Tag Archives: balance

Scales Without Balance

“If we think of life as a kind of Olympic games, some of life’s crises are sprints. They require maximum emotional concentration for a short time. Then they are over, and life returns to normal. But other crises are distance events. They ask us to maintain our concentration over a much longer period of time, and that can be a lot harder.”                                                                                                    —Harold S. Kushner

I am deeply troubled these days. I’m blinded by unjust suffering on a global scale and I watch the escalating pain of family and friends from a very personal perspective.

How did our calibration fall so far out of balance? Why must genuinely sweet souls be forced to endure sustained agony while those with evil, black hearts are permitted to swim free in a sea of avarice and insensitivity?

I will never understand the fundamental human hardwiring that values greed and excess over common decency and the general welfare of others. It is a pandemic virus without a cure, and it’s systematically infecting our brains with frightening speed and alarming accuracy.

So…why do bad things happen to good people? Is there really no karmic system in place to level the playing field? Is everything simply randomized chaos without even the hint of some justified cause or effect?

This nightmarish scenario certainly frames society in a context that would cause the vast majority to squirm in their seats, and that’s not even taking into account the titanic religious implications in the lives of those who truly believe there is a grand master plan at play.

As hard as it might be to wrap your head around the fact that we’ll probably not get to the roots of the “meaning of life” debate during this short post, it’s worth considering that our own backyards are the only ones we can clean, and acts of kindness and generosity can easily be distributed one day (and to one person) at a time.

Your pain is never as severe as someone else’s. Your financial situation is never as dire. But your success is never as impressive, and your status is merely an illusion devised by your artificially-inflated ego.

Take a step back and take a step down. We are forgoing a sense of community and compassion at a disturbingly breakneck pace. It might be wise to take stock of what’s truly important…before it’s all lost.

Adolescence Interrupted

Advertisements

Chasing a Moving Marker

When I’m left with my own thoughts in the quieter moments of the night, I can’t help but look at the miles I’ve logged on this marathon and wonder where it ends. Is there some perfectly painted finish line that will welcome me with open arms? Or is every step its own achievement?

Some would posit that if you wake up in the morning and take a deep breath, it is a reminder that you are here for a reason. Every day is a gift, each moment another opportunity, etc. I suppose there’s some merit to that sentiment, but a proponent of the macrocosmic perspective would argue that the mundanity and daily minutiae are worthless without some greater result. It doesn’t much matter how many hours you spend in the woodshop if you never make a chair.

I suppose I’m fairly split. While finding satisfaction in daily victories is critically important to properly nurture the soul, looking back at a life that didn’t create some substantial impact would feel like a monumental waste of roughly eight decades. Perhaps, like most things, there’s some balance to be struck.

Also, the actions we take and decisions we make may not permanently transform the planet, but they can deeply affect someone else’s life—for better or worse. I’m reminded of the Dr. Seuss quote:

“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”

Sometimes our choices have a ripple effect that we’ll never know or even understand.

So maybe it’s best to stop looking back at those starting blocks or too far ahead at some figurative finish line. Even if the present moment is wrapped in doubt, pain, or regret, it’s worth acknowledging…before it’s gone.

Adolescence Interrupted 

Nurture Thy Soul

Every once in a while, the static seems to settle and we’re able to lock into moments of perfectly positioned peace. Granted, this is not a regular visitor. But when we can turn down the volume of that incessant buzzing in the backs of our brains to experience a few drops of weightless, unadulterated alignment with our surroundings, those fleeting flashes are worth their weight in gold.

This fulfillment-making formula doesn’t require complicated planning or lavish accommodations. It’s simply a matter of exposing the root of what makes us smile, and then letting it get the sunlight it needs to grow. This varies wildly from person to person, and sometimes the simplest set of variables generates the most significant results.

Personally, I know a perfect balance of music, film, safety, isolation, and an empty to-do list can rocket me to a sweet spot of contentment faster than a rowdy party or noisy get-together, but everyone is different. I also savor the depletion following exercise-induced highs. The more introverted energy that can be generated from easy, unrestricted breathing and the simple gift of letting my body buckle from exertion, the more it resembles a reward from work well done.

Perhaps I wanted to write about this particular recent event because it is such a rare phenomenon. It’s hard to remember the last time I felt like I could lower the defensive shields and clear my mind. It takes a very specific set of circumstances. So when that wave of pure tranquility unexpectedly washed over me a few days ago, its presence was noted.

Unfortunately, like all waves, it receded as quickly as it arrived. But the cognizance of its normally yeti-like existence helped reorganize the possibility in my mind for its return. Life can’t be all candy, but we should try to take the taffy when it’s offered.

Adolescence Interrupted

In Fits and Starts

bumps

Momentum is a dynamic thing. Valleys frequently follow hilltops, and there’s little we can do but ride the coaster. Positivity, focus, and motivation are excellent emotional catalysts, but the globe spins to its own drum beat, regardless of how many laws of attraction are added to our daily to-do lists. We can angst and fret and project and stress, or we can release what is beyond our control and wait to catch the next wave. The universal laws of balance have a way of working themselves out.

This is a classic “practice what you preach” cautionary tale, and it’s one I should shoot into my earholes post-haste. Who are these people who think about impending events the day before they occur, instead of months in advance? How are these unicorns bred to simply and casually adapt to unforeseen circumstances, as opposed to methodically planning every conceivable attack plan, should a situation arise that upsets the setup? Where is this flow that everyone is going with, and how can my brain get excited about taking a tube ride into river rapids? It all feels wildly precarious, yet many people seem to find the firmest ground when their feet aren’t planted.

Smooth roads are an illusion as tangible as total control. A burst of good news is routinely trailing behind discouragement and vice versa. Perhaps tunnel vision, eyes-on-the-prize thinking is the safest means of travel. An ostrich with its head in the sand never feels the rain fall.

But it never sees the sun rise.

Adolescence Interrupted