This morning I went to a yoga class on the 8th floor of an office building. The huge studio windows overlook a busy street that is under a massive amount of construction right now. Throughout the class, I was watching a crane do its thing and also a small elevator attached to the outside of a building in development.
There was little sound bleed into the studio so I could see the action without feeling bombarded by noise. As a result, both pieces of equipment seemed to be moving with extreme grace and lightness. Watching the crane turn, the pulley system glide, and the elevator move smoothly up and down was like watching construction ballet.
It struck me that the crane was able to turn, lift and swing heavy items so easily because it is strongly grounded. The little elevator can zip quickly up and down the building because it is firmly anchored to it. This is obvious even to those of us without engineering degrees! The complex system of pulleys, levers, and other simple machines works to do incredible things (as kids learn in grade 2 or 3)!
The heavier the items are that need to be moved, the more grounded and stable the machine needs to be. This applies to humans, too! “Lift from the knees!”, we are told.
But it also applies to us in other ways. When we want or need to lift non-physical heavy things – such as taking on new projects, making a career shift, moving out of our comfort zones, handling a loss, or attempting to change a difficult relationship (with others or within ourselves) – we need to be firmly rooted and grounded. When we hit really busy periods – you know, those times when it seems we are being pulled in a million directions or running on adrenaline, and quite possibly even enjoying it – we need even more than usual to find an anchor so we don’t get pulled completely out of ourselves.
So often, though, we get caught up in the rush, the business, franticness, and emotional swings of a situation, telling ourselves that “I will go to yoga/the gym/for a walk tomorrow”, or telling our friends and family we are too busy to connect. Our ego (or boss) pushes us to “Go! Go! Go!”. But it is our bodies, spirits, and connection to loved ones that form the very counterweights and anchors that we need to support the heavy lifting, lay the foundation, and build something tall, meaningful, and sustainable. Otherwise we become off-balance and risk falling over, breaking, or flying away out of control.
For me, when I become aware that I am feeling emotionally overwhelmed, irritable, or making lots of silly mistakes like forgetting or losing things, I know that I need to regroup, refocus, and reconnect to my anchors – healthy practices, physical movement, nature, meditation, quality and fun time with family and/or friends, music/creativity, or formal support. Sometimes it only takes a few minutes to move into balance, and sometimes it requires a few days or more of concentrated effort and discipline.
Today, a short but meaningful exchange with a friend, an extended hug with my son, and a meditation and yoga class all helped to ground me after an emotional morning. And I was granted inspiration for this blog post, too!
What are your anchors? How does nurturing and honouring them (and by extension, yourself), keep you standing strong?
**photo credit to Larry Kline