More about being comfortable with being out of balance

I’ve been feeling citation guilt over my blog entry the other day about tightrope walkers, so I decided to go on a hunt for the original source.  Amazingly, I found that my recollection of the source was right.  It came from a blog entry from Andrew Taylor, the oh-so-smart human behind The Artful Manager blog.

I happen to be lucky enough to have studied under Andrew at the oh-so-awesome Bolz Center for Arts Administration, and Andrew’s blog posts constantly challenge me to get my feet out of mud (routine) and place my head into the clouds (systemic/theoretical thought).  This can be either a good or bad thing, depending on the situation, but generally, it reveals something profound about the work I do. I speak of the daily, grinding, get-through-my-meetings-and-emails-and-then-wonder-just-what-I-accomplished kind of work.  Seth Godin calls it the lizard brain.  It’s that incredible gravitational pull toward bureacracy and group-think, which sometimes (not always) are the anathema of creativity.  And by the way, I believe that administrators are every bit as creative as the artists we support.  Go ahead, commence throwing stones at me.  I can take it.

Anyway, I digress.  We were talking about a certain blog entry that Andrew wrote where he mentioned seeing a PBS special that featuring a tightrope walker named Janine Antoni.  She spoke eloquently about being “out of balance.”  So, here’s the video that shows her doing her work.

And here’s the quote, that says it all better than I ever could:

So I practiced tightroping for about an hour a day and after about a week I started to feel like I’m now getting my balance. And as I was walking I started to notice that it wasn’t that I was getting more balanced, but that I was getting more comfortable with being out of balance. I would let the pendulum swing a little bit further and rather than getting nervous and overcompensating by leaning too much to one side I could compensate just enough. And I thought, I wish I could do that in my life when things are getting out of balance. You know when you have a hard day and one bad thing happens after another? I sort of learned that I could just breathe in and sort of set myself back up onto the rope.

So, I leave you with that.  I hope it’s a good “head in the clouds” moment for those who read this.  It’s defnitely helped me.

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