A verb or a noun, depending upon the context. To be balanced is to be steady; mentally and physically. To be balanced is to be in a position to react. Balance is having the elements of your life in the correct proportions. Balance is something that can be natural, but often balance is something that you must find. Balance is something that must be maintained, because it can slip away, sometimes without you realizing it.
Lessons in balance often come with lessons in gravity--learning how to sit yourself up, how to crawl, how to walk, run, ski, or ride a bike. Lessons in balance can be coupled with time management--balancing school with sports, friends with family, work with play. Balancing a check book. Eating a balanced diet. These are all things that require conscious thought and effort. But what about the balance that is effortless and subconscious? I don't know if that's the best way to describe it, but it works for now. I'm talking about that natural balance in your life that is achieved by simply following your instinct. It is a balancing of the mind and body that only comes by following your heart.
Recently my mind and body have been a little off balance. My body has been so pissy and my mind has been all over the place. Who knows the exact cause--stress with school, not enough sleep, not eating the right foods--probably an amalgamation of all of these things. Regardless, it's frustrating to feel crappy. I would be feeling great and go out on a ride and have my legs fatigue faster than a tourist could ask me how to get to the vortex. Then I would beat myself up about feeling tired or weak. So I decided to just push harder because surely I could get over the hump if I just worked through the pain and fatigue. Of course I know that is total BS, I've tried that before. But I'm stubborn so I did it anyway. On one ride a few weeks ago I was so miserable all I could do keep myself from having a mental breakdown was to repeat out loud to myself, "keep pedaling, you are not weak. Keep moving" over and over. That afternoon I walked into the gym and I didn't have to say a word. Gary looked and me all he said was, "listen to your body, Alex. Take a break."
To my benefit, I listened. I took a break. I did nothing but let my body recover. I've hardly ridden since then. Partially due to the fact that Sedona has been a sloppy mess for a few weeks, and partially because at this point in time, I don't want to ride bikes. Right now I want to ski. When I wake up in the morning my feelings are to go outside and breathe thin, cold air; to bundle up and put on ski boots. It is effortless. I quit ski racing in April of 2013. Between the last two winters I only skied 15 times due to injuries. I think I've already skied 15 days this year. I almost forgot the way skiing makes me feel. It brings me such deep rooted happiness I can't even explain it. Subconsciously, I knew that I needed to feel that easy, stress free, light-heartedness.
I'm finding my balance again. My body is healthier and my mind is happier. I have accepted the fact that I need to take time away from my bike, so that I will be balanced when I'm ready to start riding and training again. I'm not worried about missing training days or miles. All I care about is the width of the smile on my face. So for now, I'm going to keep letting mother nature decide whether I'm riding my bike or skiing.
Writing is something I have always been passionate about. I love sharing my stories, my thoughts, my advice, but mostly, I write to record memories and express myself. So here are a few of my fondest memories, best and worst moments, my most profound and boisterous thoughts, and riskiest advice. Enjoy!