Balance of the Truest Sort

I opened to this page in my journal today, just after writing a card to my mother in law:  “Tiredness is not an excuse.  How can I be balanced when not sleeping?  Exhausted?  Find out.  Let the bottom fall out.  Balance of the truest sort transcends fatigue.  True balance exists regardless of external circumstances.”  I’d written those words for myself a few months ago and here I am again needing the reminder about the importance of finding balance not dependent on external circumstances.  Ironically, the card I’d just finished writing in said this:  Peace:  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. 

All of this a lesson I deeply need today.  On holiday after a grueling series of flights on a day when Rowan refused to nap, I have been downing vitamin C like a drug addict and coughing up a lung – feeling like the proverbial dog on a leash that can’t set herself free.  In spite of a self-identified practice of not pining after anything other than what just IS, I find myself groping along after the usual ‘quiet, sleep, rest, time for self, exercise, a hair cut…’ – the familiar ongoing litany of wants and needs churning below the surface as I chase Rowan at his grandmother’s house, trying to maintain some semblance of control amidst the cookies and cacophony of motorized toys.  I struggle with wanting so many things other than how they are.  A short sampling of a long list:  Why won’t Rowan eat vegetables today?  Why does he like tractors more than trees?  Why doesn’t he respond when I call his name?  Why does he have to smack me when I am hugging him?  Why does he still not sleep through the night when he is almost two? Why does it have to be so hard? (you get the picture).  What a humorous trap I can be lured into – the patterning that pines after something else.  Never has it been more apparent than now as I make my life’s work rooted in the care of Rowan.

At a certain point is becomes clearer and clearer to me that I am working too hard to control situations that are ultimately beyond my control.  I’m trying too hard to shape results in the direction of my preferences.  Most importantly, I’m efforting so much that it eclipses the quiet, abiding resting in any given moment that is always available to me:  that peace not dependent on external circumstances, the balance that transcends fatigue. (The revelation hits me as I loose a chunk of my hair prying it from the hook above the car door while wrestling with the car seat buckle, muttering profanities at the absurdity of the moment).

To leave behind the over-efforting in favor of a quiet abiding doesn’t mean that I don’t still maintain a strong center of gravity that directs and guides my toddler regarding right action.  It also doesn’t mean that I become lazy or laissez-faire.  It means that I hold my seat from a place of relaxation.  It means that rather than breaking connection and intimacy with my son because of vast frustration stemming from endless churning efforts  and attachment to the storyline of exhaustion and a restless sort of ‘staying in control,’ I instead do absolutely nothing. 

What on earth does that mean, you might be asking?  NOTHING?  How on earth can you parent and do nothing?  By resting in the arising of each moment, abiding in Reality as it simply is – with no seeking, grasping, pining, yearning;  With no adding of anything on top of pure and simple existence.  Moving from this place there is no need for mental anxiety, for worry, for angst, for questioning this and that…or for shouting profanities when your hair gets tangled in the car hook.  There is simple response to any given moment with peace and balance.  Peace and Balance.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Adi Da says it well:  “Every motive is seeking.  Every turning away is avoidance.  Every turning towards is avoidance.  All these things are seeking, for they are not abiding now in the Form of Reality.  Thus, to turn at all is to act.  And every turning will awaken the reaction of turning the opposite way in time.  The Truth is radical non-avoidance moment to moment.  It is to live this moment without conflict, directly.  Where there is understanding there is no turning, and every action turns no way at all, for there is only radical consciousness behind it, turning no way, knowing only great Bliss.” 

4 thoughts on “Balance of the Truest Sort

  1. Leigh

    I love the photo!

    And, I actually sleep in until almost 7 am. This after 2+ years of exactly what you describe. It is lovely to sleep, but it doesn’t really make it easier. Conflict is conflict. Contraction is contraction. Awareness of unlove never ends. Toddlers and preschoolers bring their own brand of challenges. Then (so I hear) there is something of a break in the school years before teenage-dom.

    Children just put our patterns of unlove square in our face. Without end.

    I am a single mom right now, my husband having moved to Portland already to begin his new job. In the end, it will be about 4 weeks between visits before I have his support again. It is crazy making, but also so simple. There is nothing but surrender. I don’t think I could maintain this as a lifestyle- I have no time to do the work I love- but it is surprisingly relieving. In this moment, I just don’t have a choice. I don’t have an ‘if only’.

    I notice the simplicity of it- doing the chores, the child loving. There is so much less complaint than when my husband is around and I think it SHOULD be easier. I don’t know if it is because I have him to complain to, or if I think my share of chores is unbalanced to his or whatever. But, I notice the relief in this surrender and I want to carry it forward.

    In this moment, anyway. 7 am will bring something new.

    “Relax! Nothing is under control!” Adi Da


  2. Leigh

    Another thought- after my mom died I got really depressed for a while and it led to some tension in my marriage. We went to a wonderful counselor for help and I totally thought she was going to tell my husband he was being unreasonable. Look at me! Wasn’t my heart so broken! I had every right to be lost. My mother!

    But, instead of looking at him, she looked at me and said ‘Grief isn’t an excuse.’

    I was so mad. My mother! She birthed me, was my first love, my home. Gone forever through the dark door. Ever. Ever. Ever.

    Took me months to digest her words. Luckily, I trusted her, so I knew they had come kernel of truth.

    There is no excuse. Only love.

  3. Oh, Deb! It is so hard! The air travel with the toddler who won’t nap, I can relate so clearly, and painfully, to that experience. And visiting relatives, chasing the little one around amidst toys that assault everyone’s nervous systems… and in the background of it all, the ever-present exhaustion, and wondering, will this little person EVER sleep through the night?!? The image of you swearing as your hair is tangled made me chuckle, I must admit. So real and so human. Which we all are, of course. Though I think of you, sometimes, as being above such basic frustration — you’re always so mindful, and so consciously working with yourself and your response(s) to what’s happening in your life. Blessings, my friend! Good luck finding your balance during your vacation. xo

  4. Heather Dunnavant

    Deb I hope your landing back at home has brought some much needed rest from your vacation. Ha Ha. I didn’t use to be like that. Vacations meant a break from school work and play and travel. Now vacations are preparations, trying to keep some normalcy in the little one’s lives and still never getting enough sleep. Then getting home is readjusting and back to work. Hope to connect soon.

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