As friends on Facebook will have seen, I have been sick this week. Again. This is the second time in a month, and at least the third, if not fourth, cold / flu I've been hit with this winter.
I have a woeful immune system, apparently. No amount of olive leaf extract or multi-vitamin immune booster seems to help stave off the viruses. It is, to say the very least in pleasant company, frustrating.
But I have long since observed that life is a constant striving for balance. Some days you find it, blissfully, and oh-so-fleetingly. Because the next day, or maybe the day after that, something will happen to knock you off balance again.
When that happens, I have been inclined to give up on finding it again. It seems to have been so long in the arriving, so short in the staying, that I wonder, is it worth the effort?
But, lately, by degrees, I appear to be more able to embrace the striving as a practice, a way of living, of being. Rather than expecting the balance to be the state of being at which I will arrive and remain, I see it as more a moment of magic almost, of relief. For it is in the striving that we abide, not in the balance.
Forgetting that, not being present in the striving, we don't really live well, because we're stuck in struggle, or denial, or anger. These things make us unstable, not just unbalanced.
In the upcoming Olympics, we will see again the gymnasts we rarely see otherwise, striving for balance on those beams. The practices of holding their core firm, moving arms and legs and torso, centring the head, keep them just stable enough to keep their place on the beam, and to still achieve great feats of skill and beauty.
While there is profound joy in the balance, we find joy not only in the balance. There is joy also in the striving, in the practices that aim for balance. There is strength in the striving for balance, these practices through which we reach for balance; they will keep us on the beam when without them, we would fall. Sure, sometimes life will knock us enough so that we will fall, and there is another blog post in the getting up from a fall.
And there is joy in the discovery, as I reflect, that I am finding myself less often giving in to frustration at achieving, and more often embracing the constant striving, for balance.