I must confess that I am a Libra to the core and most of my life has been in the futile
quest for balance. On the positive side Libras tend to be diplomatic, easygoing,
sociable, idealistic and peaceable. But on the negative side we can be indecisive,
easily influenced, and will do anything to avoid confrontation. All this is true for me.
For years my husband thought I never took his side because I was always balancing
him with the opposite viewpoint. It's also true that I second guess myself so much that
there is no need to have an argument with anyone else. My tendency is to hold my
tongue and go my own way rather than work through controversy.
Many women have similar issues whatever their zodiac sign. Our female brains are
highly tuned to recognize the needs of others, which is extremely important in rearing
young. And for the same reason we are instinctively protective and programmed to
avoid danger. But I have come to realize that my obsession for balance also means
that the joy of outrageous spontaneity is constantly sacrificed for peace and harmony.
The dictionary defines balance as a state of equilibrium, a stable situation in which
forces cancel one another. Wait! That is not what I'm trying to achieve! I don't want to
cancel out anyone's feelings or thoughts.
A common image for balance is of the woman holding the scales of justice. Our
mistake is that we most often focus our attention on the two plates on either end of the
scale. There is a fable about a monkey who tries to divide a cookie equally between
two friends. It immediately notices that one is larger so takes a bite, but bites off a
little too much, so it takes a bite from the other. But it's still not quite right so it takes
another bite from the first, and so on until the monkey has eaten the whole cookie. On
second thought, perhaps the story was about a sly fox.
The point is balance can never be achieved by trying to control fluctuating externals.
It is an inside job. What we need to focus on is the woman in the center of the scales.
If she is firmly grounded, the scales will never topple. Achieving balance is really an
act of centering, responding from the core of our being rather than reacting to the ever
changing outer circumstances.
Here is my new guiding definition for balance: "Balance is achieved when all aspects
of who we are respect and honor one another." Balance is found in all-inclusive
wholeness, not in achieving stasis between the parts. But what does that mean and
how do we achieve that?
In her book, The Second Half of Life, Angeles Arrien speaks of four essential faces of
our being: child, youth, adult, and elder. I have discovered that when those four
aspects of myself are jointly being expressed, I feel most complete. For example when
I'm leading my women's retreats, my child is alive in awe of what may unfold, my
youth is engaged in the creative process, my responsible adult makes everyone feel
safe, and my wise elder compassionately shares her experiences. I am balanced by the
wholeness of my presence.
I invite you to take time this month, to notice when you feel out of balance, and
instead of trying to manipulate the externals, ask yourself. "What part of me am I not
honoring and respecting at this moment." And invite that part of you into the