November 2017

Balance. Couple walking on railroad.

Balance

The notion of balance is an old one but is as important now as it has ever been. Modern life tends to move at a frenetic pace. Our professional and personal lives are equally demanding, and we are getting information, both helpful and unhelpful, at the speed of light.

We each start our day with a bottle full of mental and emotional energy—our energy juice—and it can go fast.

We use up a significant amount during our workday. For many, that’s where most of the bottle is poured. Then when we come home, we pour a bit more out—maybe while coaching our kids or engaging in their school functions. We pour a bit more out while interacting with our spouse and working through marital issues. Then we see if there’s any more left in the bottle to address day-to-day problems and issues, such as bills, doctor appointments, household maintenance, and the never-ending stream of minutiae we all have to deal with. After all this, we turn to those things that we do for ourselves. But when we pick up the bottle, there’s nothing left.

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Animal. Human as an animal.

Animal

“You’re an animal!!”

Being called an animal is often meant as an insult—a suggestion that we’re not “civilized,” that we don’t have control over our impulses. But there are other ways we can interpret our animal nature. We can take it to mean that we’re in tune with the world around us, that we pay attention to our senses and what they’re telling us, that we’re aware of and comfortable with nature.

Of course, the thing that sets us apart from “other animals” is our brain, which gives us the ability to reason and our sense of self. While it does set us apart, it doesn’t have to draw a hard line between us and other animals. We have lived for so long without the need to pay attention to the world around us that many of us have lost the inclination. We only see the natural elements of our world when we make a concerted effort or in extreme circumstances.

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