“The only way we can know balance is by knowing imbalance.”
I heard that quote in a yoga class this weekend, and it got me thinking (luckily after the class was over – mostly). When I was a child, I was complaining about winter, and a friend of mine reminded me that winter makes spring all the more beautiful. Thus, from a fairly young age, I have known that we can really ever know something fully by embracing its opposite. This concept works energetically too, of course. Fear and excitement are really the same energy; it is our mind that places a different meaning on them, or it, really.
Finally, law is certainly no different. The best lawyers know their opponents’ arguments better than their opponents know them. It is the only way to be sure to be able to counter them. I did not listen to the entire Supreme Court argument on the Affordable Care Act, but I think I heard that either Justice Kennedy or Justice Scalia said to Paul Clement, “this is not a surprise question, I hope.” Of course, I could be totally wrong, but the sentiment is there. Paul Clement, the highest-ranking legal advocate in the country, is expected to be prepared when he faces those nine justices. And part of being prepared is knowing how other people are going to attack your argument.
I say this to point out that these thoughts and understandings about knowing opposites have permeated my life, my yoga journey, and the legal practice. Yet I had never put any thought into imbalance and its keys to understanding balance. What an opportunity for lawyers and any modern people. I would be willing to bet we are, as a society, at our least balanced in history, and I was not even thinking of the political realm when I wrote that. I was thinking about all of the various aspects of our lives pulling us in so many directions at once. We talk about work-life balance as if learning to balance between the two is going to make it all better, forgetting that we have to learn to balance within each of them as well.
But as of April 1, 2012, April Fool’s Day, imbalance took on a new meaning for me, an opportunity really. Prior to this, my favorite quote about balance came from another yoga class, one with Frank Jude Boccio, who teaches Mindfulness Yoga. He said to the class as we stood in Tree Pose, “There is no such thing as balance, only balancing.” What a beautiful ability to let go of the struggle to find perfect balance. I embraced it and ran.
But it still focuses on balance from balance’s point of view. To truly know and understand what we mean by balance, whether we seek perfect balance (perhaps unattainable) or a sense of balancing, we can only fully understand and acknowledge it by understanding imbalance.
A new month is upon us. A new week is upon us. I do not know about you, but my week is going to be very, very busy through Wednesday, and then I am going out of town for the holiday. Instead of dreading the first three days of the week and their unbalancing effects, I am going to embrace them. To truly understand balance, we must understand imbalance.
I have been noticing the Earth understanding this concept all weekend. It has, once again, been incredibly windy here in Tucson. Of course, the Spring Equinox was only last week. For the briefest of moments, the Earth was in perfect balance, and this happens twice a year. Not surprisingly, these are the two times per year when the wind is at its most extreme – Autumn (Fall for us Americans) and Spring.
What if we learned to do the same? What if we learned how to find balance internally by witnessing and feeling the imbalance all around us? Are you ready to embrace the imbalance?
© Rebecca Stahl 2012, all rights reserved.