“Come into balance,” my yoga instructor says. We make awkward eye contact, and her next comment is directed at me. “Michelle, this will be hard for you.”
Balance is not my yoga expertise. Pigeon, sure. Downward dog? I could hold it for hours. But dancer? Get real.
I build my tree pose. I could stand indefinitely if I would let my toes touch the ground, but I never chose that option. Instead, I push my foot against the upper part of my knee.
Eye contact again: “Option one,” she reiterates, showing the class (ie: me) her big toe lending support on the ground. I am too stubborn to change, and keep the contour of my sole firmly against my knee.
Hands at heart center.
I peek at my neighbor, falter, refocus, and breathe.
“Let your tree sway with the breeze,” she says.
I can’t– I am not rooted at all, how can I sway without being carried away?
I am unconnected to the ground, my single foot rolls so I am right at the edge of my foot– onto the callous line, as I have heard it called.
Come into balance.
Is it possible to be a balanced person?
I don’t know if I really understand what that means anymore.
I understand being a well-rounded person, someone who is informed about many different facets of life and who is competent in many different areas.
But being balanced– how, exactly, do we come into balance?
For example, in my current stage of life, I spend all but three or four of my waking hours either teaching or doing stuff for teaching and my job.
That is not balanced.
However, I do it because I want my students to learn, and I want to be the best teacher I can be. I chose a career that directly impacts large numbers of people, from my students themselves to co-workers and parents, I play a part in many people’s lives. I’m not saying that I have a lot of power, or that I am of a particularly significant influence, but rather that I know that bad teachers can haunt students for a long time. It’s not something to take lightly, and I don’t.
I also do it because, after being at a school for three years, obligations pile up. Being in charge of the Yearbook and Graduation Committee, working with the Media Club students, testing new students on occasional weekends…
So, does my imbalance in that regard mean that there is something (terribly) wrong? I mean, I am not married, and I don’t have children, so I don’t come home to anyone. I don’t even have a roommate.
Sometimes, I feel as if balance is impossible.
I live and work in the same high-rise– is that a balanced life?
In the past three months, I have spent only two days in outside in nature (and that was on vacation!)– is that a balanced life?
And now, in the midst of transition, balance seems harder than ever. Soon, it will be a new school, a new role, a new chapter of my life. Will it ever come into balance?