Michael Fukumura: Living in Dynamic Balance
We all seek balance to be healthy and optimize performance. Living in balance is like surfing the waves of change with your beloved, work, play, community, and nature. The key is to ride every wave of change by finding your center. When you operate from your center, you learn how to make adjustments to maintain your equilibrium through a dynamic process of experiencing the extremes; when it is too much or too little. Sometimes, you fall. However, you get up again and learn how to get better at balancing.
There are many different and effective strategies to balance your energies, but here are some simple guidelines.
Recognize the Signs of Being Out of Balance
Take the time to notice when you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed-out, or tense in your body or mind. Notice if you are sluggish, dull, and uninspired. These are all signs that your prana is depleted and you are out of balance. Over a long period of time, you may become rigid in these unhealthy patterns and lose your resilience to adapt to change.
Start Your Day By Feeling Whole
Begin your day by going to the source of internal balance. Use whatever practices, teachings, or rituals that help you experience your stillpoint or center. It is from your ground of being that you clear your mind and focus your attention. When you experience spaciousness, your awareness expands and you become the source of peace and calmness.
Shift Your Perspective
How you view the world has a powerful effect on your actions and unfolding experience. It is hard to find balance when you are operating from fear, anger, doubt. If you see everything as a potential threat, problem, then the world will reflect that back to you.
If you see change as an opportunity to grow and learn, your awareness becomes a source for a more positive experience. Instead of resisting change, you attune to whatever is being offered. Sometimes, change is simply to be enjoyed. At other times, change challenges you and calls you to your highest attention where you must marshal all of your resources.
When change becomes a challenge rather than a crisis, you can respond from an empowered place. Then from a higher perspective, when fear, anger or doubt arises, rather than indulging, you can transmute them to enhance your performance and experience.
For example, when surfing a big wave (challenge), I respect fear and channel it into heightened awareness that transforms my fear of falling into a thrilling ride.
Engage the World with Meaningful Dedication
It is important to distinguish between meaningful efforts from those where you are just “spinning your wheels”. Avoid wasting time and energy on activities in your life that you cannot control or influence. When you refocus your efforts on where you can make a difference, you will actually gain more time and energy.
Channel and direct your energy towards service, work, creative acts, and relationships that support you. Your dedication to what matters is important to provide balance because it brings meaning to your life. You will know when you are in balance in these activities because you feel replenished, filled up, supported, and your efforts enliven and sustain you.
Go with the Flow
Notice if you are trying to control whatever wave you are riding. Don’t force your way into balance. Instead, receive what is being offered. Treat every wave like you do twists. Remember to breath in the face of the challenge by anchoring into the foundation of who you are, holding to your center. Let your breath lead the way.
You can also find balance by cultivating the opposite energy flow. If there is too much effort then relax and rest more. Balance work with play; solitude with time with others. Find the middle between these complementary energy flows.
A guideline for these pairing of opposites is the 10 pairs of the Gunas: hot/cold; oily/dry; heavy/light; gross/subtle; dense; liquid; static/mobile; soft/hard; sticky/clear; slow/sharp; and transparent/opaque. These are additional tools to find the middle or sattvic place between these extremes.
Recalibrate through Mindfulness
During the course of the business of the day, check in periodically and pause. Refocus your mind by returning to a state of mindfulness. Meet the moment fully.
Notice and observe the interplay between the complementary energy flows. Ask: What do I need to be balanced?
Moments of mindfulness throughout the day can be like mini-retreats, they renew, restore, and revitalize your energy. Now, you re-engage and skillfully respond to life’s stresses in a more harmonious way.
It is this cycle of engagement, listening, and re-engagement in the world that is a key to balance.
Balance in Relationship
Isolating and focusing all of your energy and attention on your self is the quickest way to get out of balance. Share and develop meaningful relationships with those in your life who support you. In this way, your beloved, your family, your friends, and your community keep you oriented to something bigger than just yourself.
How Do You Know You Are in balance?
Even with all of the efforts in the struggle to find balance, ask: Are you enjoying the ride?
When you find that sweet spot of balance, you feel a surge of primordial energy. Your consciousness expands. Your entire being feels lit up and you feel buoyant. Your mind is clear, focused, and present. Your body is enlivened with the free flow of prana.
May you radiate with balanced energy as you live a full and meaningful life.
~ Michael Fukumura, prAna Ambassador, waterman, yogi & E-RYT500
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