I’ve always been a clumsy kid. Growing up, I’d trip over things, bump my toes or knees on walls or chairs. I once fell down a flight of stairs and had my left leg wrapped in a cast for two weeks. There was always something off about my balance. Nowadays, balance doesn’t always mean how I can keep my body upright or walk without tripping over. Balance now translates to the kind of life I live and how I make sense of the chaos of living in a fast-paced world. Through the years, I’ve learned the hard way why having less is more; when to say no; and when to back off when you’ve reached your limit — and keeping a good balance always had a part to play.

Such is the case when I first tried yoga on a stand-up paddle board (SUP) back in summer this year. Introduced by my friend and yoga teacher Lalah of Aquanimous Yoga, SUP Yoga challenged the way I see how balance is achieved. Physically, it was work, but the real work was in my thoughts.

It’s disheartening how our thoughts have power over what we can and cannot do. Sometimes we do not recognize that our bodies have a natural way of doing things such as how it can distribute our weight equally for us not to fall or how it straightens our backs for us to stand tall and reach high. As in the case of moving on a paddle board while floating on water, it came quite easy when I let go of the fear of falling and let the water and my body move with my breath. And there I flowed, not like water (because c’mon, it’s my first time!), but unafraid and uninhibited.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Mikaela Amador (@mikaelaamador) on

By thinking less and being aware of the present moment, I was able to let myself move and do more. But perhaps having less does not only apply to our thoughts, but also to where we are.

Earlier this year, I began a conscious effort to declutter my home. Before, I only do it a day after Christmas or before the New Year. Nowadays, I do it every 2 weeks, to help me manage my small living space more efficiently. The first ones to go were my books and then my clothes. I started giving them away or selling them. Of course, I couldn’t let go of ALL my books. I’ve carefully chosen to retain those that are essential to my everyday life (the ones I still read from time to time); and some local publications because it’s always good to support and love our own.

Balance is still key, even when it comes to the things I am passionate about.

Once in a while, I do tip the scale and I lose my balance. I may fall but I always choose to find a way back in any circumstance. It’s all we can do, really. With the constant stream of change, how can we stay afloat? How can we be sure that we don’t get drowned with the excesses that comes with everyday life?

Life is a balance between what we can control and what we cannot. I am learning to live between effort and surrender. – Danielle Orner