Approaching the New Year with Grace & Gratitude
By: Ali Hall
Between Pure Balance turning 3 in September, me turning 26 in October, and now 2021 coming to a close, the past few months have been a natural period of reflection for me. I’ve spent a lot of time looking back over the 3 years since I opened Pure Balance, and the growth that not only the business has seen, but also I have experienced personally. I’ve thought about the growth and transformations I’ve seen so many of our clients experience. I’ve thought about the pandemic, and the emotional and physical toll it has taken on us all, but also how it has brought us together and made us treasure the little things...
In the midst of my reminiscing, I came across something I wrote right before the studio opened, but never published, about what “finding balance” means to me. I likened finding balance to the concept of “biotensegrity.” Tensegrity is a concept found in architecture, that explains the characteristic property of a stable three-dimensional structure consisting of members under tension that are contiguous and members under compression that are not. Biotensegrity applies this concept to our bodies- our muscles, bones, fascia, ligaments and tendons, or rigid and elastic cell membranes, are made strong by the unison of tensioned and compressed parts. Take this skwish toy for example (notice it looks a bit like our logo😉). The network of wooden dowels, wooden balls, and elastic bands give the toy its structure and allow it to move in different directions while still holding it together. However, if you were to knot up 1 single elastic band, the structure would now move differently than before. If you wrapped up more than one elastic band it would restrict the movement even more. Now imagine the dowels are bones, balls are organs, and elastic is your soft tissue— the same thing is true of your body. If you have restriction in one or more than one area of your body, its going to affect the way you move. (Stay with me here I promise I’m taking this somewhere🤗)
Now, back before I opened the studio, I used this to explain how all of the aspects of our health and wellness- mind, body, and spirit- are all connected, and if you aren’t taking care of one area, all of the others are affected, which I still agree with. However, I also wrote about how we have to work towards unraveling these blockages so that we can move more wholistically—it was always about striving for some “factory setting” of perfection, and that’s where I missed the mark. What I have learned over the past few years is that many of those blockages, (whether in the physical body or mental/spiritual/emotional) started because they were trying to protect us from something. If we go after them with anger and frustration, aggressively trying to “fix” them, we miss the point and can end up doing more harm than good. Because even though that swish toy may not move the same with 2 knots, it's still holding itself together so that it can continue to move. It’s still staying strong amidst the stress it’s under.
I think about the pandemic and how everyone has been bemoaning all of the “bad habits” they’ve picked up since the pandemic started. How they’ve gained the “quarantine 15” or developed an addiction to Tik Tok. How they’ve become a bit anti-social or gotten out of the routine of working out, or in to the routine of ordering delivery instead of cooking at home. And along with that comes a long list of “resolutions” to “fix” these habits being taken in to the new year and a plethora of ads offering a quick solution. But what if we picked up those habits because they were in some way comforting us through the stress of the pandemic? We beat up on ourselves for these ‘bad habits” when in reality they were just trying to hold us together, so maybe it’s ok for them to be there for the time being. As we grow, and settle, and start to feel safe again, these habits may feel as if they are hindering our movement forward. Once they are no longer serving us, and it’s ok to want to move past them. But how about approaching them with compassion and gratitude since they helped us get through a hard time, instead of meeting them with frustration and trying to beat them in to submission. After all, we have been living in a global pandemic for 2 years… and yet we are still standing and progressing and growing and moving forward.
It is ok to feel like there are things you want to change and improve on- it’s a very normal part of life in fact. Growth is good. But this year, instead of beating yourself up for not having “fixed” yourself yet or all you didn’t accomplish last year, I encourage you to approach your “resolutions” with an air of compassion, grace, and gratitude for yourself and who you are right now. For all that you’ve been through, and all that your mind, body, and spirit have supported you through this past year. So what if you have spent many a nights scrolling on tik tok instead of reading that self help book because it made you laugh. So what if you’ve gained a few pounds. So what if you didn’t pick up a whole new hobby this year like it seems everyone else on social media did (news flash- they didn’t😉). The important thing is, you made it another year. You moved forward. You grew. You changed. And YOU, right here, right now, are enough and don’t you ever forget it.