When I meditate I begin by focusing on the solid things that surround me. The ground on which my feet rest. The knee bones and flesh and skin on which my wrists rest. These things create a stable platform on which I can build.
As I become aware of my body the sense that one side outweighs the other comes in clear and strong. My left thigh has shrunk to child-size in the shadow of my right thigh. I feel as though my right wrist is sitting inches higher than my left as it rests on my knee. Following the sensation, it becomes clear that the entire right side of my body is dwarfing the left side, my right shoulder sits higher in its socket, my right buttock seems more solid and stable and larger than the left. I am not tipping or leaning and there is no clear divide between the two halves of my body, they are simply vastly different in size. The right side seems somehow more real.
The mother/wife side of me is more real, too. It is the side to which I default. When life overwhelms, the 'self' side of me shrinks and its priorities drop off. The personal chef, chauffer, tender of wounds, anticipator of crisis looms large and strong and solid and dwarfs the side of me that craves quiet, solace, peace and predictability. I have long known that the mother/wife side of me draws on the strength and reserves of the other side for its nourishment.
Inevitably, the smaller the self side becomes, the less capable the mother/wife side becomes of coping. Speed bumps bloom into Himalayan mountain peaks, potholes become sinkholes. My teeth grind, my jaw aches, tears flow. The strength contained in the "Right" side of me is spent in flares of anger and I expend my energy in small, chaotic bursts instead of pacing myself for the long haul.
The "Right" side believes that there is a correct way to address every problem. She is certain that if something is not going well, she has chosen the Wrong solution and it will be necessary to try again. The Right side is drunk on its power; the ability to clean up messes, kiss away hurts, anticipate collisions and divert them. The left side, the self side, sits and patiently waits.
If my self is a perfect sphere of Yin and Yang, the walls between the two sides are permeable, but only one way. The self side feeds the do-er side until is depleted and when the mommy/wife side is incapable of functioning any longer, I am forced to stop and re-evaluate. The side that feeds me is itself fed from within. If I imagine a small speck inside and relax enough to allow it to open up, the hidden spring is awakened.
So I sit in silence. I am aware of the imbalance and am awed by the quiet patience of my left side. It knows it will be fed. It waits for the moment when I can re-examine what is truly important to me: writing, meditating, exercising, finding peace and perspective. It does not judge or even measure how long it took me to recognize the disparity this time. It has a sense of self that is not affected its relative size or list of accomplishments.
If I continue to practice this awareness and choose to let my soul side fill up regularly, the discrepancy between my two sides will gradually diminish. It is a wonder to me that all it takes is several moments of silence to show me why my right shoulder is stiff and painful, the fingers of my right hand tingle throughout the day, my head aches at night. When the balance is restored the aches go away and, for a while, I will be even again.