Balance

This morning, I read a beautiful passage from an interview with artist Janine Antoni, who once learned to walk a tightrope for the art commission, Touch. She says this:

So, I practiced tightrope for about an hour a day, and after about a week, I started to feel like, I’m now getting my balance. And as I was walking, I started to notice that it wasn’t that I was getting more balanced but that I was getting more comfortable with being out of balance.

She’d let the tightrope swing a bit further and lean into it, rather than away from it. She’d learned to become comfortable compensating just enough – slowly and surely –  rather than responding out of fear, or doubt, or self-criticism.

And I thought, I wish I could do that in my life when things are getting out of balance. You know, when you have a hard day, and one bad thing happens after another? I sort of learned that I could just breathe in and sort of set myself back up onto the rope.

I’ve written before that a day is never perfectly balanced, that the highs and lows cannot truly compensate for one another. There are ups that are ups and downs that are downs, and we’re never offered the two in equal measure.

And although we can attempt to control the elements – to change the temperature, to steady the rope, to lighten our load – the only true control we have is our reaction to the rope.

To breathe in.
To set ourselves back up.

To not become balanced, but to become more comfortable being out of balance.

Happy weekend, friends.

  • Your blog is very quickly becoming my very favorite. I love your perspective on things, which is always thoughtful and filled with subtle grace. You’re a great writer too. Glad to have found this space. I appreciate it.

  • I love this… of course. It’s so true. I went thru a divorce that I didn’t want or expect… but in the midst of all that chaos I found peace and hope and happiness. To me it was a miracle but also learning to breathe…oh I how need to breathe. And learning to be o.k. being out of balance and even finding beauty in that! Thanks for sharing

  • So true!! When I give the quick reaction I run into Newton’s 3rd law and twang off in a direction I probably didn’t want to go. Slow and steady, deep breath, you got this.

    On another note, I’m in love with your shoes and pants…maybe just the color, but wowsa!

  • This reminds of this film I just watched, “untethered” about highlining (slacklining between cliffs basically – the scenery is amazing, if you have 30 minutes give it a watch: https://vimeo.com/148268680). The story centres around a guy who is attempting to break a world record for the longest completely untethered trip on the highline – meaning slipping off is certain death. One of the things he said that stuck with me was “If I wasn’t 100% confident that I could catch myself when I fall, I wouldn’t be doing this. I have never not caught myself.” Talk about being comfortable unbalanced :D.

  • This reminds me of a favorite quote:
    “Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.”
    Victor Hugo

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