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Life Through Dance

Balance Is a Maintenance Issue

By Elizabeth Dickinson

I’m standing on one leg with the other bent like a stork in front of my new chiropractor—a bouncing stork, since I can’t remain in balance.

“Your right hip is out of alignment. That’s undermining your balance on that side.”

I am thunderstruck. I have always thought of balance like the weather. Some days it’s cloudy, and some days it’s sunny. Certain days, it’s easier to balance on one leg, and certain days, it’s easier to balance on the other. Some days it feels like I could balance forever. Other days I can barely balance at all.

As obvious as it sounds, it never occurred to me that my balance might be affected by a misalignment in my body. It was a maintenance issue.

I have some scoliosis. I know I function better when I have regular chiropractic adjustments, but I was away for a month and didn’t get adjusted before I left. I spent the entire trip adjusting my posture trying to get comfortable, especially when sitting.

Balance is a maintenance issue, in my body and in my life. There are certain things I have to do to be balanced, and I know when they’re off. If I sleep too little or eat too much, I feel logy. If I overdo exercise, I ache. If I go too long without a chiropractic adjustment, I feel chronically uncomfortable. If I’m too hard on myself (especially when learning new choreography), I get depressed.

There are also times in life when the stressors are unusually high. After a political campaign, I remember talking with another candidate’s staff member and saying that all the normal things I did to take care of myself just didn’t cut it. There didn’t seem to be enough self-care to address the stressors. He agreed with me.

As in dance, there is no fixed point for staying balanced. It changes day to day, month to month, and sometimes moment to moment. How do you maintain balance in your life? I encourage everyone to develop behaviors that will support whatever position they find themselves in. Regular self-appraisal helps. Which reminds me … I need another adjustment.