When I first learned to fly a glider (a plane without an engine), I knew nothing about aerodynamics and didn’t understand what allows a plane to “fly,” to stay up in the air. I was nervous and would white knuckle the stick on tow. My instructor, directly behind me, would say, over and over again, “Gentle corrections. Don’t over correct, and if you undercorrect, be decisive and confident, but don’t muscle it. Be coordinated in flight. Think balance. Become one with the plane.”
I’d been a dancer in my youth and had an instinct about kinesthetic energy and what was going on around me. I’d practiced Yoga since I was 14 and had an understanding of how balance, effort, flexibility, energy, strength, stillness and focus can all magically come together within one single pose. I’d been an actor and theatre director, and had had to learn how to use my own energies in harmony with those of others. I had become a fine jewelry designer and owned thousands of dollars worth of tools, and had learned to use them to create something beautiful. I had learned to cook and to spice food without overwhelming the palate. I had become a gardener and had learned to grow yummy things to eat.
But when I was learning Yoga, and even long after I had developed any expertise at all, I had overworked my muscles and tendons and ligaments and created injury and inflammation in my body over and over again. As a dancer, I had stepped on many toes, and invaded many a fellow dancer’s personal space. Yes, I made rather nice pieces of jewelry, but I have small hands and my jeweler’s drill was big and I would grip it too hard over many hours of work and over the years I brought on arthritis in my basal thumb joint (which is now missing because of a necessary surgery). I fought with nature’s creatures and their need to eat too, wrestling with how to keep them out of my garden without harming them, or my husband and me, with pesticides in the process of tending my garden. Thankfully, as a cook, I have not yet given anyone food poisoning.
Yet years later whenever I fly, I’m astonished when I catch myself white-knuckling the yoke. When from time-to-time I still kick my ballroom dancing teacher, I wonder how I could be so disconnected after all those many lessons. And every Spring I still ask myself, “Will I win this season? Or will nature’s creatures have their way with my plants and flowers?”
I’m constantly trying to find balance, to uncover balance, to allow balance, to invite balance into my life. I’m constantly trying to be aware of how I myself create the circumstances that lead to not having the balance I seek. It is a yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, minute-by-minute, moment-by-moment effort…that of finding, creating and allowing balance. And that of accepting it when it is not there.
As the beautiful dance in the attached video, featuring the extraordinary Maedir Eugster, so perfectly illustrates, balance comes from being aware every second. Watch his eyes, watch his body, watch his hands, his fingers. Watch the stillness of his effort. Watch how he so calmly and attentively works so hard.
Thank you very much Laurence Pegard for originally sharing this video and dawn ahukanna for re-sharing it and bringing it specifically to my attention in a comment on my last post. I am grateful to both of them for filling my mind with thoughts of balance…and this stunning video. I wanted to share it again this weekend because it had such an impact on me.
I’m going flying now, and will try to channel Maedir Eugster’s finely tuned sense of balance. I will try not to white knuckle the yoke today. Just today. Okay maybe I will succeed for one minute. I’ll take a minute. Or a moment…
Have a lovely day, everyone.