Bird Droppings May 25, 2012
Seeking balance while walking on a see saw
“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” Henry David Thoreau
I walked in my room at school yesterday and decided my stuffed eland on the wall; the largest African antelope needed a scarf. I had used a piece of rope around its neck to balance it better against the wall. (Clarification I do not hunt and actually raised this huge animal for nearly eight years. One winter he got sick and would not let us near him when he died a friend said to get him mounted. I did and for many years this huge eland sat in my garage. When I started back teaching he has become quite a conversation piece.) It was trying to balance the eland that got me thinking today sometime soon I will be putting him in storage since there will be no room in my new room next hall over.
“There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.” Henry David Thoreau
I generally start my morning pondering a walk outside often in the dark listening thinking and wondering about all that is around us. So an exercise of sorts first find the image of a see saw, I remember back in my earlier days on our playground at Caln Elementary School in Thorndale Pennsylvania, heavy wooden boards attached to sturdy pipe frames, a simple machine, a balance beam of sorts. As long as both sides were of equal weight you could push off and go up and down giggle a bit and go all through recess. Now put a larger weight on one side and let that one push off and the smaller person sooner or later may land on the moon. We go from see saw and balance to catapult and imbalance.
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.” Helen Keller
We tend to seek balance in our lives. Many biology books will state the natural order of nature is homeostasis, a balance. In nature we have food chains and various balancing factors such as larger eat smaller and plants are eaten by animals and a constant balancing effect. A more modern thought is the Chaos theory which throws a monkey wrench into the whole nice natural thing. Homeostasis is where nature strives for but it always is just a little further down the road, volcanoes occur, earthquakes, El Niño’s and yet on a larger scale universally are we still not reaching for homeostasis. A balancing of internal pressures and external pressures, even when an asteroid hits from deep in space still in some larger scheme balance is being achieved.
“Happiness and suffering are dependent upon your mind, upon your interpretation. They do not come from outside, from others. All of your happiness and all of your suffering are created by you, by your own mind.“ Lama Zopa Rinpoche
There is a word used in educational settings disequilibrium, out of balance and it is true on a small scale we do this constantly. It is this imbalance that provides us with potential for growth. It is that imbalance that gives us direction and goals to attain. A few minutes ago I was thinking of many of my friends looking for retirement and settling down reaching homeostasis. What do we do when we attain that state?
“Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.” Erich Fromm
It could be that is why we have rocking chairs to aid balancing and that comforting state. Maybe that’s why we put in ramps as we get older to reduce the challenge. Maybe that is why we tend to have diseases that try and throw us off balance and slow us down. Maybe it is because we have been brought up wanting to get to homeostasis or I should say that this is the ideal state.
“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little course and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice. Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Utopia is where you can worry no more sit quietly and vegetate. Time for an energy drink and someone to jump on the other end of your see saw is my theory. We need the imbalance to provide fodder for seeking the balance.
“Hearing is one of the body’s five senses. But listening is an art.” Frank Tyger
The trick is always to keep pushing that goal a bit further on a bit more a bit deeper. It is in the seeking of homeostasis that we grow we learn we become more than who we are. Yes we all do age but it is never closing the lid to the box. It is never having a box to begin with. Living is about the trials and tribulations it is about the disequilibrium and imbalance and yet to it is also about hope and seeking homeostasis. My dear friends let us all please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.