The BALANCE of power
Do you ever get that feeling that your brain is being pulled in two opposite directions, both equal in force?
I don’t just mean that you have two big projects demanding your time and attention. I mean that you are facing a dramatic mental gear shift in order to facilitate completely different activities.
It’s a bit like trying to get the baby ready at the same time as getting dressed for the office. Or trying to wrap up a meeting so that you can get home before your young children go to bed.
The skills we need in life are many and varied. Sometimes –controversially – they are characterised as feminine and masculine energy. These are different sources of power but each is equally important and put together with the right balance give us the potential to move mountains, or at the very least hold our lives together along with our sanity.
I’ve raised three children and in that time I have been a news presenter, a foreign correspondent and a current affairs reporter before becoming a publisher, so it stands to reason I have had to try and get this equation right. I have often failed - particularly as motherhood commenced.
Over the years this balance has slowly come together but I learned my lessons the hard way. During the Kosovo conflict I was in the Macedonian refugee camps while six weeks pregnant and when the Twin Towers terrorist attack happened I had three young children watching TV at home while I drove with two producers from Miami to New York.
In those days changing gear meant closing down one side of my mind. Blocking out whatever thoughts I did not need for the activity of the moment. These days I can switch from one energy to another much more easily through meditation, exercise and yoga. It was my yoga teacher, Jacky Lampl, who wrote the side bar to this piece, who once said to me achievement isn’t easy – it’s meant to be hard.
So in the Autumn of last year I ended up with the mother of all gear changes. On the Sunday I was competing in the Huntsman Triathlon and on the Monday I was in a lingerie shoot for the Daily Mail which had asked me to write a feature on lingerie for older women. “Would I mind doing the modelling?” they asked.
There were practical difficulties. Would my fake tan come off on my wet suit when I swam the lake in the triathlon? Would I come off my bike and scar my legs on the bike ride…and most importantly how was I going to get my race number off my arms and legs when it had been put on with a semi-tattoo method (the make-up artist used a brillo pad).
These were all side issues to the main event which was how to change gear mentally from two very different activities.
I did it by keeping calm and having a clear mind. This is built on a basis of daily meditation enhanced with mindfulness. The answer to this kind of physical exertion and performance on two different levels is not only in your body, but in your mind. The benefits of exercise, nutrition and fresh air are well known but a calm focused mind is how to achieve balance and therefore potential.
Why do this? Well, matching physical and mental strength with an enjoyment of activities which seem at opposite ends of the spectrum leads to the balance which can release our potential. It means I stretch myself physically and mentally.
I am not an athlete. I am not even an exercise addict and I have not been a size eight since I was eight. Yet, developing a strong mind and body while retaining a love of things I regard as inherently feminine has led to resilience which means I can face challenges – maybe not with ease – but without falling in a heap.
And that, is something we all need.
Yoga Instructor Jacky Lampl explains how the real balance of power is within ourselves and in how we exert our energy.
Our world consists of opposites, as there can be no light without darkness nor heat without cold, or highs without lows. This holds true for both feminine and masculine energy which all of us, both men and women, contain.
Unconsciously, we all move through a broad spectrum of these two energies to feel complete and in balance. Usually, we do this without being aware of which energy is dominant. However, to step into the light of your full potential it is an idea to have greater awareness of the different energies. Crucially, it is important to realize that neither energy is superior to the other, though they are inherently different.
While masculine energy stands for traits such as logic, rational and analytical thinking, structure, thriving, competing, power, being outgoing and taking action. Feminine energy stands for passion, playfulness, being in tune with your emotions, being free flowing, creative, receiving and caring.
All of us flow seamlessly from one type of energy to another, yet most of us have a natural inclination or preference for one of the energy types. Choosing to focus on the qualities of one kind of energy makes life less interesting and may stop us from reaching our potential.
It is important to realise that some men can exert predominantly feminine energy and some woman largely male energy. Also, the balance is sure to fluctuate all the time.
By being conscious of our behavior we can improve our ability to reach our goals with less effort. This mindset helps us reach our goals, and makes it easier to feel the love and passion without draining our energy.