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  • Writer's pictureTracey Lee

Bring on the Acrobats

I love a balancing act. Those folks who seem to be able to maintain an impossible position on one limb without teetering, wavering or crashing to the ground in an undignified pile are a rarefied breed. Not only do they sustain their own weight, let’s say on one hand, they further intensify the mystery by doing this aloft on some spindly, dubiously sturdy, stick! They are usually juggling heavy items simultaneously and spinning plates on lengthy rods without catastrophe. Marvellous!


And so marvellous that their circus act becomes the metaphor for a modern life. We are all apparently walking some unseen tightrope with every limb elevating aspects of work, family and hobbies in ever spectacular feats of extraordinary strength and power. And we speak of life/work balance and draw up carefully planned schedules to ensure we can contort the last extraordinary performance out of ourselves. And we can say we live a balanced life, with our balanced diets and well-balanced minds.


And some of us can’t! Balance is a sort of nemesis of mine. Both physically and metaphysically. I have a somewhat reconfigured foot that even a few surgeries have been unable to completely stabilise.  So in the gym, standing on my ‘bad foot’, I look like I’m riding a surfboard through a tsunami. It’s fearsome to see and feels fairly hideous too. But I continue therapeutically to put it through its paces. (Truly- the balance class is light entertainment!)


On a more internal level I crave a peaceful mind. Every year my New Year’s Resolution is to attain serenity. To eradicate the monkey mind and abandon obsessive thinking and to go all ‘Beatles-like’ and let it be. Still waiting for this to eventuate and there’s been a lot of New Year’s eves! I meditate and listen to podcasts and read the overabundance of ‘how to balance one’s life’ literature. But still the Zen persona eludes me. I wonder if I’ll ever get the hang of being balanced!


I wonder too if the problem is that I’m over defining the notion. Perhaps my parameters are askew. When I consult my ever present companion (thesaurus.com) I note the absence of the words that might reflect the circus act I describe in paragraph one. In fact I’m pleasantly surprised to find words such as: equity, harmony, justice, reasonableness, symmetry and equilibrium. It is entirely possible that I might be closer than I think.


If I redefine my notion of a balanced life by excluding the contortions, acrobatics and busyness perhaps I’m already there. It is entirely possible that in the chase to be more balanced I’ve been using the wrong aspirational image entirely.


It might be cheating to change the definition half way through the task or perhaps it’s just good management. Either way I’m getting off the tightrope, putting away my spinning plates and diminishing my mental contortions. I will, however, continue in the gym in an attempt to master the Warrior III pose.


Life, like writing a novel, is a work in progress.

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