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Reflecting on balance

Locations: Columns, Opinion Published

I was told that, to the north, the mountain lupines fill meadows and appear as lakes. At once, we traveled there. Before we departed, I asked whether I should take my camera. My heart said, “No.” I knew then that this would be a sacred journey, not one of freezing images for family and friends.

My first “no camera” realization came during a time of personal transition in 1974 at Cobb’s Nest on the William Fork of the Colorado River. It was a time when balance and clarity were unavailable to me. I listened as Edie Swan explained learning, through Alta Ellsworth’s eyes, to view the world from a Navajo perspective. I listened as Edie told me, “Many of us come to a vista, snap a picture, and drive away; however, we neglect to notice movements — change traveling through the landscape, seasons, erosion, shifting plant species.” 

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Each afternoon on the Williams Fork, I watched shadows racing over the ground toward us from the west, shadows created by the clouds flying overhead. I put away my camera and simply witnessed the aliveness around me, and in doing so began a healing process of reconnecting with Mother Nature.

Recently, K and I drove to Meadow Lake, parked on the west side and walked up a hill. I laid down on the ground, connecting the rhythm of my heart with the rhythm of the earth. When we returned to Carbondale, I realized my renewed sense of balance and deep peace was stronger than the confusion of this pandemic. 

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The pandemic is a catalyzing event; a time of transition which has precipitated a crisis. 

It was a relief to no longer be out of balance. As peace flowed into my heart from the land to the north, my clarity returned. I came into resonance with Mother Nature’s dance. For healing and trust to flower, no camera was appropriate for my renewal from source.

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After standing and walking on the earth for 80 years, 2021 continues to be a time of being attentive to my balance.

Eating, sleeping, walking, skiing, living, loving, paddling and dying.

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Humans love to practice balance. There is a deep intrinsic knowing this is the way we are meant to be — as I get older it is a great gift to slow down and move in a balanced way. The teacher for this is water. There is an inherent peacefulness and joy in being with water.

Moving this way in the forest, the kitchen — everywhere — it is inherently joyful.

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And the teacher for this is water. How it flows. How essential it is that it continues flowing.

Many more times in 1975, I lost my balance. After 10 years of working in the emergency room, I was out of balance and would forget how to trust my center. To heal, I began benefitting from practices that helped me regain my balance. 

I attended a meeting called “The Limits to Medicine” in Davos. At the same time I was remembering about balance, Jonas Salk — the keynote speaker — was advocating for schools of health in addition to schools of medicine. I said to him, “That is what I want to do — where do I go?”

“There isn’t any place,” responded Salk, who discovered the first polio vaccine.

But he did say to me, “Unless we place emphasis upon the need to understand equilibrium in all aspects of the human organism, individually and collectively, we will always be predominately preoccupied with the pathological, with reducing negative rather than enhancing the positive. Until we see the sources of pathology as partly attributable to ignorance of what is required for maintaining health, we will continue to search for causes which can be eliminated or prevented. When, in fact, some of the pathology we seek to suppress is the result of our failure to do certain things that actively evoke and maintain a state of balance.”

Over the years, I am renewed by the joy of dancing and speaking in balance and am continually reminded the teacher for this is water, how it flows. How essential it is that it continues to flow from Source.

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