As I have been exploring and connecting with the big picture and how to live it more consciously in daily life, one thing I have become aware of in my own journey and in working with others is the need for balance. This is a huge topic, which I feel to explore in many ways, but for now I am speaking about balance in relation to the big picture.
Obviously, the big picture is BIG! It’s actually huge, vast, and in a sense beyond measurement. I know that at times in my life when I have been really plugged into the big picture it can be difficult to deal with the details of daily life. And at other times, I am so bogged down with the details that I can easily forget to hold the big picture. I feel like this exploration is critical to holding and embodying the big picture and living and participating in the world on a day-to-day basis. So this week’s koan or question is:
“Is your BP (Big Picture) too high or too low? Are you able to find balance between embodying your big picture and handling the details of daily life? How can you begin to create this balance in your own life and in the world?”
We know from a medical perspective that when our blood pressure is too high or too low something is out of balance. It is a very clear and measurable indicator and there are many courses of action to stabilize it. Stable seems like a good word to bring into this conversation. When we are balanced we feel a sense of stability on an inner and outer level. Everything around us may be in constant flux, even our own being and our own molecules are constantly moving, but when we find balance, we feel stable and grounded. So in a sense, what we are talking about here is finding some type of homeostasis that allows us to develop balance between our inner and outer worlds, between our big picture and our daily life.
Balance is necessary on all levels – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual as well as overall if we are to feel stability, but it is a dance, an ever-changing process. Balance creates a sense of stability. Cultivating balance is not about finding a stationary place that is comfortable, it is about staying present with what is arising, being in touch with our immediate experience and how it relates to our big picture and finding tools that help to support coming to a place of alignment.
What I have experienced as someone who has often tended seek out the more spiritual side of life is that at times, there is a worry about being too much in the big picture and not being able to deal with the affairs of daily life. I have had a desire to avoid the materialism of the world, especially with many of the extremes that exist in the world today.
On the other hand, I can also get lost in my to do list and being busy and feel like what I am doing is not connected to the big picture, to a greater purpose and that leaves me feeling disconnected and often, discontent. I know that at the center of this is the importance of having a sense of meaning and purpose that carries through to all aspects of life. Living consciously and purposefully in 2012 does not mean living in a cave in the Himalayas or in a monastery, it means bringing that deeper truth out into the world and into every day experience.
Both high and low BP’s have benefits and challenges and yet, when we can find balance, we receive all of the benefits. The greatest benefit is that we gain the ability to actualize our vision and truly live the big picture in daily life. Some of the benefits and challenges I see include:
Benefits: Sense of Vision and Purpose, Excitement, Passion, Feeling Connected, Trust
Challenges: Difficulty dealing with the material world, Overwhelmed by details, Unable to manifest vision or turn ideas into actions
Benefits: Able to maneuver in material world, More easily handle the details, Stay focused on specifics and what needs to be done to manifest big picture, Perseverance
Challenges: Feeling disconnected, Lack of purpose, Holding onto to too much, Grasping, Discontent, Feeling stuck, Unable to relax
When my BP is too high, one of the main ways I work with it is to get more grounded. This can be done in a variety of ways and what I have learned as a facilitator over 16 years is that each person must find the tools or practices that work best for them. Some methods include grounding meditation, energy practices, connecting with nature, using stones or crystals, using essential oils, and the list of possibilities is endless. For me, I know spending time in nature is key to getting and staying grounded. I, also, use a meditation/visualization which connects me to the earth that I can use in any situation or environment. Some of my favorite grounding stones are ruby and hematite, which are often found in my pocket. Finding a place of groundedness allows the big picture to come through, to filter into the physical world and to become embodied. One of the things I work with with clients, both individuals and groups, is exploring grounding practices and tools that can be used in daily life. I encourage everyone to create their own list of grounding practices and tools and will explore this topic more in future posts.
When my BP is too low, I tend to get too caught up in the details. Another aspect of this is when I recognize I am feeling stuck or have a sense of efforting with “the list”; that it is a clear indicator that I need to take a break from what I am doing. I know I need to step back. Some of the ways I work with this is the pause, meditation, doing something creative, engaging with others, unplugging, etc. “The pause” is what I call it when I step away from what I am working on and take some time to shift my energy from my point of focus. This practice in and of itself helps me to reconnect with the big picture. Clearly, this concept can go a bit against the grain of our push/push culture, especially in relation to work, but I feel it is key to staying connected to the big picture.
As I was finishing up this post, my partner, Mario, came home with a photo of a young red-tailed hawk sitting in a tree. Suddenly, I thought of how the hawk is a great metaphor for this topic. Hawks can sit for hours waiting and when they do move, they move consciously. They also soar up high in the sky, seeing the big picture and yet, when it is time to move in, they are able to focus on the details, but with purpose and intention.
In Shamanic Healing, we often work with animal totems or spirits, as a way to receive guidance and wisdom. Considered in this way, hawk can be seen as a visionary, able to soar up high and connect with the spiritual realm, the big picture. Hawks also have keen eyesight and the ability to soar downward; they have the ability to be very precise and help to implement the big picture below. Hawk medicine is said to unite heaven and earth, to connect with the universal energies and yet bring them down to earth in a practical way. One of the messages of hawk energy is that we can carry the big picture into our daily lives and that if we do so, our life will be more fulfilling and purposeful.
How can we carry the message of hawk into our daily lives and find balance between heaven and earth, between the big picture and daily life? How can our experiences and interactions in the world become more meaningful and purpose driven? And what might happen in our world if we are able to move from this place of connection and balance?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections on this post, on your own experiences of your BP being too high or too low, on finding balance or anything that arises from exploring this topic.