Have you ever tried slacklining? If you have, I know you know that balance requires constant movement. If you haven’t, imaging getting up on a small, flat nylon rope extended between two points. And then you walk. From one end to the other. If you are anything like me, and haven’t tried it before, you can’t.
I tried it this spring, and I almost wet my pants from laughing so hard during the experience. I figured I might be an ok rookie at this, but lo and behold, I didn’t even get up on the damned thing without grabbing onto my hubby’s shoulders for support. And then my legs went ballistic, wobbling back and forth like crazy. Hilarious. I just could not get them to stop… until all the wobble had gone out of them, and then, leaning heavily on hubby, I managed to walk a meter or two. That’s all. And it was damned hard.
But. And here’s the thing.
To keep your balance on a slackline, you have to be in constant movement, perhaps just minute micro movements, but still. If you were to stand absolutely still, you would not be able to stay on for a long period of time. It’s just not possible. People need to keep moving in order for balance to be maintained. Regardless if you’re on a slackline or not! Balance is an active state, it’s not passive at all.
Now. Imagine walking a slackline as a metaphor for life.
I think most of us aspire to some sort of balanced life. A little bit of play, building and maintaining strong relationships, loving and being loved, doing work that matters, having a meaningful pastime, and making a contribution to the greater good. More or less. This all requires movement. Physical as well as mental. With movement, you can deal with obstacles, you can get to know your friends better and deeper, or gain new ones. You learn and expand at work, gradually enjoying more and more complex and challenging tasks. And so on.
Without movement, on the other hand. What do you end up with? Imagine a relationship, where both parties are fixed in their ways and their thoughts. Stale, huh? At least that’s what comes to mind for me. Imagine never leaving your house. Never going for a walk. Not taking in anything new, no books, articles, movies, music, conversations. No play, experimentation or new sights.
Death. That’s what I perceive. Death.
Without movement, there is only death.
And even death, the real version, cheats us on this actually. Have you watched that clip of the compost degrading, while being filmed with a time-lapse camera? Watch it, it’s cool! And it shows that even in death there actually is movement. But it’s not active in the sense I’m pointing to, it’s the passive version.
So. If you want to live life, or you want to be able to walk from one end to another on a slackline, it’s vital to be in movement. That’s how you maintain a balance, making active choices, staying in movement, compensating for external as well as internal conditions (a sudden gust of wind, getting laid off). And, not to forget, sometimes we need support, and a lot of practice, and sometimes we can make do on our own, either through practicing until we’ve become proficient or even experts at something, or because we’re simply not aiming high enough, not going for something that will stretch our abilities to the fullest.
All this talk about slacklining has gotten me eager to try it out even more. This summer there were a few slacklines fastened around some trees in Bulltofta, not far from where I live, but I never tried them out. I hope they will be there this summer as well, and I promise I’ll make a go for it, an honest go at that! Wanna join me?