• Maggie Shayne

Balance is an Illusion




Blessed Mabon! Last evening, I captured the final sunset of summer. The Autumnal Equinox takes place at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time this very morning (22 September.)



A time of balance?

Some celebrate the equinoxes as times of balance, and use their energy to try to re-balance themselves and their lives. I’ve been mulling on this and coming to a new understanding, for me, that balance isn’t a real thing. It’s a passing illusion. The actual point of balance, the moment of the equinox, is not still. Time does not stop or even pause at the moment of perfect balance. Time merely crosses the balance point, to return to imbalance again. Summer becomes fall. There’s no stillness in between. The seasons flow in smooth rhythm from one to the next.



There is no balance, only change

All of life is like that. Moments of actual balance are actually transition points. They are portals. They are the very essence of change. They are powerful in-between times. The moment of the Autumnal Equinox is an instant of powerful time in between summer and fall. The moment, in fact, when summer turns to fall.



Balance is an illusion. No one can offer equal attention to numerous things at the same time. Even a juggler always has one object in his hand while others are airborne. One task must always move to the top of our pile. One experience always gets the majority of our attention. Even multi-taskers give priority to one thing over the rest. We flow from one idea, one focus, to the next in smooth succession. We are never perfectly, equally focused on more than one thing at a time. One thing moves to the front of our minds while the others hoover around us as background noise.



Be easy on yourself about this notion of balance. In nature, most moments are one thing or another. Day or night. Winter or spring. Summer or fall. Points of balance are rare and fleeting. They flash on and off again faster than a lightning bug’s glow.

Embrace the shift


Rather than focusing on trying to be balanced, my focus is on embracing the shift. My energy shifts from the old into the new. My focus shifts from growth to harvest. My wardrobe shifts from shorts and t-shirts to leggings and sweaters, from bare feet to tall boots. The leaves on the trees where I live shift from green to red, purple, orange, yellow, russet, and every color in between. We wake to frost on the ground.

Yesterday we had to drive to town for an errand. We’ve had 3 successive overnight frosts, and the trees have burst into their full glory. For the past two autumns, the foliage has been dull and unimpressive to me. But this year, fall is back in top form. The scenes that opened out before my eyes as we drove along had me near tears, it is so stunning. I’ll have more photos soon. I’m a shutter bug this time of year.



It’s not the balance. It’s the change that is the magic. Not standing still, balancing on the point of a needle. But changing, adapting, evolving, growing, expanding, shifting, learning, becoming, always becoming more than we were before.



I’m more at the end of summer than I was at the beginning. I appreciate every bit of growth this summer brought to me. I’m thinking about all the ways I’ve evolved since spring, and really ponder and “appreciate” (to increase in value) them. I want to get the full understanding from each thing I’ve learned. Kind of catalogue it all in my mind.


Take time to process


It’s Mabon. A time to process and put to use all the growth of the summer just gone by, with deep gratitude and ongoing appreciation. Here is an easy, solitary ritual to honor the growth of summer and turn our attention to using that growth as we enter this beautiful autumn.


The final sunset of summer 2020