Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mandalas for Restoring Balance

Last month's explorations took us into the complicated realm of BalanceWe throw that word out a lot these days - "I need more balance in my life."  "Strive to maintain a balanced life."  Ruminating about the word, our class came up with associations like equilibrium  ~  stable  ~ controlled  ~  static  ~ rigidity  ~  precise... None of which made us feel very good about restoring this into our lives until Christy (my wonderful wise co-facilitator) said the word Homeostasis.  Unlike balance, homeostasis is fluid and organic.  "Imagine if we actively listened to ourselves with kindness.  Listened to whatever we perceived in body, mind, heart and soul, allowing those thoughts and feelings to just be, without judgment.  Rather than pushing away and denying or grasping and holding on, what would happen if we just fell into ourselves.  Perhaps we would begin to restore a sense of wholeness."   
When we are thrown off balance, we instinctively attempt to rectify the fall.  To take a fall usually results in some sort of change which is most often met with resistance.  The wisdom of the 13th century poet and theologian Rumi always inspires me - "Try not to resist the changes that come your way.   Instead let life live through you.  Do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?"   
In 1996, Cirque Du Soleil premiered its production Quidam.  It still is my favorite for many reasons, one of which being the song Let Me Fall.  On Thursday, August 8th, we sat and listened...

Then we used a clear wax crayon to make marks on a page in our journals that reflected what we felt while listening to the song. What were we resisting?
What were we fighting with, battling with, struggling with?  Sometimes we wrote words, sometimes we simply made marks.  We covered the page, surprised at some of the feelings that surfaced.  As a symbolic gesture to make the unseen visible, we water-colored over our marks.



Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds' wings.”   Rumi

Everyone begins to TRUST the process.

Realizing we need to cut away, let go of "things" in order to make way for something new, symbolically we began to cut out shapes from some of our color drawings.  Layering our creations one over the other,revealing a new whole.

What tools and strategies have we discovered?  Which ones are helpful in restoring "balance",in bringing our body, mind, heart and soul back into homeostasis? 
These thoughts were written into our mandalas...that now are another entry in our journals,
 our field guides to
cancer survivorship.  

 It takes more than medicine to heal.