When I saw my niece perform the balance beam act at a gymnastics meet, I was astounded at her ability to sustain her inner poise. For the gymnasts, it takes great agility to remain calm and steady on a beam that is only four inches wide. As my niece was placing one foot in front of the other, I thought: “Isn’t life like a balance beam act?”
When you are centered and in-sync with yourself, you have the capability to make decisions from a place of inner power and stability. Like a gymnast walking the balance beam, it takes a conscious effort to remain within this empowered state of mind. But the more you practice getting in touch with the core of your being, the easier it becomes to tap into this essence and realize the benefits with greater consistency.
Living in a World of Duality
Duality is an instance of opposition or contrast between two aspects of something. As hinted by the word “dual” within the word itself, duality refers to having two parts, often with opposite meanings, like the duality of good and evil, peace and war, up and down. There are tangible dualities that run throughout all elements of our lives. From physical sensations (hot vs. cold), emotional states (happy vs. sad) to personality traits (ambitious vs. ambivalent). To demonstrate the importance of balancing our dualistic natures, let’s compare the Type A and Type B personality types.
Type A and Type B Personalities
- Type A people are known to be high-achievers, competitive, status-conscious, and proactive. Taken to the extreme, the Type A personality may display free-floating hostility, a hair-trigger temper, or high stress due to competitive drive.
- Type B people are known to be less pushy, reflective thinkers, even tempered, and creative. Taken to the extreme, the Type B personality may become too lackadaisical, carefree, or indecisive.
Three Hikers and a Mountain
Three hikers were getting ready to hike a beautiful mountain in Washington State. The skies were clear and the temperature was perfect. One of the hikers, Type A, was determined to reach the top of the mountain in one hour. Another hiker, Type B, wasn’t concerned about reaching the top; she just wanted to enjoy the journey. Balance, the third hiker, had a plan. She would arrive at the peak within three hours, leaving ample time to enjoy the experience.
Type A achieved her goal in one hour. She hiked briskly with her eyes glued to the ground, intent on the placement of her feet. The wild roses that were blooming in full grandeur escaped her attention. A majestic bald eagle released a high-pitch cry while flying above her head. Type A continued with steadfast conviction, never looking to the sky.
Type B reached the top in five hours. She enjoyed seeing the delicate flowers, gazing at the bald eagle, and listening to the soothing streams. But she was carefree with her time. It was starting to get dark; she placed herself in a dangerous situation of not reaching the bottom before dusk encroached upon her.
Balance reached the top in three hours. She enjoyed the journey while maintaining awareness of the bigger picture. She left enough time for the return hike while appreciating the gifts around her. This idea of being mindful of the entire experience is a perfect example of balance. Respecting the value of life while reaching your ambitious goals gives you the best of both worlds.
Authored by Susan Kapatoes, founder of Inspire Your Journey