Oh Gawd, it’s that time of year again. One Christmas my son gave me tennis shoes with bright neon side panels and a pump up arch. The next Christmas he gave me bar bells, turquoise colored bar bells, graduating in size and weight. The kind you can’t miss when walking into your room at night. The kind that ominously make tsk-tsk sounds and project guilt from their matching stand. When he gave them to me I sat in the warm glow of the tree, with all family eyes upon me as the bright red bow and metallic green wrap fell away. I unveiled my prize and agonizingly pulled and strained the muscles of my cheeks up, up in an effort to smile. Teeth showing. Lips wide. The bar bells got sent to my bedroom as the last guest left that day, and not a muscle has been strained or pulled higher than my ankle to remove them from their stand since Christmas two years ago.

My son is a surfer. He is buffed out and thirty-something. He has not yet come to appreciate that I too am an athlete. I too am a surfer. Agile. Daring. He surfs the ocean and I surf the crests and troughs of life. Up. Down. High points. Low points. Tenuously balanced, shifting my weight and awareness, poised and awaiting the next big wave. We are both seeking independence, freedom, the joy of balance. We are both hoping that we will not wipe out and die. The thrill and the danger are the same.

Achieving balance is easier said than done. It is tricky! The more you embrace life, become involved and present to all the possibilities – the higher the highs and subsequently, the lower the lows. When you decide to take on the most challenging surf – you will no doubt get a more exciting ride. Eventually, as you ride in the middle of each life experience, you become aware of the polarities that wash you from one extreme to another.

The more I acknowledge the places I am little, the greater I become.The more I achieve success, the more I fear failure.The more I long for distinction, the more I must be humble to truly be it.The more I acknowledge evil, the more I overlook good.

The more I hold on to ecstasy, the more I resist the pain.

The more I seek independence the more I am in the state of dependence upon being independent.

The more I seek Spirit outside myself, the more I loose my awareness of It within.

In the time it takes to inhale a single deep breath, I can be washed from one wave to the other. In my son’s vast ocean, the waves are not separate from the ocean itself. I too am forever riding two ends of the same continuum. Not two separate ideals or realities. Not two things wholly different, but rather two ends held captive by the stream of life.

I want balance. However, no sooner am I immersed in the joy of helping to birth my grandchild, than the news arrives that my beloved aunt has died. She died just before I could arrange a long promised trip to be with her in Florida. I am again caught up between two ends of the continuum. Hello and good bye. Departure and arrival. Loss of love and new love.

In the last few years, relationships of every kind have become my finest workout, the ultimate trainer. Clients move swiftly from hating me to liking me, from thinking I am a charlatan to thinking I am a mentor. Deftly, I try to remain balanced during our pilgrimage together, not attached to what they feel about me, but only what they learn for themselves. My ego wants to be gratified, my spirit knows their journey could take place in any quiet holding space because it is their journey and not mine. The woman in me wants to pack and go sit on a beach in Maui. The final reality: I am the visitor on their path, the guest at their unfolding.

Friends move in and out of my intimate circle of extended family. Some I have grown out of, some have grown out of me. It is all Spiritually correct, all part of the same wave called life.

My children quickly move from wanting a mom, to wanting a friend, to wanting a silent listening ear with no input at all. And just as quickly I must be able to pull from my Mom bag all that I know, tuck gently back into my Mom bag the knowing that I know, or move into admitting that I really don’t know or don’t need to know.

In my personal relationships, this ride on the tension of life is at its best. I am forever face to face with letting go of my need for the safety of sameness and upholding my love of diversity. I eat health food, they like junk. I go to sleep late, they go to sleep early. I take homeopathics, They down Nyquil. There is no justice, not even in old age. It is this tension of embracing life fully that creates the excitement – the element that provides the drive. Life is an on-going challenge, and perhaps balance resides somewhere in the willingness to just get up and ride the waves. And I ride.

When he is fifty-something like me, my son will bring me medals for Christmas. By then, he will have earned some of his own.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013
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