Balance (Avatar, the Last Airbender)

from by Alyssa Yeager

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Balance yourself by exploring and manipulating elemental energies.

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Get yourself into a comfortable position, sitting or lying down. Allow your body to soften. Drop your shoulders. Relax your jaw. Feel the chair, cushion, or floor beneath you supporting your weight. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, becoming fully present with your body in this moment.

To be your best self today, you need to be in balance. This means finding harmony between the disparate thoughts, energies, and emotions pulling you one way and another. To do this, you will be spending time with the elements earth, water, fire, and air, exploring and manipulating each element to draw on its strengths. As you find balance between the power of these elements, you will also begin to find balance within yourself.

First we will focus on the element of Earth. Earth is strength, power, and stability. To work with Earth, you must be grounded and ready to channel this power. Imagine yourself standing in the middle of a wide open swath of dirt that stretches for miles in every direction. The ground is dry and solid. Move your right foot out to create a wider stance, with your legs about hip-width apart. Bend your knees several inches so that your thighs and lower legs are both supporting the weight of your body. Sink into this stance. Hold your arms just a little bit out from your sides, fingers slightly apart and palms down. Take a few deep breaths, and visualize yourself becoming as stable and immovable as a boulder in this position.

Now that you are grounded, you can connect with the energy of the Earth. With your hands still facing palms down, feel the raw power of the earth, stretching deeper and deeper below the surface of the ground. Draw this energy up from the Earth's core all the way to the surface. As you do, you see two large chunks of rock separating from the ground right beneath your hands. You continue to draw the energy up, slowly raising your hands and arms, and the rocks lift with your movement. When your hands reach chest height, turn your palms so they face away from you and pull your arms back until your hands are almost at your shoulders. Take a deep breath in and thrust your hands away from you with a sharp exhale, directing the rocks to a point far in the distance. You see the rocks follow your directive, soaring through the sky, landing so far away you barely see their impact.

You pause for a moment, noticing the adrenaline that has built up as you channeled the power of the Earth's energy through your body. Then you sink back into your stance and prepare yourself for more practice. Spend the next 2 minutes repeating this exercise, focusing on 3 things. First, notice the unlimited supply of energy under your feet. Second, as you draw this energy up from the Earth, pay attention to your ability to connect with this energy and feel grounded and stable. Third, as you raise your arms and thrust the rocks outward, focus on how you can channel this energy to achieve your goals. You may begin your practice with Earth energy.

Excellent work. Now you are ready to move on to the element of water. Water is movement, change, and flexibility. To work with water, you must be able to adapt your behavior to different situations. Imagine that you are standing at the edge of a riverbank. The river is wide, but not deep. You step into the water and notice that it comes up to about the middle of your calves. The temperature is pleasant, just slightly cooler than the warm air around you. The river flows with a steady but mild current. You sink your feet into the mud with your legs shoulder-width apart and feel stable. Take a few deep breaths and visualize yourself in the river, becoming completely relaxed, becoming one with the movement of the water.

Now that you have connected with the flow, you can begin to work with water's energy. Imagine lifting your hands up slightly to your sides. Begin a gentle up and down movement with your hands and wrists, flexing your wrists and partially closing and opening your fingers as if you are lightly combing someone's hair with Continue this smooth motion and notice that the water beneath your hands is beginning to burble and ripple. You feel the willingness of the water to change with your movements. Continue the combing motion, but begin to move your arms first straight out in front of you, and then out to the sides. You see that everywhere your arms move, the water responds and begins to rise up towards your hands. You raise your arms up to about waist height, and several long tentacles of water lift up as well. Everywhere you move your arms and hands, the tentacles follow. You are amazed that they follow every motion, from grand sweeps of your whole arm to tiny flicks of your finger tips. You begin to orchestrate a dance with your arms, watching as tentacles to each side respond to the movements of your left and right arms.

You pause to observe the unique feel of water's energy. It has the ability to dance over and around obstacles, to use both patience and force as needed. You embrace this sensation of flexibility as you manipulate the water. Take a few minutes now to direct the water tentacles however you wish. Explore how it feels to be like the water: to change with the world around you, and yet to always be moving toward your goal.

Nice job practicing your flexibility! Now it's time to call on the element of fire. Fire is passion, creativity, and destruction. To work with fire you need to be in touch with your inner flame. What drives you? What gives you a sense of joy and purpose in your life? Take a moment now to seek out these sources of your personal fire and motivation.

