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From Our Readers

Dear Steve,

Re Issue #15 on the theme of Balance: So happy to see the Lens online! Trying to find balance is such a huge part of my life. Everything feels amazing when the proportions seem right: my spirit is nourished, my body healthy, my family content, I am expanding my mind, my friends are in my life, there's the right amount of time spent on the flow of business-work and the rest of the day, and I'm not consumed by house chores! Ah, but those moments are fleeting, so it's like Paul wrote, it's about striving toward that, and how Adam wrote about being in the now. I really liked Bart's view on the incredible things that can be achieved when a person is completely out of balance and totally consumed by passion. And I'm wishing I could switch places with Bea, oh, her experience sounds fabulous!

I look forward to each and every issue of the Lens. For what the contributors bring to us readers, and for the reflections that come. Many many thanks!

- Erin O'Kelley Muck, Ashland, OR

Dear Steve:

Another great issue of the LENS!!! I won’t comment on each article this time – each unique and valuable - but a thought struck me really hard when I read the guest contributor’s piece (Bart Pasternak). I wanted to share that with you - and with Bob too.

Bart put his finger on something very important about balance. I had not articulated this before, but had always sensed it. Even writing a whole book about this topic, didn’t cause me to engage in reflecting on it. So maybe it’s important? It has to do with time and distance from which you view the meaning of a balanced life.

Does each moment, each day have to be “balanced?” Or can you be in total imbalance for a week and then lean back the other way the next week? Or is it a month? Or a life time?

When Bart talked about “passion” and a temporary (?) imbalance where a particular goal is vigorously pursued, I said, “Yes, that’s it!!” I remembered how I was totally imbalanced when I was writing my dissertation, or my book. I am totally imbalanced when I paint something or when I write something. For that period of time (maybe some hours, a day, a week, many months, or even years?), nothing else exists in my intentions. I am consumed by the energy to get this thing done. It becomes a passion that excites me immensely and beyond all reason.

Then, when that’s done, it’s time to lean in the other direction – to just sit for a while, to walk along the water, to spend time with friends, to do menial and routine tasks, to do nothing with the mind – or whatever dimension was so potently involved in the other activity.

Maybe retirement works like that. I spent decades of my life passionately pursuing my career, serving others, striving to be the best leader, to make a difference for young people. Now retirement for me is learning to just be – to follow my own inner clock. I don’t feel guilty about not working so hard any more.

So, is being balanced an “all or nothing” matter for a specific period of time? Is it a trust that time will bring us back to emphasize the other parts that we’ve neglected – for that time? Maybe imbalance is always our temporary state. Rather than striving to always (e.g. minute by minute, day by day) keep everything in balance, we might totally enjoy whatever imbalance possesses us now and trust that we’ll bounce back to center – or even to another extreme. Being aware of such cyclical changes (whether short or long range) is probably much more important than worrying about always staying in balance. Maybe that’s the way God looks at our lives? I know that’s the way it works in nature – life and death, snow and sunshine, day and night, no leaves and then everything green.

- Dr. Christa Metzger, Arapahoe, North Carolina

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