The autumn equinox is a sacred time of the year when all of us have a chance to pause and reflect about the concept of balance and how it plays out in our lives. As the day and night briefly stand in equal relationship to one another, we are invited to explore that same relationship we have with our own body, mind and spirit. It's a time to reflect on what needs to shift for us to find equanimity in that trinity.
Recently, we held a meeting with our Lumeria graduates and reflected on the equinox and what it can teach us.
[Jeff]: At Plenty we like to celebrate the cycles and transitions of the year that have been acknowledged for many centuries in cultures around the globe. In particular, we lead virtual and in-person ceremonies on the winter and summer solstices, the shortest and longest days of the year. The solstices are times to reflect on the relationship of dark and night in our world and in our lives.
The spring and fall equinoxes are just as meaningful and have been celebrated for just as long. The equinox is the moment when day and night are equal. Further, it stands apart from the solstice in that wherever you live on the globe, we all experience the equinox as a day of equal day and night. This isn't the case with the solstice, in that the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere is the shortest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. So the equinox echoes themes that are really pressing in our society today: themes of equanimity, equality and balance.
[Jennifer]: I'm Libra and my sign's symbol is literally the scales. The theme of Libra is balance, and for a long time I've explored what that means to me. How do I keep all the plates spinning in harmony and at once? In one way, that's how I've looked at it. This is what culture has modeled to me. I felt as if the more skills I have, and the more proficient I am at multi-tasking, then the more successful I will be. I've acted like I need to give equal attention to everything on my plate in order to create balance.
As I get older, I've become more curious about a different way of looking at balance. Is balance even possible? I've come to believe that balance is bullshit. In the micro, in the day-to-day activities, balancing all the spinning plates is just not realistic, nor is it helpful.
I've come to realize that one of the most imperative skills and practices of our modern age is presence — offering our full attention to the moment, to the conversation we are in, to the project we are working on, to the client we are serving, to the one-task at hand. Being present, being HERE now— not multitasking, not thinking about another project, not doing an email while you are on the phone — but the practice and discipline to pull yourself back when you find yourself wandering or being interrupted, is one of the most powerful and important skills of our times.
Distractions and interruptions are the norm of every day life. They happen all the time. The practice of being present is a choice — a choice to be really here, to offer full attention and intention to another. It is also the greatest gift and "present" we can give our selves and others.
When I'm here with work, I'm not being mom in the moment, although that role never rests, my focus is on Plenty. When I am home, I do my best to be there — with my family. I can see the price that I pay, that my children pay, that Plenty pays, that our clients pay, if I'm not fully present with the one task at hand. Trying to keep the plates spinning equally and at the same time feels like a giant joke and an impossible aim.
If we can be fully present in the moment with each subject that shows up, we create balance at the macro level, in the bigger picture. We do not create it in the micro moments.
We are literally going through "untraining" to unwind the idea the multitasking is valuable. Yes, we have to wear multiple hats and our culture is continuing to demand that we become more multidimensional as we evolve as a human species. Agility, the ability to quickly adapt and respond to changing situations and circumstances, is now one of the most precious talents for people to learn. If we can commit to practice presence with each one project, one task, one conversation at a time, we will deepen our listening, we will deepen our offering, and we will deepen the quality of connection to ourselves and others. This is the type of balance that the equinox ushers in.
[Jeff]: As usual, Nature is giving us a clue in this regard. Nature is showing us the way. The equinox — the day of balance — doesn't last for a month. It doesn't last for three months. It lasts for a single day. And then the balance passes. In the same way, we're being shown that the pursuit of balance is not nearly as important as tuning to and flowing with the natural cycles around us. These cycles find us at a global level, but also play out in our relationships, in our work, in our feelings, and in our interests. We don't have to be great at everything. We can't be. The idea that we can spin a variety of plates at once is another ridiculous construct of our human life. But it is not our natural life.
Nature shows us that balance is a transition point. It's a tool. It's a pathway to something else. It's not the goal. If balance serves you, then wonderful. But if balance doesn't serve you, whether because you're immersed in something that's really fulfilling or because you're stuck in something that isn't, you don't need feel like you have to criticize yourself. Nature doesn't complain about the leaves falling in the fall. Autumn is a pathway to something else.
The signs are all around. We can allow the leaves to fall, the plates to fall, and the learnings to nest as we enter a new season of growth. May it be a season for practicing presence and discovering what balance means to you!
To learn more about how you can come into balance and right relationship with your body, mind and spirit, join us at Lumeria in 2019.