In Extremis

I find the West’s obsession with extreme’s to be…well, many things. Unhelpful, unhealthy, distracting, annoying, well, you get the point.

And it’s not just an obsession but a celebration, an embracing. You see it everywhere. The person who is extreme is lauded for the act of being extreme. You have to run marathons or triathlons. You have to be uber specialized. You have to be able to perform that one super technical feat. You have to be all right brained or all left brained. And not only will society laud you, but your ego will laud you as well. There are rewards for extremes but there is also cost. And so many of us are bought into it.

So what about balance? Well, we know in the West that while balance might get a nod as a good thing, it’s a distant 5th runner up to extremis. We sometimes preach it and then reward the opposite. If a corporation preaches work-life balance, you can be assured there is no balance.

The thing about balance is that you have to work just as hard at it as you do extremes. And it doesn’t come with external rewards. It doesn’t pump up your ego. It doesn’t reinforce your persona. The rewards of balance are internal.

I’m no psychologist but I think of the masculine and feminine energies (think of the divine feminine and divine masculine or Jung’s Anima/Animus), or the behaviors associated with those, when I think of balance. Knowing when to exhibit a masculine or feminine behavior and when not to is a balancing act, but it is also an act of awareness.

Perhaps it is not so much an ability or inability to behave in both manners but a lack of awareness that one can actually make a choice that is lacking in our Western mindset.

Balance brings wholeness. Gather your courage and look to it.

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