Balance in Motion, Balance at Rest

October 17, 2022


We often think of balance as a scale, but I have always preferred to think of balance like a bike. A scale is one dimensional, while a bike is dynamic. To balance on a bike requires a constant response to what is happening in real time. You never arrive at balance, but instead balance is the forward momentum. As someone who likes to be in motion and achieving, this understanding of balance has suited me.

However, over the last year I have been thrust into a season of inertia. This season of stillness isn’t something I chose; It wasn’t part of my plan. Life happened. There have been unexpected medical diagnosis, intense parenting seasons, and a myriad of other internal and external circumstances that took my very fast paced life and stopped it in its tracks. I’ve felt like a bike gathering dust and cobwebs in the back of the shed over the last year, and what I’ve learned is that stillness and rest are not the same thing. 

Like a dusty bike in the back of the shed wishing it was out on the trails, my physical world was still, but my inner world was chaotic. I knew how to have balance in motion, but I had no idea how to have balance at rest. Frantic stillness is not only exhausting, but it can destroy you from the inside out. Because we live in a culture that values our productivity more then anything else, it is very difficult to learn to value rest. We think rest is being still long enough to recover so we can go be productive again. We see rest as merely a pitstop to catch our breath in our fast-paced world.

Balance at rest, encompasses mindfulness, the slowing of racing thoughts and intentional deep breaths, but it is so much more. Balance at rest is radical creativity. It’s having the space to dream and imagine new ways. It’s where the alchemy of time can transform ideas into magic. Balance at rest isn’t sucking in air and chugging water halfway up the mountain. Balance at rest is hanging a hammock between two trees and taking a nap. It’s picking wildflowers, and dangling feet in the icy cold current of the river. Balance at rest is being so bored you have no choice but to think new, creative thoughts.

Everywhere we look we can see that change is needed in our world, but we won’t find the new and creative solutions unless we stop and embrace deep rest. Eventually new ideas will bubble up that require us to be in motion, and when that happens, we can dust off the bicycle and begin moving once again. The trick is to find the balance between motion and rest. They are two-sides of the same coin. 

Balance in motion. Balance at rest. And balance between the two.

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