Jen YihComment

4 Balancing Acts

Jen YihComment
4 Balancing Acts


Smith Rock is located near Bend, Oregon about 2.5 hours from Portland. These rock structures are a total anomaly from the rest of the landscape - massive, porous, and magnificent, no wonder everyone is flocking to Smith rock to climb to the top with strength, grace, and balance. 


IT STARTED IN COLLEGE, THIS TIGHTNESS IN MY CHEST I thought I was having some sort of respiratory infection or maybe a panic attack? It hit me that I was, like many college students, overwhelmed with to-do's, assignments, tests, expectations, future planning, and figuring out what I wanted to be. My mind was in a constant state of preparation with thoughts and plans for the future, so much to the point I was hardly present & paying attention to what was right in front of me. This futuristic mindset caused not only "anxiety" but came out physically! Telling me to slow down & take a breath. 

It wasn't until after graduation that I learned how to channel these "anxieties" into, what seemed like a fair trade - restlessness. This restlessness fueled me. It made me want to travel, create, learn, teach, talk, listen, and absorb. It was overwhelming, again, but it wasn't anxiety. It was a craving, an itch I needed to scratch. 

Today, I'm learning that restlessness isn't at all bad, in fact, the opposite but also not sustainable. I'm learning how to turn restlessness into drive and drive into focus. It's an art to channel all of that energy (anxiety, restlessness, motivation) & put it into your work, relationships, and creativity - carefully & intentionally. "Intention without discipline is useless," Carolyn Myss from The Anatomy of the Spirt. 


Patience was something I never understood. I always thought the quicker I could get places like in and out of the check-out line, the oil change, the DMV, the boring & mundane tasks we have to do every week to make sure there's food on the table & toilet paper on the roll, the closer I would get to achieving whichever goal/dream I was after at the time. It was that restlessness, again, coming back to haunt me. But, there's a difference between the boring and monotonous vs. patience. Patience is more important than I ever knew, and waiting in line at the DMV is just a small exercise in how you can be better at being patient. All things, need time - to grow, to pick, to eat, to understand, to learn. Someone with a dream or a vision who lacks patience might sadly never achieve that dream because someone who is impatient, will pick the fruit before it is ripe & this goes against, well, the laws of nature. I can't force anyone to be patient - but I do know there's a difference between waiting for something to happen vs. planting the seeds and patiently waiting for the crop to go. Slow down & wait for the good things to mature - including yourself. 


FEAR IS A TOUGH ONE, there was a time when I didn't think I was afraid of anything - even death! I figured, it's the only thing we know for certain & will happen to all of us, so why fret? But then it dawned on me why death is so scary because everyday the earth keeps turning and we get a little bit older, make more decisions, commit to more people & things, before you know it there's concrete on your feet & you are unable to fly - and flying = freedom & fun. We love things that make us feel like we're flying. 

Fear itself is right where we meet freedom. Think of the times you were most afraid, making a massive decision, commitment, or even a conversation - telling someone you loved them for the first time, moving to a new place, quitting a job, jumping out of an airplane. It truly is those moments of not knowing what is on the other side, the outcome, the "unknown" that completely scares us. Yes, jumping without a parachute or quitting a job at the "wrong" time is somewhat reckless & by prediction, don't seem like they may end well - but it's why we have to ask ourselves what we're really afraid of from time to time. If it's "nothing" then my assumption is that I'm not challenging myself & that I'm too comfortable sitting in first class to think about where the plane might be flying to. 


Did you know, in the Portuguese language there are two verbs for "to be"? They are -estar and -ser. Estar means, something impermanent, for example "I'm hungry" is "Estou fome" vs. "I am a writer" you would use -ser, the permanent version of being "Eu estou uma escritor." 

What we are vs. what we do are two things I believe we should think about more carefully. Many people, for example, work jobs that are wildly different than who they are but on the reverse, have you ever met someone who does exactly what they are? an artist? a musician? a professional athlete? anyone living out their passion? Somewhere along the way, it became the norm to disconnect what we do, everyday, from who we are and what we love. From my experience, it is most beneficial for everyone to do more of who they are. Everyone is "creative" in some form, whether its on the court, on the mountain, in the kitchen, with numbers, or words... 


Elizabeth Gilbert :: When I first read Elizabeth's one hit wonder "Eat, Pray, Love" I despised it... but, this, is good. 

Allen Watts :: OG


Anatomy of the Spirit by Carolyn Myss