By the time she reaches Bali, the final stage of her journey, she thinks she knows what it's all about: daily meditation, cycling through the sensual landscape of an island paradise and spending time with her spiritual mentor. In short, keeping things very, very simple.
She's miles away from the bold sexuality of Rome where her journey began or the ambitious cut and thrust of New York, home to her failed marriage. With so few distractions, control and discipline are easy. She has 'balance' - but she might as well have been walking a tight rope.
With a gust of wind from outside - a love affair that swept her off her feet - that calm, poise and peacefulness became fragile, breakable and vulnerable; she's suddenly afraid of falling.
What this shows so beautifully is that it's just not possible to exercise complete control over your life AND be a part of the real world, because when you're engaging with life to the full - really and truly taking part - stuff happens to you. And actually even if you're trying not to be an active participant, stuff still happens, good and bad. Relationships come and go, work stress rises and falls and numerous temptations, problems and distractions appear to knock us off balance.
This means that seeking a permanent state of perfect equilibrium is a tall order. A more useful skill - and a kinder one too - is being able to notice when you're off balance and then knowing how to steady yourself.
By paying attention to your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual state, you'll know when action is required - and by checking in with yourself regularly, that action can take the form of gentle adjustments rather than a seismic shift to get yourself back on track.
Balance takes practice and some days, you'll be better at it than others, but here are a few thoughts that could make it easier.
TAKE A DEEP BREATH
Breathing is not a revolutionary new concept and this suggestion is unlikely to be breaking news, but breathing properly - actually doing it - can make a world of difference. So take a few long, slow, deep breaths - ones that go right down into your stomach.
That oxygen hit affects every part of the body, eliminating toxins, revitalising organs, cells and tissue and reducing stress. It unifies the body, steadying the heart rate, inviting a sense of calm and relieving tension. It's so much harder to make a wrong decision when your breathe properly.
BE A GOOD LISTENER
Once you've taken a few deep breaths, feel your heartbeat. It provides the body's dominant rhythm and synchronises every part of you, so tune in and ask: What do I need NOW to feel more balanced? And then listen to the answer.
It may be a conversation that's required, a moment to yourself, a cup of tea, a hug, a session at the gym, a night in or an evening out. Your answer might involve ending a relationship, finding a new job or simply spending time with someone who loves you.
Needs may change on an hourly basis, but the benefits of listening - and responding - to yourself will be constant.
GET SOME PERSPECTIVE
Take a step back and look at your life as a whole. How do the most important aspects of it balance out?
It may help to divide it up under a few headings, for example:
- Romantic relationships
- Health & Fitness
- Work & Money
- Personal development
- Social life
A few small changes might be all that's required to make a big difference.