You may recognize that the strength of the fire within you can help you create what you desire, and it can also be overpowering. As with all of the elements, the key to using fire energy successfully is balance: knowing when to stoke the flames and when to calm the blaze to embers.

Visualize yourself standing in a sparsely populated forest. You see trees in every direction, spreading out into the distance, but each tree has a small radius of clear space around it. Paying closer attention to the trees, you see a mix of pine trees, their needle filled braches spreading down towards the ground in wide cones, and tall slender birches with leaves far above you. Your goal in this exercise is to ignite the birch trees and leave the thick pines untouched. It will be up to you to control your fire. It must be strong enough to hit and ignite your target, regardless of distance. It must also be focused and directed the right way to avoid collateral damage. Decide which tree you will aim for first.

Focus again on your inner flame. Connect with this energy until it feels ready to explode out from you. Imagine yourself standing with slightly bent legs. You shift to place your weight on one leg and the energy grows inside. With your other leg, you kick out towards the tree you've chosen as your first target. A blast of flame shoots out from the base of your foot, hurtling towards your tree. Does it connect? Does it ignite? Does it singe any nearby trees as it passes? This is up to you, as you explore raising and controlling this fire energy. Each time you perform the exercise, choose the tree you're aiming for, allow your inner drive and passion to build up, direct that energy towards your goal, and restrain the fire when needed. Spend a few minutes now practicing with fire.

Very good. You're getting in touch with many different forms of energy in your body, learning how to manipulate their strengths and weaknesses to accomplish your goals. Finally, it is time to explore the power of air. Air is calm, focus, and synergy. Like the other elements, it embodies some opposite tendencies, such as the ability to be completely passive or extremely forceful. To work with air, you must get in touch with both these ends of the spectrum within you, and discern when to use each to your advantage. Take a moment now to get in touch with air by focusing on your breath. Notice how you feel as a breath fills your body, as you pause after your inhale, and as the breath leaves your body.

Now imagine yourself standing in a field full of green grass and wildflowers. A lone tree stands before you, stretching up some 20 feet tall. You notice a bright hummingbird flitting around a tiny cup-shaped nest high in the tree's branches. Your goal with this exercise is to manipulate the air and control its energy enough to observe the hummingbird nest in detail. Take another deep breath as you stand still, paying attention to the air around you. Notice how completely still and peaceful the air feels, and yet how much power is practically vibrating under this calm surface. You begin to call on the energy of the air, summoning it to you. A minute breeze builds to a stronger wind. You reach your arms out to the sides and focus the power of the air between your outstretched hands. Very slowly bring your hands closer together, forcing the moving air into a tighter and tighter space, until the moving winds are contained in a spinning ball of air about 2 feet wide between your hands. When you are comfortable with the speed of the air ball in front of you, hoist yourself up so you are sitting on the ball. The air feels surprisingly stable beneath you. It is your attention and focus that directs this energy and makes it both support your weight and move towards your desired destination. You look back up to the nest above, and slowly begin guiding the spinning ball of air towards the branches with your concentration. If you get distracted, you notice the ball shift and falter beneath you. When you stay focused, you feel satisfaction in the smooth, comfortable movement of the air towards your goal.

Use your thoughts to guide the air towards the nest, holding you wherever you choose to stop so you can observe and explore. Notice as you practice how strong and powerful the air you control can be, and yet how calm the rest of the air around you remains. Remember that you can get in touch with either of these qualities whenever you wish. Take a few moments now to continue practicing with air.

You have now completed your exercises. You've had a chance to learn more about the strengths of each element, and to get in touch with the aspects of these elements within you. Remember you can always come back to any of these exercises individually when you want to get in touch with a specific elemental energy, or you can work through all of the exercises to improve your energy balance. Take a moment now to bring your attention back to your body in your room. Notice how you are feeling, mentally and physically. When you are ready, you can open your eyes.

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from Meditations for Geeks, released January 31, 2019

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Rhiannon's Lark Troy, New York

Rhiannon's Lark was created by Alyssa Yeager (sensual vocals, growly guitar, candy-coated ukulele) to express the reality of life as a geek, goddess, and girl. She brings gaming, fantasy, morality, and t-rexes together into a show that will comfort your ears, get you laughing, and possibly even make you think. ... more

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