I was recently at a three-day athletic development workshop contorting and pushing my body with the goal of expanding its awareness and evolution. Fighting monkey the group behind my happy misery are called. I absolutely love their practice and how it inspires mine.

So there we were, 50 or so people working on a particular exercise that was in partnership and involved a stringed tennis ball. The rules were simple, stand on one foot while your partner moved the ball, vertically, horizontally, diagonally, elliptically, the potentials were endless. You, in turn, have to follow these slow and fast and unpredictable movements of the ball with your eyes and slight adjustments to your face and body. Through this exercise, I learnt three important things.

1. Finding your balance needs training

Watching more advanced practitioners demonstrate, they made it look so easy as they moved and swayed in an unsteady rhythm. Theirs was a far cry from my own discomfort out of balance and constant seeking of the balance of touching my raised feet to the ground to restabilise myself. My first attempt was also a far cry from that of the next hours and days since.

2. Balance does not exist solely in standing still

Balance is not static. We can find our balance in various moments, even when we are out of the usual balance of our centre. I have since concluded that we have many potential centres and many layers of balance.

Another way to say this is that the balance in stillness is just as important as balance in flow. And our fast rhythm of modern life, as unpredictable as can be, requires more than ever, the equilibrium of balance.

3. Balance is greatly aided by your ability to be adaptable

Stiffening my body was a sure sign of crashing down with both feet planted. But using my arms and raised leg to counterbalance, as I swayed in tune and against the contortions of my body to find my balance, allowed me to access depths of unbalanced balance.

The key was to be fluid, flowing with and against the currents making subtle adjustments required of every moment. Stiffen, you will fall. Lean too far in any one direction, you will fall. Sway and find your centre through every experience, you stay in balance.

I have recently been struggling with balance in my own life. Within this struggle, I wished for my last experience of balance.

I had a steady paycheque, my daily routines and practice, all of which contributed to a stability that aided a personal growth journey. I had basically hacked life, that was until life had other plans for me and it was time to follow a ball that was taking my gaze elsewhere.

So I moved, and with this, I found a new balance, this time as an entrepreneur, founder, speaker and author. Juggling many projects including a complete change in lifestyle had its challenges, but I thrived.

A book was being written and words were flowing, global travels abound, and I had the pleasure to walk every step of the way with my beloved. Jusqu’ici, tout va bien. Then the ball went erratic. I stopped liking my own words and the story I was telling, wedding planning was testing my sanity, I started indulging in unkindness born out of the frustration of imbalance.

I was floundering and instead of finding a new balance, I started to seek the stability of the past, missing the balance I had mastered. That was until I decided to stop struggling, and start focusing on tuning into my flow and the life-long practice that is to find one’s balance.

I have recently been experiencing the incredible impact of finding the peace of knowing and remembering that I am exactly where I am, by extension, I am exactly where I am meant to be. And that my balance is to be found in the truth of the learning that is taking place. The truth of constantly finding my centre—my peace, until the ball moves again and the learning continues.  With practice, my ability to dance into balance will inadvertently increase. For it is the rule of practice. It is the rule of play.

What is your practice to find your balance? It could be physical, mental or spiritual, for each sphere in balance greatly influences the balance of the whole. And the three in balance I experience as soaring. 

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  • Chidiogo Akunyili is the Founder of She ROARs - Reimagining Our Africa Rising — empowering women across Africa to unleash their full potential and that of the continent. She is a writer, storyteller, and movement builder who is impacting global narrative based in her belief and championship of the power of people to change the world. Her philosophy is founded on the humanist African concept of Ubuntu — 'I am because you are. You are because we are’ — upholding and celebrating our shared humanity. Akunyili believes in supporting individuals, particularly women and youth, to reaching their full potential which in turn will serve humanity. Having lived and worked across 5 continents, Chidiogo speaks 7 of the world's languages including Chinese, English, French, German, Igbo, Italian and Spanish — invaluable tools that bridge lives, people and their global realities. She is a World Economic Forum Global Leadership Fellow; and Associate Fellow of Nigerian Leadership Initiative. She was named ‘100 most inspiring women in Nigeria’ by The Guardian; ‘100 most influential Young Africans’ by Africa Youth Awards; ‘100 most Influential Nigerians’ by Avance Media; and ‘Young Professional of the Year’ by Future Awards Africa. Akunyili draws from over 10 years of professional experience in Community building; Business development; Intercultural dialogue; Sino-African relations & Strategy consulting having lived and worked across Africa, the Middle East, Asia, North America and Europe. Chidiogo most recently led the Global Shapers Community — a community of inspiring young change makers — across over 120 Hub cities in Africa and the Middle East. Chidiogo has been published in local and international media including Public Diplomacy Magazine; World Economic Forum Agenda; Institute for Cultural Diplomacy; Trop Libre; Pulse Nigeria; All Africa, The Guardian and The Huffington Post. You can read her stories on chidiogo.org B.A. International Relations & Political Science, UPenn & Sciences Po Paris; M.A. International Relations & Economics, SAIS Johns Hopkins; Executive Leadership Program, Master in Global Leadership, World Economic Forum with certificates from INSEAD, Columbia University, Wharton School, London Business School, China Europe International Business School, and Cornell Tech.