I’ve said many times that this notion we have of balance is active and not a point of stasis. But sometimes balance is easy, once you get the hang of it, like riding a bike. Other times it’s like crossing a rope bridge on a windy day with a big pack.
This season my experience of balance has been a lot more like the latter example. I’m off, the world is off, my home is off, it’s just crazy. I suspect I took advantage of the little surgery I had to just check out for a bit. Unfortunately that has made getting back on track even more difficult.
On the good side are my kids, my work and a lot of unexpected support. On the rough side is money, time, and overall despondency. I’m frustrated with people who are fixed minded about an issue that they clearly don’t actually understand. I’m frustrated with the vile, demeaning attitudes that people have decided are okay to unleash. I’m frustrated with the notion that being polite and having good judgement are somehow not positive attributes.
Then we do something like attend the Kaposia Gala. This is Orion’s day program and work placement group. I see Ramsey county, being the second county in the country to pass legislation allowing them to directly employ people with disabilities. I see a group of people encouraging young performers who have to work a little harder for clear speech or to get through a piece of music. I sit at a table with people in all manner of dress knowing that they all “dressed up” for the occasion, that what they have on is the best that they have.
When I speak with the disabled community, or those with chronic illnesses, I recognize that we share an understanding outside of “normal” experience. When I spend time talking with members at Gilda’s Club there is an inherent desire to make that most out of what we have. When I find the small things that make me smile I remember how important those small things can be.
So I struggle to stand in my own truth and not be blown over by the winds of the world. I shift and adjust and accommodate and work to hang on to the notion that things can be better. I go back to daily practices of gratitude and just take a moment to recognize all the privilege I have in my life. I may be swaying pretty heavily, but at least I’ve got a bridge.
It has been raining on and off all week. That puts more than a little damper into our plans. There is flooding. (We’re fine, but there have been road closings just 10 minutes north of us.) Power has been a little unstable. (I haven’t had long outages, but there have been several rounds of reset the clock.) My allergies, especially mold, have been acting up.
The part that’s hard is that Orion and I had weekend plans that involved being outdoors. The weekend was actually mostly quite lovely. The sky cleared, the sun peeped out it was pleasantly cool, but not cold. All things that make for a great time in the outdoors. Unless you are in a wheelchair.
I struggle to push Orion when we’re “off roading” under the best of circumstances. When the ground is firm, when there aren’t a lot of fallen obstacles or rocks, when the grass is short, when he could push himself for at least a short distance that’s ideal. This weekend, given the amount of rain, was not going to be ideal and could be really horrible.
We skipped through several versions of our plans. We did make an appearance at the Richardson Nature Center. They had an event called Party in the Park. Most of the party was spread out into the park, and not accessible. I got help from a stranger to go up a small hill. We visited the bee keeping exhibit inside. We played with a bull snake, made a seed bomb, and had some sumac popcorn from the Tatanka Truck. Then I was done in.
Our “time in nature” was mostly spent shopping at the co-op. Even there we didn’t load up as much as we often do. Prices are high and the budget is not.
I ended the week on a note of gratitude. We did a ritual for the harvest season. There is a lot of bounty in my world, even if I don’t have full access. It’s good to take some time out to recognize what I do have, to be grateful.
Equinoxes are about balance. It’s the time where the amount of daylight equals the amount of night. The reminder of the season has me working on balance as well. I’ve finally gotten the internet back (knock on wood) and I’m actively trying not to let it absorb all of my time and attention.
I’ve written about balance, and about the fall equinox, many times before this. Sometimes lessons seem like the same things over and over again. But for me the reminders really do help. I still need to be reminded that balance is active, not static. One of the best ways for me to get that visceral understanding is to get on a boat.
Balance is about making sure that the list of things I need to do also includes time for my relationships. I am really bad about initiating contact, making the phone calls, checking in without a schedule. I also forget how much I need that interchange. I need to take time for the good conversations (and the hard ones). I thrive on sharing stories, information, lessons learned and lessons that we are still struggling to incorporate into our daily lives.
