We are all made up of separate parts, our inner selves a gallery of different sides our personalities call upon. Some differences are more distinct than others, and finding a balance between these separate parts is something I’ve always struggled with. Constantly feeling on one end of the spectrum or the other, in everything I did, I felt the need to find a way to exist in the in between. I thought “balance” meant living in the middle ground, never wavering to the opposite extremes.
As you can guess, that tactic wasn’t working, because that’s not how balance works, at least, not for me.
Trying to catch myself when I would lean toward one extreme and pull myself back toward the middle was only throwing me more off balance. I would beat myself up over the smallest things and my decisions would come from a place of stress and anxiety. I either cared an unhealthy amount or became completely apathetic. My grasping attempts made me feel and act a bit like a crazy person.
And most importantly, it was limiting my potential. This sort of balance I was seeking stemmed from a need to define – to identify as one thing or the other. I was trapping myself into a box.
One of the gifts I’ve been given on this backpacking adventure is the following lesson:
There is room for both.
You are allowed to enjoy both planning and spontaneity.
You are allowed to crave both adventure and consistency.
You are allowed to have a gentle spirit that flares up now and again (and vice versa).
You are allowed to be a control freak who hates making decisions (Yes, I realize how contradictory that sounds, welcome to the inside of my head).
We are all made up of many parts and they are all valid. We can’t force them to submit to pre-conceived notions of “balance.” It is important that both sides are acknowledged, accepted, and honored.
Pay attention to where your spirit wants to go. Don’t fight the back and forth; allow it to become a sinuous flow rather than a jerky whiplash-inducing u-turn. Write down all of the dualities that live within you and track them. Track them with the seasons, with the moon cycle, your menstrual cycle, etc. See if there’s a pattern, there may be, there may not! Either way, we can’t honor all the parts of ourselves until we get to know them intimately.
And don’t judge them. They are a part of you and deserve to be loved as such. Once I started working with mine instead of against them I slowly found myself creating that long-sought balance. As you get to know yours you may find the same! Over time you may become better capable of recognizing and calling upon which aspect would better serve you in the moment, or allow what naturally wants to come out to serve you in ways your conscious mind hadn’t thought of.
“We need to rediscover contradiction as a creative force within the soul.” – John O’Donohue
The whole process may feel a bit chaotic. But I think that sometimes allowing chaos to reign (whilst maintaining a sense of awareness) is the most direct path to an achievable sense of peace.