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Mindfulness: A Change Toward Balance

The end of a year always brings contemplation. I curl up with my cup of tea and feel the warmth of the wood stove while I entertain thoughts of where the New Year will take me. I had made the decision that my new year's resolution would be to attain a sense of balance. Before I contemplated this change I needed to sit with and fully understand what balance meant to me.

I used to view balance as a just-out-of-reach concept that I worked hard to attain. My head would ache while I tried to arrange my life in a balanced way. I needed more alone time, more time with my kids, more time to exercise, etc. During my journey I was given many insights on what balance was and was not. My teachers came in the form of interactions, examples, and reading material. I realized that balance could not be achieved until I sat down and assessed how really in or out of balance I was. My "aha" moment was the discovery of mindfulness.

To me, mindfulness was an entirely foreign word. I believe there was a moment or two in the past when I had experienced it but I'd never been able to put a word to the wonder of the experience. Now mindfulness, to me, means being completely present in the moment. I'm sure we've all had those times of confusion as we head down the road in our cars on a familiar path to soon "wake up" and realize that we weren't going to the familiar place to begin with. Much time and resources have been lost by our lack of mindfulness.

I have to admit that the first time I actually sat down with the intention of being mindful, I was surprised by what I found. My shoulders ached, my legs needed a rub, my solar plexus was closed tight and my mind wanted to run with both thoughts of the past and of the future. I also sensed deep inside of me a quiet well of energy that exuded balance. As I continued acknowledging moments of mindfulness, I became aware that this well of balance was always present. I knew then that successful outward balance would be achieved by building on the presence of this inner balance.

I started consciously practicing mindfulness throughout the day. When I caught my mind dwelling on the past or the future I would gently bring it back to the reality of the present. The well of balance continued to expand with acknowledgement. I discovered that letting go of my unwavering definition of balance created room for a flowing, dynamic definition. Balance was like a swinging pendulum, not out-of-reach as I once believed.

My change toward balance has been the most refreshing and freeing feeling I have encountered for some time. My resolution is to continue striving for a stronger sense of balance through mindfulness. This, I believe, is one of the most healthy and attainable resolutions of all.

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