Monday, December 8, 2014


Let me start by quoting the lyrics from a famous Peggy Lee song "I know a little bit 'bout a lot of things". Now that we have that out of the way let me explain. I am a husband, father, son, brother, musician, composer, teacher, writer, philosopher, photography hobbyist, fitness buff, chef, gardener, yogi, outdoorsman, cyclist, coffee enthusiast, and I'll try my hand at any home improvement project (and probably mess it up the first time). As an active person and artist balance (physical, mental, and spiritual) has always been in the front of my mind. When you are young and healthy, before you have a family and kids, balance is easy. Your body is strong and you don't have many life responsibilities yet. Before we continue though let's look at what balance is.

The dictionary defines balance as a state of equilibrium. The thing that is tricky about this definition is by defining it as a state or place we automatically think of it as a destination. Defining it as a destination makes it a passive state. I contend quite the opposite. I think balance is an active state. If we look more deeply at physical balance or equilibrium we see that there are a fantastic number of systems and signals that are working together and constantly adjusting and compensating to maintain said balance. To me this makes balance active and I don't even like to use the term state. Like I said state implies location or target and it is hard to hit a target that is always moving worse yet doesn't even truly exist.

Over the course of this diatribe I am going to look at the three kinds of balance I outlined.  Physical, mental, spiritual. I also want to share some of the things that I've learned about balance over my time here. As I stated I'm a jack of all trades master of none. My 40 years on this planet qualify me for exactly that, 40 years of experience lugging this meat sack around on this rock. People who are older than me have more expertise and younger people less. Temper everything I say with that.

I have dealt with several serious medical happenings and while I don't think that makes me any more qualified to comment on life it has put me in a position to evaluate things a bit. In a way I consider myself lucky to have been confronted with serious illness and my own mortality at an age young enough that I still was in the invincible stage but old enough that I had some perspective. The medical occurrence in question was a brain tumor when I was 28. I was already married and had an infant daughter. I was just embarking on life as an adult. Diagnosis was stressful. Surgery was long. Recovery was hard work. There are many many lessons hidden in this journey though. Several years later I was diagnosed with MS with it's own set of challenges and lessons.

While I definitely don't want to make this at all about my health it has me think very deeply about what health is physical, mental, and spiritual. That is where I came upon the idea of balance.  Like I said, as an amateur athlete, health nut, chef, and artist the topic of balance is always on my mind. One of the definitions the dictionary offers of balance is the pulling by opposing forces like an old school scale. This notion always seemed funny to me. That's why I prefer the Yin/Yang image of balance. Swirling together and being part of a whole.   

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