Finding One’s Center

Caitlin - Wayne, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 7, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

For the past few nights, I have been dreaming about a young woman doing yoga. Her brown hair neatly tied back exposes the calm radiance of her bare face. She breaths unnoticed as the gentle breeze does through her second skin of cotton. Like a dancer, she extends her right leg towards the sky to meet her right hand. Her lithe body stretches but remains unstrained. Her mind and body silently sing of this joyful harmony, this perfect balance.

And that is the difference between me and the young woman: balance. It only resides in my dreams.If I were to attempt yoga in real life, I would be standing on a yoga mat for thirty seconds tops. I would be so distracted by my need for productiveness, that I would lose the focus needed to balance. Moments later, I’m flat on the ground, hoping I didn’t knock over and hurt too many people on the way down. Balance is hard to maintain.

But most of the time I never get to the point of rolling out the yoga mat. Work hard, and work only—the puritanical philosophy, which is just as much a part of me as is my puritanical blood. And many people share my heritage. Most people never achieve balance. Many, like myself, are driven and preoccupied by their chosen imbalance. It is like what Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “People with great gifts are easy to find, but symmetrical and balanced ones never.” I have come to the point of progress in that I recognize my desire to be one of those hard-to-find people, but somehow my work ethic won’t let me dissapear. My father can easily see me awake at one o’clock in the morning perfecting my project. My mother can easily see me failing to resist overstuffing my face and eating one more, no two more, cookies. And my little sister can easily see me choosing to skip out of a family vacation. The next thing you know, I will be typing up office memos instead of visiting my dying grandmother, writing a research paper instead of attending my own wedding ceremony, and weighing three hundred pounds.

It had me asking myself, “Is this the price I want to pay?” And more importantly, “What am I paying for?” Because after all these years, I’ve proven to myself that no matter how steep the price of imbalance, I can’t buy happiness. But balance; balance might be the answer to the happiness I want most of all.

So next week, I decided, I am going to sign-up for a yoga class.

When I think about the young woman in my dreams, I notice her flexibility, strength, pose, serenity, and discipline all stem from her ability to balance while doing yoga, and I can’t help but to think that the same principle of balance applies to life. If I am ever able to achieve balance, I believe, then, in my heart, I will silently sing.