At Fall Equinox, on Sept. 22, we reach a point of balance between the light and the dark. After Equinox, we move into the darker half of the year. Traditionally the time of darkness is a period of dying back, resting, repairing, restoring. The fields lie fallow. Outdoor work and play, so compelling in the summer, give way to indoor tasks and pleasures. It’s the season for incubating dreams, for sitting around the hearth staying warm and sharing stories. Touching the quiet places and spirit worlds.
In Western culture, we tend to value being active, doing, producing. With electric light and all of our electronic devices, there are no longer any boundaries between day and night, light and dark. We give the slow energy and intuitive wisdom of dreams less importance than the fast, bright, data-driven logical mind. We have lost our balance. How do we regain it?
The first step, quite literally, is to find balance in our bodies. I learned this two years ago when I broke my leg. I spent months balancing on my intact left leg, giving my right ankle time to heal. Once the bones knit back together, with the expert help of a surgeon, I had to learn to walk normally again. I felt like a toddler.
I discovered that the right side of my body, particularly my right hip muscles, had been weaker than the left even before I broke my leg. In addition, because of a visual impairment in my right eye, I tended to hold my head so that my left eye was in the middle of my visual field. No wonder I’d had so many episodes of shoulder, back and knee pain. I had decades of unbalanced walking to undo.
My physical therapist taught me stretching and strengthening exercises. More importantly, she helped me understand what no practitioner really had before: how all parts of my physical structure are connected, and how they best work together. Because my right hip was weak, my left shoulder was trying to hold my body up, which is not its job. Now I’m able to truly stand on my own two feet, in proper alignment.
This physical process of alignment happened simultaneously with a life rebalancing. I’ve been able to stop doing activities that don’t nourish me and devote more time and energy to people I love, play, and work that I feel passionate about.
As the nights grow longer and the days shorter, take some time to pay attention to balance in your body and life. How are you off-balance? How can you strengthen the parts of your body and life that are weaker or need more attention and take the burden off other parts that are over-active or overused? Start slowly; it may be as simple as taking a few more minutes each day for reflection or meditation.
At Fall Equinox, the sun moves into the second half of the zodiac in Libra: from a more individualistic focus to an emphasis on collective justice, peace and harmony. Our world is desperately in need of balance. The domination of logical thinking in service of individual, material development has put us out of touch with collective and spiritual well-being. By attending to our own personal balance, we regain the energy we need to address the urgent challenges we face here in the United States and on Earth as a whole.