thoughts on balancing



I have long been fascinated by Philippe Petit. He’s the guy who, in the summer of 1974, managed to illegally attach a steel cable high between the Twin Towers of the not-quite-finished World Trade Center, and then stunned people on the street a quarter of a mile below by walking, reclining, running, and dancing on that swaying, sagging, terrifying wire for 45 minutes. Wow. I had recently graduated from high school, and I was appalled by the terrible, shocking risk he took, but thrilled by his outrageous daring confidence and his perfect utter balance. Not to mention the beauty of that elaborate dance on the wire. I could not imagine having any of that. Ever. Still can’t. This is fine.

Mr. Petit considers himself an artist, not an athlete, and he called his Twin Towers adventure “the artistic crime of the century.”

When I met Donna Eden for the first time in 2005, I was sick from a not-yet-resolved concussion, and distraught over the loss of a cherished friend and mentor who had died earlier that very day. I was disappointed in myself and embarrassed that I couldn’t arrive in a more healthy and balanced state to meet this amazing healer whose Energy Medicine book I had already read several times. I participated in spite of myself, and shortly thereafter signed up for Donna’s certification program, going with the hope that if she said I could learn this work, then maybe I really could. No matter how wobbly I felt. So there.

Philippe Petit didn’t start out with an innate knack for staying safe and steady on a high wire. What he began with was an innocent delight in magic and a burning love of beauty. He got thrown out of five schools when he was a teen in France, because he was busy being his own teacher, learning what he needed to learn. When he taught himself to walk a wire, he didn’t stick with safe conditions. In training for his more daring walks, he got friends to surprise him on his practice wire – yank on it, rock it back and forth, do anything they could to knock him off his balance so he might find his equilibrium at a stronger level.

Donna Eden didn’t become a world-renowned healer by inheriting a body with easy health, or by living a life of perfect harmony (thank goodness). She started with a beautiful glittering joy and a deep loving empathy, but wellness was a struggle. Donna learned how to heal because she herself needed it. Seriously ill when she began, she grew her resilience, teaching her own energy how to connect and flow and weave into healthy, sturdy patterns. She rebuilt, even recreated, her own previously fragile and depleted aura.

There’s no shame in getting knocked off balance. The world we live in provides plenty of opportunities to wobble and fall. Always. I think we require it as a species. We are not meant to stand still.

When I am feeling out of sorts, whether from illness, a difficult interaction, overwork, or other stress, I am at my best if I remember I am in training to find my greater resilience. (Sometimes I remember and other times I forget.) The difficulty, whatever it is, might be just like Philippe Petit’s good friends swinging at the sagging rope to try and knock him off, helping him build his own core of balance and safety, all for the sake of his art. I think of Donna Eden, never losing hope when she was at her sickest, putting her hands on her thighs to see the energy waken and flow if only for a few moments before she had to remind it again to connect, slowly and persistently carrying herself into vibrant health.

This is what I strive to learn and hope to teach. I’m not seeking a secluded island of balmy weather, beautiful food, like-minded friends, and agreeable politics. I enjoy all of these things, but I don’t think the island exists, and if it did, I don’t think I would breathe very well there. It wouldn’t feel honest. If I need to be in an ideal environment for my energetic balance to hold, the work itself has less meaning. Energy balancing is not an end result. It’s about finding the ability to bounce back with an ongoing, ever-changing resilience. My aim is to let it be art.


~ Sarah J. Buck


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