As an avid yogi and meditator, I am endlessly reminded- by my practice, my mantra, and my soul- to favor mindfulness. As someone with an unmistakable “A-type” personality, I am persistently intense. And as most of us know, intensity doesn’t always yield good balance.

I have known the power of appropriately balancing “personal” versus “public” energy for quite some time now. Public energy, I am told, is for my day-to-day life: my job, my social calendar, and my relationships. Personal energy is for me.

The difference between personal and public energy was first described to me as a lake. On the surface, the lake looks still. It feels as if it does not move. Yet, at one end, there is a waterfall. The movement of the waterfall requires the stillness of the lake. Without one, you cannot have the other.

What I have recently come to know is the power of “the middle gear.” The middle gear represents an energy level at which one operates at equilibrium. With a middle gear, personal and public energy complement each other rather than compensate for each other. Sounds easy enough, right? Don’t push yourself too hard, but remember to stay away from laziness. Well, to someone like me, explaining the middle gear is one thing; living it is another.

I don’t always realize I’m pushing myself too hard until after I crash. And it isn’t always enough to think about the middle gear because for me, just thinking about balance quickly escalates into strictly mandating, regulating, and even, forcing balance. Sternly and unforgivingly practicing “effort and ease” is not only exhausting but also contradictory. A relaxing yoga class doesn’t really serve an appropriate purpose if all it does is satisfy a self-imposed need to adhere to a strict yoga schedule.

Adding a “middle-gear” to one’s life creates the option to move at 50mph, not just zero or 100. It makes living with effort and ease easier.

Maddy Beauregard | Boston, MA