Have you ever been to a circus with acrobats and jugglers? In a circus that someone balances in a tightrope with the help of a stick that he holds in his hands or without any help at all? In a circus where there are jugglers who can hold 3,4,5 or even more balls in the air? In a circus where the juggler juggles the pins while riding a unicycle? In a circus where two, three or more acrobats jump perfectly synchronized from a swing to a swing many meters above the ground? In a circus where dozens of acrobats slowly form with their bodies a multi-store tower?
I had been in one years ago. I still remember the feeling of admiration, the adrenaline and the stress I felt when all these different acrobats executed their act. I was repeating the different performances inside my head again and again after the end of the show, realising how impossibly difficult it was for them to keep their balance. What a great show!
The title of this article may give you a hint on where I’m going with this. 

Life Is A Circus.

Life is a circus and we are the acrobats. But we do not make just one single act. You do not just balance on the tightrope. We must keep the juggling balls (or the pins) in the air, fly” in the air from one swing to another and trust that the other acrobat will not let us fall, and keep our balance, while others rely on us to keep them from falling. That’s what we are asked to do. Think about it!

Balance on the tightrope = Balance between our "wants" and our "musts".

During the acrobat’s walk on the tightrope, he experiences weight pressures both from his left and his right side. If he loses his balance between the two, then he will fall. The same occurs to us. We get pressured from the things we want” to do and from those we must” do. If we do not find the balance between them then we will not be able to move forward. Ask yourself 5 times Why” you want or you have to do anything in order to better understand what is the real force hidden behind.

Juggling pins = Juggling different responsibilities.

See the responsibilities as the pins that the juggler holds in the air. You have 24 hours given every day and it is up to you to allocate them between your responsibilities. If you give more or less time to any of those, then you will drop them. Additionally, you have to be reasonable on how many you choose to undertake each moment, because one more could bring all of them down.

Acrobats from swing to swing = Balance and respect with our environment.

My favorite act is where the various acrobats jump from swing to swing as if they are flying in the air. Each one of them dances” on his own in the air and eventually they all come together in a synchronised manner and present to us an unforgettable beautiful and harmonious choreography. The basic feature shared by the acrobats of such a successful dance” is respect for others. Any imbalance of one can crush them all. 
The acrobats in our life are:
  • One acrobat is our natural environment. The mountains, the forests, the rivers, the seas and everything else. On an individual level, you have to respect nature, as the slightest carelessness towards it can be fatal. Many people have been injured or lost in their carelessness at sea, the mountain, etc. On a team level, we must respect nature because its gradual destruction leads to our own gradual destruction. A simple and common unfortunate example in Greece is the burnt forests and paved rivers that lead to floods.
  • The other acrobat is the society we live in. I do not mean to follow anything that someone tells you just because he tells you to. Question everything. But respect everyone as well. We still drive while we are drunk, but someone drunk can hit you or someone you love. We still smoke indoors or support such behavior without realizing that we are allowing or even reinforcing a form of harassment. We still don’t care of another’s misfortune, as many people were delighted with redundancies at the beginning of the economic crisis believing that those who were fired they deserved it”, without seeing that the next ones who will be fired are themselves. It is very easy to look at ourselves and not really care about the problems of the people next to us, but we are fooling ourselves if we think the problems will not come to us too. If we do not stop the fire at the house of our neighbor, then the fire will pass to our home.

Human tower = Balance with our thoughts and values.

The acrobats forming the human tower do not randomly form the tower. There is a plan that says which acrobat will take each position in order to form the greatest tower as a team. The strongest and most stable are forming the foundations. The most lean and flexible are at the top. Only together they can perform this incredibly difficult act.
These acrobats in the circus of our lives are our thoughts and values. We need strong and stable values and thoughts on the foundations of our mind. On top of them, we can then add more flexible” ones. Those that will help us reach new heights. If we have only big” thoughts and values then we will go no higher than the first floor” of our tower. If we only have the others, we will not even be able to start this tower. In any case, we need a balance in our beliefs and values to gradually build a tower worth of a record! Also, it would be good to have the clarity to see when an acrobat / thought is toxic and dangerous as it can easily break down what we have built with so much effort. There are many unemployed acrobats”out there that deserve to give them an opportunity, instead of sustaining the acrobat of selfishness, hatred, fear, jealousy and all other negative emotions.

What is the act of our lives?

There has not yet been a show in a circus where the acrobat’s act consists of all of the above acts simultaneously. In the circus that we call life” there is! Each one of us is asked every day to find a balance between his wants” and musts”, his responsibilities, the environment in which he lives in and, above all, in himself.

And what if we lose our balance?

The acrobat will fall and he will get up many times until he can do the act. Even if he learns how to do it, he may fall again and again. He may be injured, be afraid for some time or even stop any effort eventually. The same applies to us. I do not need to tell you how difficult it is to find the balance in all of the above. You may have already fallen, when you lost your balance at some point. I have lost it many times for sure. Sometimes I ended up at the hospital literally because of this imbalance”. However, falling is part of the show. It is something we will go through many times. But from each and every fall we learn something more about life and how to navigate through it.

How can we protect ourselves?

Fortunately, there is usually a net protecting the acrobat from falling to the ground. Without it, no acrobat would try anything. It would be very dangerous. So, you too, in order to make your amazing performance, you have to knit your protective net . That is the people that surround you. They are your real interpersonal relationships . Relations with your family, friends, colleagues, neighbors. All those people who, when you are with your back facing the ground, will stand by you, will be there to hold you, to give you a helping hand, to support you get your thoughts together so you can resume act. Do not forget them and do not take them for granted. Moreover, separate those who really deserve it from those who seem” right, but when you need them they will turn their back on you. You have made a lot of effort on your acrobatics to worry whether the net will hold you when you fall or will be torn and drop you on the ground!

"It is not who you are that holds you back, It is who you think you are not."

Denis Waitley

Last words before you carry on with your workout.

Finding the balance at all levels of our lives is essential. It seems impossible to do it. But we can try. It is worth striving to become better at our unique, scary, amazingly hard stunt! If we do not try, then we will stay behind the scenes and the show will finish without us actually participating.
I want to leave you with one last thought. Relax! Life is a circus and we go to the circus to get entertained. Do not take everything seriously. Sometimes try to smile longer and be the clown!: P

Are you in Athens? Let your Erratic Compass guide you!

Join us and experience Athens in a truly unique way!

Erratic Compass