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loosing my balance

February 8, 2011

I read somewhere that when O’Sensei (the founder of Aikido) was asked how he was able to maintain his balance in any situation he replied that he did not. The key he said was not in maintaining your balance but in quickly regaining your balance after you have been disturbed.

Within the space of three hours on Friday three people told me that they thought I had balance in my life. By inference I imagine they felt they had not found the right balance in theirs. Two months ago I might have agreed with them, but these last few weeks have really thrown me off centre.

Floods and then just this week the cyclone have contributed. While we were not directly affected it is clear as you drive around Brisbane that it will be a while before things settle down again. In the meantime you know that things just don’t feel quite right.

I find the new year always holds a level of uncertainty work-wise. People are coming back to work after the holidays; new hires are joining established teams and everyone is trying to figure out where they stand.

Then there are the termites. I thought we had a deal – they wouldn’t try to destroy my home and I wouldn’t try to destroy theirs.  When they start to eat away at your foundations all deals are off!

Add to that a morning spent in the Emergency Room at the hospital with my father, a couple of important professional engagements over the coming weeks and I felt so far out of whack that suggestions that I was anything else seemed incredible.

Then Friday afternoon we got a call. A friend has died. We knew he had been fighting cancer but not that he had been in hospital this last month. We saw him last in early December – when we were all out to dinner. He looked, well … normal.  Then school holidays, Christmas and the floods took our focus and now he is gone.

In chemistry, equilibrium between two compounds occurs when there is as much of one being created as there is of it being destroyed. It is a state in which a process and its reverse are occurring at the same rate so that no overall change is taking place.  To somebody watching it gives the appearance of ‘balance’.

When we talk about finding balance in our lives I think we often forget this.

Balance is not a static state. Balance is dynamic.

People we care about can be taken from us while we are looking the other way. The possessions, positions and relationships that help define us can disappear under water or over a weekend. The only constant is change.

We are continually being disturbed, unsettled and thrown off centre.

If we do ever achieve balance I think it is only for an instant. Something we pass through on the way to the other side – whether we are heading towards a period of creation or one of destruction.

O’Sensei was right – the key is regaining not maintaining.  There are some days though when that is cold comfort …

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Susie Surtees permalink
    February 8, 2011 11:22 am

    Real world balance. Not an impossible dream of a permanent state. Like standing in the middle of a see saw and constantly correcting. The examples you give for your recent imbalance are very moving. Beautifully and humbly written. Thank you …

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