“To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
Sometimes we give up one kind of balance for another. Our work lives take over our personal life, new families take over old exercise routines, and sometimes our love life can take over all of it. Losing our balance over love can be fun. Actually that in love, out of control craziness of deep connection can be like a drug, blurring our vision so that the world has a rosy hue and commitments to any thing other than our beloved are hard to keep.
Losing our balance when love disappoints us can be just as confusing. Relationship endings rank as the number one stressor in life for over 60% of a large national survey and for good reason. It isn’t just a partnership that ends. For many people, basic identity and beliefs about family and promises are also shattered. Losing love blurs our vision of ourselves and what the world can be. Keeping up with other commitments during this painful life re-construction can make love feel like a disease.
Sustaining a loving relationship requires remarkable balance. Because no one is easy to love all of the time, thriving relationships not only demand healthy boundaries which respect each partners individual needs but also the ability to hold what is lovable alongside what is most difficult about each person. Striking this realistic balance in love is daily work and can swing between that rosy in love feeling and darkness descending.
This pendulum swing in relationships can be clocked sometimes in as brief a period as minutes. Not uncommonly I barely remember how good I was feeling about my mate or marriage, just days late. Developing the skill to step back and watch your own feelings change is a useful tool to finding balance. On a good day, the witnessing can create enough space to not react immediately and give you the time to find the center again, where you are holding the lovable and difficult side by side.
Lately I have been studying Pilates and doing the physical work of finding balance. Building my core pelvic muscles in this way has deeply changed not just how I live in my body, but also my life. Better even than the end of lifelong back pain, is the emotional stability that has come with a new found strength in my physical center. Working on the body and getting out of the mind is a direct and visceral route to feeling balance.
Living in your center also provides an entirely new and way more exciting access to experiencing an entirely new balance in physical intimacy. Orgasm is the single act that simultaneously releases tension and restores fullness to the mind, body and spirit, creating moments of perfect balance. Finding and maintaining balance in relationship to ourselves and others is worth all the effort it requires. Sometimes it’s just a willingness to surrender to the imbalance that sets things right.