Sunday, September 23, 2012

Asymmetrical balance

I've been thinking a lot about balance lately, and with Mabon here, it seemed like a good time to talk about it.  I have a strange relationship with my brain (no laughing!), and sometimes I come to some off the wall compromises trying to get my right and left brains working in the same direction.  I have a very strong analytical side that likes things neatly ordered and likes every little aspect explained.  But I am also blessed with a creative side that just likes playing with color and sound and movement.

For a long time, I struggled with wanting everything in neat little patterns.  I wanted to devote equal time to honoring the God and the Goddess.  I wanted my rituals to follow the same structure and rhythm.  If I found a neat ritual or exercise for one of the elements, I wanted to do something similar for the others.

And it absolutely wasn't working for me.  Things don't just always fall into neat equalities.  I am not equally drawn to the feminine and masculine, and I don't devote myself equally to the deities I worship.  I am not always balanced in the elements or my approach to them.  And trying to make everything perfect was making things worse.

I should have thought back to my art lessons.  Although I guess it doesn't surprise me that I didn't because I struggled with asymmetrical symmetry in art too.  I was fine with creating balanced compositions as long as I didn't think too much about it, but once I started trying to make things balanced but not symmetrical, I would end up with really boring pieces that just kind of fell flat.

What I've learned in my practice (though it is still a work in progress to apply it to all aspects of my life) is that balance does not mean equal.  I like to think of the things in my life having different weight.  If you were to imagine it as items on the scale, not everything is made of the same substance.  Some things weigh more or take forms that occupy less space.  If you were to just look at two items, you may think you know which one is more weighty, but sometimes looks can be deceiving.  It is only when you put them on the scale and see how they actually balance that you can see which one you need to add more too.

To make it more difficult, the scale of our life isn't on a flat and stable surface.  We are always changing, always moving and sometimes quite tilted ourselves.  Now you have to put that scale on a mound of sand.  Sometimes it will be at the top of a pile, and the balance will have to be exact to keep the whole thing from sliding down one side or the other.  Sometimes it will be at the bottom of a hole, and you can fiddle with it to your hearts content and it won't budge.  And sometimes it is sitting on the side of a steep slope, and because of the tilted base, you will have to make the two sides of the scale different to end up with something balanced.

I am lucky in that my life is pretty much my own, my days are mine to fill as I please.  I have a kind of obsessive personality, so it is very easy for me to be consumed by things.  I have to work to keep balance in my life or I will wake up and realize that for the past week I have done nothing but "insert current obsession here".  Sometimes I need to immerse myself like this, but most of the times it just wears me out.

I have also learned that intensity really plays a part into this.  The more intensely I engage in an activity, the quicker it builds up in me.  Being mindful and fully immersed in my activities gives me a level of control over my life that just isn't there if I kind of muddle through and just let my body do things.  I also sometimes have to make the decision that I don't care what other people think and just do what I feel I need to do.  If I let myself be concerned with my image, I let things slide that aren't good for my Self.


  1. I believe as an artist myself asymmetry has a power to itself. . .the energy it gives off when it is out of place. It almost gives a psychic resonance to our structured lives. We are really programmed as western culture and their is a "right " and "wrong " sometimes that abstract thought has power to itself.

  2. I believe Life is like collage work. Somethings are of more interest naturally to me than others. I think there is a reason for that. We are made for different purposes, all of us.