In the process of mastering what you set yourself after in life, remember that there are various aspects to it: the intellectual, the physical skills, the drive, the mechanics of it and, above all, the desire. Be flexible in uderstanding that balance is relative, and start doing what you really want today. It's only up to you to find yourself doing the splits with a smile on your face!

Post by : Valeria Mendez Cañas

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