The secret to finding my equilibrium wasn’t in becoming more grounded, it was in the big Pacific Ocean.
Any type of drishti will ultimately have you experiencing two of the eight limbs of yoga described by Patanjali.
Balance has never been my strong suit. As a child, my vestibular system was so off kilter, I spontaneously fell off stools and chairs like a pint-sized barfly after last call. Walking through doorways was like threading a needle. Physical therapy helped, but the gangly coltishness of adolescence made for another round of clumsy bumps and bruises.
When I got into yoga in my teens and twenties, it was a relief when my teachers asked us to find drishti—a fixed point against which to orient my body and mind while trying to stick tricky balance poses such as Natarajasana (Lord of the Dance Pose), Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose), and Vrksasana (Tree Pose). Finding an external concentration point made it easier to keep my body steady and stable. Or at the very least, it made it easier to detect when I was about to tip over.
As an adult, I struggled to find balance of a different sort. I was as lacking in emotional equilibrium as I had been in grace as a child. My twenties were a murky gyre of unsuitable men, anxiety, depression, and more whiskey than I’d like to admit. It wasn’t that I lacked focus—I simply couldn’t seem to find the right thing to fix my ambitions upon. Every wobble, whether in love or work or family life, made me doubt myself a little more.