A Beautiful Balancing Act

“To find the balance you want, this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it’s like you have four legs instead of two. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. That way, you will know God.”

There’s a scene at the end of the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” that has always stuck in the back of my heart.  It’s as if I stashed it there, knowing one day I would come back to it and feel the power of it through my own eyes.  After going through a messy divorce and struggling to find herself, Elizabeth Gilbert travels to Bali where she learns to maintain her balance.  Life is a juggling act and sometimes when we’re too dependent or folded into our own minds, we forget to balance our hearts with the heart of God.  Once Gilbert finally realizes her own dreams and independence, she falls in love.  Felipe, her love interest, wants to whisk her away on a boat ride to a beautiful island, but she finds herself refusing.  She loves this man, so why couldn’t she go?

“I found something and I can’t give it up,” she says. 

In the past two years of my life, I’ve found something so special that to ever think of giving it away sends tears down my cheeks.  I cannot and will not give away what I found, it’s too beautiful, too unique.  I found my independence, my ability to stand alone.  I found myself – all those shattered pieces of me have found each other and formed a beautiful mosaic.  Each piece reflects a small part of me – who I am, what I stand for, what I love and how I love.  They are all there and as broken as they may be, they comprise a comprehensive image of my soul. 

As painful as the steps have been, I’m grateful for my walk alone.  I am grateful for every tear, every sweeping emotion, every fight and every mountain I’ve learned to climb.  Without the pain of the past, I wouldn’t be able to visualize the beauty or brightness of my future.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not scared… scared to miss a step on this crazy, ever-changing balance beam and fall below into the darkness.  I love this gift I’ve been given and the balance I’ve learned to maintain.  The beauty of this gift is that it’s mine and meant to be cherished only by me.  I am solely responsible for keeping my own balance in life and remembering just how beautiful I’ve become.

This past weekend I did something I never thought I would do: I went ziplining.  I was terrified, clinging to a tree on the platform like a child to its mother, but then something in me snapped and changed.  It was this release, this sense of peace.  For over two years, I have been seeking peace – peace of mind, peace of heart and peace with God.  This weekend, I realized, my peace was there all along, it was just waiting on me to find it.  And I did.  Shaking, I stepped off the platform.  The whiz of the line was close to my ear and I was screaming, only I didn’t hear a thing.  I heard silence.  I heard peace.  I heard God.  It was the most beautiful, serene moment I can ever remember experiencing.  The futile worries and deafening fear all just slipped away and finally, in that moment above the beautiful ground, I let go.  I let the past flow from my fingers back into the earth and I felt alive.  I finally found my balance.

As Felipe reminded Gilbert, “Balance is not letting anyone love you less than you love yourself.”  Maybe in life we will always look before we leap and maybe we’ll always be waiting for that person to catch us, but in these past two years of my life, I’ve learned to live without the safety net and just trust in myself.  No matter what the future holds, or who’s in my life, that balance will always be there because I know never to offer a piece of me to someone who loves me less than I love myself.  I know to forget what those around me say and trust in the rhythm of my heart.  That rhythm will never take me out of step or allow me to fall off balance.

As Gilbert closes her last chapter, she writes, “I think about the woman I have become lately, about the life that I am now living and about how much I always wanted to be this person and live this life, liberated from the farce of pretending to be anyone other than myself.  I think of everything I endured before getting here and wonder if it was me…who pulled the other, younger, more confused and more struggling me forward during all those hard years.  The younger me was the acorn full of potential, but it was the older me, the already-existent oak, who was saying the whole time: “Yes – grow!  Change! Evolve! Come and meet me here, where I already exist in wholeness and maturity!  I need you to grow into me!”

And maybe this is my story, too.  Maybe the me now as I sit here and type away was the me awaiting that girl two years ago as she cried on the bathroom floor of her apartment.  As she fought a battle of questions: “Should I leave, or should I stay?”  As she packed her things and sobbed back to her childhood home.  As she questioned herself the entire way, wishing she could have stayed.  As she left, broken, scared and tired.  Maybe I was waiting for her all along to tell her it was all going to be OK in the end, to show her the path she had to take in the darkness to find a new light.  Maybe I am her balance.

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