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  • Writer's pictureTraci Barrios

Find your Center

Last January, while enjoying a little beach time in Guatemala, I decided that this 46-year-old should get out there and learn something new, so I gave surfing a try. I’ll never forget the day that my surf instructor met me and asked if I had any experience and I openly admitted that I had none. Within minutes, we were hauling a surfboard to the beach and he was giving me some beach side instruction on how it would go once we got in the water. So, I learned the fundamentals. He gave me instruction on where to place my feet how to “pop up“ upon his signal, and how to keep my knees bent, and my body low to the board to maintain balance. After practicing a bit, we were ready to hit the waves! I’ll admit…I was excited and terrified as we ventured into the water with a board strapped to my ankle and him instructing me to get on the board and wait for his signal that the right wave was coming. I excitedly popped up when that first wave hit and quickly fell backward into the water. Over and over and over again I popped up, and I fell. And all the while, he encouraged me with the phrase “busca tu centro“ which translates to “find your center”. Now while I got up once or twice in the hour-long session, I was happy with my progress and already feeling the soreness of using muscles I may very well have never used before. And as we walk back to the surf camp, he said in Spanish “well, maybe you don’t have a center“ and while we both belly laughed at the sheer thought that I had absolutely no balance anywhere in my body, I realized that, despite my apparent lack of physical balance, I had had fun and done some thing that I’d never done before! Now, nearly 2 years later, I laugh with my friends, family, and that same instructor who became a cherished friend, about my lack of having a “center” and it causes me to reflect on not just my physical balance, but my mental, emotional, spiritual, and all other forms of balance, that I need not just to succeed at surfing, but to learn new things, to adapt, to live well. So I wonder, how do you find balance? How do you center yourself? Whether you’re going through a difficult time or really thriving, how do you experience balance? Maybe, on some level, I will always pursue my center, within myself, within a higher power, within my deep connections with others.

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