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Balance: Taking a Cue (or two) from Nature


 I was contemplating balance recently,  what it means and how it shows up in life.  Wondering why balance can be so elusive at times. I was flooded with images, metaphors and ways of looking at balance offered by nature. 

I thought of a tree: it starts with shoots and roots sprouting from a seed, reaching down first, into the ground. Once secure in the earth, tree grows and lengthens out of the soil. Eventually branches sprout and tree lengthens away from the earth, out and up to the sky.

Root and then rise. Yessssss.

Same holds true in yoga with Vrksasana – tree pose. We start with the feet and legs and once stable, arms extend overhead.

There’s an inward/outward and dark/light aspect to a tree’s evolution as well. First the roots reach into the earth, mostly hidden from the naked eye. From there the tree extends out of darkness towards the light and up to the sun, needing both dark and light. I’m awed when I think about the potential held within an acorn.

In tree pose we also start from within: with our intention, engagement of core stabilizer muscles, our breath and our gaze on the floor in front of us to anchor our attention. From there we open up into full tree pose, arms long and wide like branches of a tree.

I was reminded recently about the inward/outward aspects of the seasons: another reminder of how balance shows up in nature. Springtime, with life bursting forth out of the earth and darkness into the light and warmth of the sun. A waking up of nature and activity that takes us into summertime. Full-blown activity, socializing, you-name-it here in Maine. Just get me outside! Activity and outward focus is very yang, or masculine, energy.

And now this season we find ourselves in, beautiful autumn with vibrant colors, gusting winds and a gradual drawing inward. Roots start to draw up into plants, shrubs and trees, drawing further inward until winter is upon us with a slowing down of nature and sometimes a dying. The slowing down and drawing in, a very yin, or feminine, energy.

Root then rise
Inward and outward
Dark and light
Active and quiet
Yin and yang
Masculine and feminine

All beautiful, life-affirming contradictions with their own rhythms and cycles, no one more important or better than another. And yet, when one aspect is stronger or more active than another, havoc can follow.

It takes awareness of what’s at play in our lives, doesn’t it? Activity or quiet? Giving or receiving? Awareness of what we need to feel secure, connected within and ready to open up and out.

Balance. How’s it showing up in your life these days? 


As autumn progresses and we witness nature slowing down, drawing in, and preparing for winter, this idea of matching the rhythm of nature may appeal to you.

You may resonate with the idea of turning inward and reflecting on your spring and summer, looking ahead to winter and a new year.

If so, I invite you to join me for a Winter Solstice Celebration in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains of California. The weekend will offer a balance of quiet and movement, reflection and engagement with others, ceremony and ritual, releasing and celebrating. I’d love to share this with you.






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Winter Solstice blessings and ritual
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