Wholeness v. Balance

Props to this tight-rope-walking woman pictured below, but when I think of balance, or if someone asks me about exercise “balance”, or food “balance”, I feel a little angsty in answering (and possibly disappointing) because in real life “balance” seems a little unattainable and imaginary like Perfectionism. Yikes. As you can guess, I feel the word balance can be loaded and lofty. Here’s why:

I was lucky to be in a beautiful discussion yesterday regarding the nervous system and how “balance” is defined and/or ideal within the realms of sympathetic and parasympathetic states of being. (in case you’re wondering, that’s a rabbit hole of nuanced language and science that as we all agreed is rather too elusive to sum up sometimes via language as it is still being unpacked by scientists, researchers and therapists.) But we did agree on the word WHOLENESS.

Wholeness means you identify with, know, can relate to, are aware of, own, hold, contain, are getting to know, embrace, keep in check, or dance with All Your Parts. From an Internal Family Systems Therapy perspective, sometimes our Parts (maybe the part that harbors a painful wound, maybe the part that is unconsciously jealous of others, maybe the part that automatically restricts or overeats to numb layers of feeling) get really rigid or extreme and initially seem separate from each other. But upon closer and compassionate inspection, they’re related, and they all affect each other. So when we identify, become aware, hold, get to know and dance with all those parts within the safety of healthy re-patterning, they might still exist but at a lesser degree. You can step back and see them and know how to work with them. They can even serve you in teaching you how to move forward in a healthy way.

All that to say, it’s not about a perfect balance of xx minutes of cardio, xx minutes of weight training, a particular style of yoga class. And it’s certainly not about a perfect ratio of carb cycling, or weighing your food to get a perfect measurement. That stuff might “work” (as in, give you preconceived “results”) in the short-run, but in the long-run, they are unsustainable practices. They keep you tethered to rigidity and labor that results in burnout, boredom and/or injury.

All that to say, it is about WHOLENESS. If we translate “balance” into “wholeness”, we can approach life in a more playful manner. We can release the reigns in our jaws and heart centers and settle into an okayness that we are supposed to be exactly where we are. We can invite the breath deeper into the body with an experience of being able to be with all those sensations that arise.

As I’ve experienced and taught others for many years, some days your body needs to dance or garden, some days it needs to push and pull, some days it needs a non-traditional dinner that might not have a speck of green. (Or, can’t help it, but maybe it is indeed green eggs and ham!) When you allow MORE, when you allow ALL of you (the good, bad, ugly, sparkly, spiritual, irritable), you naturally need less control, and therein, the unhealthy, unproductive, painful behaviors naturally fall away. You trust the process. You trust the cycles. You trust today is different tomorrow. You trust your meaning of balance is fluid and, most brilliantly, keeps you awake to your unique needs, desires, dreams, urges and ideas.

“The moon is a reminder that no matter what phase I’m in, I’m still whole.” ~ author unknown

*Interested in tuning into your intuitive movement, to your body’s sensations? Come to a free workshop in Atlanta for Love Your Body Month on February 23, 2019. Click here for info.