Sunday, June 17, 2012

Embracing Balance

“Feeling at peace, however fragile, made it easy to slip into the visionary end of the dark-sight. The rose shadows said that they loved the sun, but that they also loved the dark, where their roots grew through the lightless mystery of the earth. The roses said: You do not have to choose. ” ~ Robin McKinley

In the last week or so, I've decided to forgo watching T.V. at night and listening to any music in the car. A lot of times, when I do things like this, it's when I feel like I'm out of balance and need to regroup. I don't think we realize how much "noise" is going on around us with every breath we take. We get so used to it, we don't even see its subtle, yet grating effects. Just like every time we log onto the computer, our minds are downloading thousands of bits of information. It's the same with the T.V. and our iPods. Last year, I took a break from Facebook for a bit.

This time, it chose me. My iPod ran out of battery and instead of popping in a CD, I just listened to the wind, the soft hum of my car engine as it accelerated and the birds. At night, it's been the pops and creaks of my home, the occasional passing car outside and the wind through my windows. It hasn't been easy, especially the music. But it's brought me a bit of grounding, balance, peace and clarity nevertheless. It's allowed me to see the beauty in balancing the darkness and the light.

Ever since I was a child spinning webs of imagination, my dreamworlds were always filled with both light and darkness, both rays of sunshine and dusky corners bathed in shadows. I never believed life was all one or the other, even as a child. I'm not sure when, but I eventually came to realization it's all about balance. Because there is positive and negative energy in us all and in the things around us every day, but we do have a choice what we focus on and what we nurture. And it tends to show itself in the people we draw in, the atmospheres we create and the situations we find ourselves in.

Unfortunately, I've also realized, there is no graduation date. I will always be challenged as will my balance, whether by outside forces or inward ones. And that is the tragic beauty of life. Both forces have purpose. Because the truth is, without the darkness, how could we appreciate the light? Without angry, negative, tense or malevolent forces and energy in this world ... how could we truly know and embrace the benevolent, kind, warm, compassionate and loving forces around us?

In everything I do and have done artistically, whether playing in an imaginary world as a child or writing a fiction story, poem, song, playing music on piano or guitar, sketching ... I've always been drawn to the dark, sad tales ... but those who look closest could see, they've often always had a layer of hope, movement, love or endurance carved into their core.

I have always and will always find beauty in the shadowy parts of this life. It's not always scary to embrace them. But it takes light to form shadows, just as it takes hope and faith in something to create true living and growth, albeit painful at times.

I've had a lot of growth in my life over the course of the last 6 years. Some if it — despite my intuition and my tendency to stubbornly ignore it — I did not anticipate I would endure. Yes, there was a  point where I was brought to life the moment my lips rose above the surface water of monotony and took breath, but I was too eager and not cautious. I got lost beneath the turbulent waves and was pulled to the lowest depths of anguish. And now ... I'm swimming again. I'm breathing again.

And through it all, searching for that balance, remembering its OK to float here and there. And when I've pushed aside any hurt, anger, resentment I'd collected over the years, and after I've let much of that go now ... I've truly been able to see and feel the tragic beauty behind it all, behind ... life.

I know things now about myself, my heart, my soul, my mind that I could never have gleaned from a book or from those around me. Hearing others' stories, hearing people tell me of their mistakes, of what they wish they'd done differently and what they've learned have impacted me more than they may ever know. I take notes ... but I've often had to learn things through actual living than most other ways. I guess sometimes, that's just the way it goes ...

But now I'm at a place where, yes, sometimes I lose my pace, I sink, but I constantly find the surface again ... and much quicker these days. I feel the wind on my face, born by forward movement in one way or another. Things I once feared so much, aren't very ominous looking anymore. And when I gaze into the mirror, I see a woman ... older, sharper somehow; one I have never seen before ... with a light in her complexion and eyes I'd forgotten was there. I see the shadows in my eyes, painting hard-learned wisdom, the vulnerable dark core, emitting nativity, past hurt and fear; and the forest green iris, filled with potential, strength and love.

It's that delicate balance I now hold tightly against me, cherishing its every fiber. Because the truth is, every part of me, the benevolent and beautiful, the vulnerable and scared, the hurt, weak and angry, the passionate and fierce, the good ... the bad, the ugly. All of it comprises who I am. And only I can choose what to nourish and harness, what to share and display ... what to promote and fuel. Because the more I do, the more I've been watching the things and people around me change, too.

Who knows what's to come ...



  1. Sounds like someone been healed, so happy to hear that. As passionate creatives we have a tendency to live life with are heart on are sleeve. But life experiences will teach you when to role your sleeve up or down. Im glad you have not coverd your wound with a callus but you let it heal with wisdom. :-)

    1. Yes, I'm getting there ;-) And I completely agree (about the sleeve rolling). Callouses have their place at times, but I'd rather embrace the scars and be wiser for them than harden myself to life.

  2. I really like this idea of forgoing things such as television and music. I have thought about doing something similar myself. Thanks for the inspiration :-)

    1. Thanks Keith :-) And yeah, it's not easy, but you realize just how much it adds to your everyday "backdrop." And when you forgo it and get over that initial hump, at least in my case, you feel the peace set in and the clarity.