I was reading earlier today, while waiting for the ferry, in the pocket size Pema Chodron book Awakening Loving-Kindness which I carry in my bag. I was reading about the Buddhist idea of practicing gratitude for our precious human birth. The idea is that we are supremely fortunate to experience these human lives, which are neither relentlessly painful nor numbingly comfortable. We are in the ideal environment, the optimal circumstance, for growth and awakening. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, this little zone of potential on the continuum between comfort and pain. We hear a lot about "getting out of our comfort zone" and "finding our edge," but it's easy to forget the delicacy and sense of equilibrium needed to find the growth zone instead of just pushing right into pain. In our culture we seem to hold both the ideal of luxuriating in comfort and the ideal of aggressive ambition. Many of us end up in a cycle of alternating workaholism and indulgence in pursuit of these ideals, then wonder why we're not growing or experiencing fulfillment. It's a fine balance, finding that sweet spot, the zone of growth. The physical practice of yoga can teach us; we find the ease and energy in the pose when we push ourselves enough but not too much. Paying close attention to the cycles of nature can teach us; sometimes tuning in to the natural equilibrium around us all the time just knocks me down with awe. Most of all we can learn by listening deeply to our own intuition and body wisdom. Where have you found your zone of growth? What practices do you use to nurture equilibrium?