Wednesday, May 4, 2011

On Tendencies and Balance

This week's Sunday Level 2 practice was a deep hip opener class with emphasis on placing boundaries in order to experience greater freedom. A wonderful theme and sequence borrowed heavily from the John Friend DVD: Growing a Lotus. I'm finding that this theme of Boundary and Freedom has the capacity to really stir students up, especially if they're in a somewhat conflicted space already. And it can stir from either end.. either it challenges the student to build more boundaries, or it challenges the student to release boundaries and explore greater freedom. Both are scary, on the mat or off. And just to be clear here, it stirs me up too, it's not like because I'm the teacher I'm immune. No quite the opposite, I teach it perhaps because I'm struggling to get a grip on it somewhere in my own life.

So that idea of boundary/freedom reminded me and a friend about John's theming in PA (Nov 2010) on setting clear boundaries to enjoy freedoms in life. What he said that stuck out was: "sometimes you say No to say Yes" As in, Yes, I will be in a relationship with you, but NO you can't treat me that way if you want me to stay. Yes I will take this job, but NO i will not work more than 40 hours without compensation. You see how it goes. And we do this to become more skillful at living our lives and living from our hearts very clearly and directly.

Now if you're not much of a boundary setter, or you're an over-boundary setter, (and you'll probably find yourself on one of these spectrums) it can feel challenging to start to move towards healthy Yes and No Saying, healthy boundaries and freedoms. When we try to change our habitual behaviors it feels pretty icky! And that's why we often start trying something new and easily give it up OR we don't even try at all.

So thinking about this reminded me of John speaking on finding balance. He said, that to balance oneself you actually have to move into the areas you are not quite so comfortable in. And the reason to do this is because Balance equals Health. An unbalanced system is unhealthy and more susceptible to breakdown. It's like always brushing your teeth with the same hand, if you switched hands daily, you'd have a greater balance between sides. It feels weird to brush with the non-dominant hand, but it is leading to greater balance, not to mention stimulating the brain. Same as sitting with the opposite leg in front when crosslegged, or crossing the opposite fingers over top when hands are clasped. It feels weird, but brings balance. These are small examples but imagine if you only did lunges on one side when you practice Surya Namaskar, your body would be so completely out of balance you would become injury prone and probably pretty cranky very very quickly.

And so it is worth it to go out there and try some new ways of behavior that are leading towards a deeper alignment with your heart. Initially it may feel actually quite crazappy. But over time you're building a new skill that will hopefully help you to come into a greater place of balance... with yourself, your partner, and anyone else you're in relationship with. It may not be easy, actually, it WON'T be easy and it WON'T be a linear path. But it's all in the service of moving towards the true you living loud and clear.. I think it's worth the struggle personally.

Contemplation: What is my relationship to the themes of Boundary, Freedom, and Balance?

Edited a little later: This fabulous article is another way of talking about it all.

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