Lesson from the Harley: It’s All About the Balance
Well of course, you might be thinking, on a motorcycle it HAS to be about the balance! On a Harley, it is delicate, minute by minute balance and if you lose your balance, the results could cost you your life. You must be aware of the balance constantly, adjusting for curves, twists, turns, potholes, bumps, other vehicles, stupid drivers, wind (ahhh yes, the wind), rain, debris, etc. Every second you are riding is a meditation on balance.
How many of us pay that much attention to the balance we must have in our everyday lives? Because there is no immediate threat of “life or death” as there is careening around a mountain curve at 45 mph on a Harley, we tend to put that meditation on every day balance in the very far reaches of our ever changing brains. The threat of “life or death” is very real though in balancing our every day lives and being.
Introverts gain energy from being in their heads. It is exhausting to “be on” and extrovert for long periods of time. However, that is the nature of our culture. Those of us who are introverts find our busy extroverted world tiring and energy sapping. It is difficult to stay on one’s toes and respond intelligently to conversation when we prefer to think something through deeply and put all of our thoughts and ideas into a rational completely formulated response before offering our opinions. But, if introverts lived inside their own heads all day every day, their inner calibration would begin to operate in a warped uneven unbalanced way because there would be no tension of differences which is critical to learning and growing.
Extroverts gain their energy from being outside their heads. All of their thoughts and ideas must be shared and responded to. It is energizing for them to “be on” and extrovert for long periods of time. It is tiring and boring for them to spend time in their heads. Extroverts love sharing thoughts and ideas, interrupting with new tangents to in-progress discussions, following thought threads wherever they lead. If extroverts lived outside themselves all day every day, their inner calibration would be just as warped, uneven, and unbalanced as the introvert living inside their heads because they would never get that chance to examine their cores which helps maintain a healthy individualism.
The trick is balance. The introvert must have enough extroversion to provide stimulus for new thoughts, ideas and information generation. The extrovert must have enough introversion to consider their opinions, feelings, beliefs, and values. They must have time to do important self-checks (heart, head, soul, body). Each of us is different and need different amounts of time to introvert and extrovert. If we don’t mindfully calibrate our personality needs, we will be in just as dangerous a situation as if we didn’t pay heed to the “Unexpected Curve Ahead” sign and roar into a 45 degree turn on a mountain road riding that Harley without slowing. Luckily, our bodies sometimes instinctively tell us what we must do.
Two of my adult children are working at a Colorado camp this summer. One is an introvert, the other an extrovert. Both recently had their bodies/minds/spirits tell them quite loudly that they were out of kilter and needed to recalibrate. Both needed to increase their introversion, however. The extroverted daughter had been sucking so much energy from her constant social work interactions and mixing that she was like an overloaded circuit, like a Harley zipping way too fast into that 45 degree turn without realizing it existed. She needed time to sort out all the stimuli she had been collecting, all the energy she had been storing and bleed some of it off so as not to hit the wall. The other daughter had been extroverting so much she had forgotten to take a walk into the woods alone, or find a quiet spot to chill alone. She had taken a few of these little breaks, but not on a regular basis. Introverts need that alone time daily.
We all must be aware of how much we can take of either introverting or extroverting. We must take the time to read our own signs of overload and create remedies to refuel. Being mindful in the moment on a Harley (mind on the motorcycle, in the moment) can save your life. Being mindful in the moment on yourself can also save your life.
How do you create the spaces you need in your day to introvert or extrovert? What is your best method of getting the energy you need to live in the overstimulating culture in which we live? How do you keep your mind in the moment?