Copyright (c) 2010 Karin Marcus

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 conversation.

Karin Marcus, Professional Certified Life Coach / Retreat Leader
“Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do” Rumi 610-667-5247
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