Seeking Balance Upside Down

When I was young, I spent as much of my time upside down as I did right side up.   My family would often find me standing on my head, legs propped against the kitchen refrigerator, or leaning against the closet door in my bedroom.  I even read the childhood tale about Tikki Tikki Tembo while standing on my head. And I didn’t walk down the sidewalk like a typical kid, I would cartwheel or somersault. True to my gene pool, I had a ton of energy coursing through my body.  I don’t know why my mother chose to enroll me in gymnastics instead of therapy, but perhaps learning to flip flop and somersault with grace served the same purpose.

Years later I told this story to an Occupational Therapist friend who works with kids. She told me she teaches kids with nervous energy to press the crown of their head firmly with the palms of their hands until they felt calmer. She says it helps kids become aware of their bodies and find the balance they seek.  In technical terms, it apparently tricks the nervous system by suppressing the energy.  I didn’t know it then, but flipping upside down was my body’s natural way of seeking balance.

Seeking balance is the universal way. The giant blue characters in the movie Avatar best demonstrate this when they were preparing for battle against their greedy enemies.  The main character and former marine now Na’vi, Jake Sully, is found by the protagonist and native Neytiri sitting at the base of “the great tree spirit” seeking wisdom and praying for miracles of strength to defend against the attack.  Neytiri informs Jake that Great Spirit does not take sides, she simply seeks balance.

In today’s earth terms, balance is represented by contrasts. We know light because of darkness, we understand faith because of fear and we understand calm because of chaos.

As I sift through facebook and blogs, posts are riddled with fear and frustration by the on-going political debate between private and public sector benefits and opinions about what is just and fair. Posts from private sector folks remind us they pay a higher portion of benefits and pensions than their counterparts in the public sector. Educators respond by sharing how they feel about the lack of fairness in Governor Walker’s all-or-nothing proposal. There are myriad imbalances that could be pointed out on each side of the soil, but the contrasts reminded me of the universal principle of balance and the wisdom of Neytiri.

The universe does not take sides, it simply seeks balance.  Where that balance rests is not clear to me, but perhaps it would help to take a deep breath and apply pressure to the crowns of our heads.

Balance and awareness are the foundational principles of the Powerful Perspectives System of Change. To learn more, become a fan on facebook, or attend a sampler session on Saturday, February 26 at the River Falls High School.  Sessions will explore the Powerful Perspectives and how they help you learn to Love the Skin You’re In.  Sessions are 50 minutes and begin at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.  Register at

8 Responses

  1. Barb C.

    Great story. I have a Nephew just like that. In his case it is a form of Autism. Thanks for the wonderful words and can’t wait to read some more.

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  4. Bobbie Cumnberworth

    Believe me when I tell you gymnastics is a lot cheaper than therapy – and besides you have a true knack for flip flopping and somersaulting with grace.

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