Balance is about finding time in between getting dinner on the table and earning enough money to pay the bills so that the floor gets swept and the laundry put away. Balance is about watering the plants, but not too much. It’s about bringing in the tomatoes before they rot on the vine and about drying the peppers before they go to mold.
In such a politically volatile climate balance is finding a way to be of service without overloading. It is about being firm and honest, and still polite. It’s not just the election. It’s the pipeline. It’s the nurses strike. It’s Black Lives Matter. It’s all the shootings, stabbings and bombings. Sometimes it is about shutting out Facebook (the wifi in your home going down is a really effective means of taking a break from the mudslinging).
Balance is about getting enough sleep. (I’ve had too many late night/early mornings in the last month!) It’s about taking the time for real food. (I’m pretty good about that, it’s just that I also try and do 6 other things while I’m eating it.) It’s about being in the moment. Sometimes that means writing things down so that you don’t have to hold them until you need them. Sometimes it means remembering to bring that grocery list with you when you go to the store.
So today I’m filling this blog with photos from sailing with friends. We need more “time out in nature” in our busy lives. We need to enjoy and appreciate our friends. We need to remember balance is active (like being on a boat) not static (like sitting on the ground). Have a happy Equinox!
Previous Fall Equinox posts:
With the Fall equinox upon us I’ve started to notice the signs of autumn creeping up. The leaves are just beginning to turn. The trees that have been severely stressed by our odd weather are further along, but the majority are just hinting at colors.
That stress is definitely in the air. One day the highs are barely above 60F the next they’re well into the 70’s. Mornings are cool, almost cold when they are damp. There’s been hard frost further north and it would not be unseasonable to see some here in the city. It’s difficult to dress for such unpredictable, changeable weather.
The sun shines, equal with the darkness. It still carries warmth with its light, but that warmth seems more focused. It gets hot in the car, if it’s in the direct sun, but the warmth doesn’t creep past the edges of the shadows of the tree line.
I’ve had a fire or two in the fireplace, trying not to turn on the heat. It’s difficult to crawl out of bed when the temperature in the house is below 65. When I do turn on the furnace (because it’s impossible to get out of a warm tub when the air is that cold) I try to remember to turn it off again. Sometimes I get to wondering why I’m so hot before it occurs to me I’ve forgotten.
At least with the heat on the air is filtered. The cool and damp is ideal for mold – one of my worst allergies. It will get worse before it gets better as leaves fall into mulch. Soon I’ll be begging for the hard freeze, but I wouldn’t begrudge a few more weeks of summer weather after.
Happy Autumnal Equinox!
Previous Equinox blogs:
I don’t know why, but it seems October always sneaks up on me. Maybe it’s that “start-up” thing I get going in September. I never feel quite in the groove before October rolls around. Maybe it’s that Orion’s birthday is in October (the second) so it’s not just the beginning the month, but an event that catches me unprepared.
This week, besides Orion’s birthday, I’m on Blog Talk Radio – The Priestess Show, talking about Ancestors. (The first Friday of the month ALREADY?) The universe is being particularly helpful to me on this one. I was invited by a friend to attend the opening performance of the Black Storytellers Alliance festival. This year’s theme “Leaning on the Ancestors.”
It was truly a privilege to participate in this event, and the audience does participate! These were master storytellers. Their stories come out of their experiences and their history, but they embrace and welcome the whole of the human experience. The storytellers came from all across the country, and even (although he currently lives in Maine) from Brazil.
The event began with drumming, the drummers mostly children from the community. They did impressive work, shared the spotlight and encouraged the audience to clap along with the beats. Then libations were poured out to honor the Divine that has gifted us with our lives, our ancestors and our descendants. This piece was beautifully done. I’ve seen many versions of this and both my friend and I were impressed with the grace and eloquence of this little ritual. But then, these are storytellers aren’t they.
There were family stories and old fables with new twists. There were stories of imitation and of recognizing our own worth. Every performance acknowledged the ancestors as a source of power and wisdom. These are the shoulders upon which we stand.
Orion and I also attended a community equinox ritual. This too acknowledged our history and our futures. We made wishes for ourselves and our community. We cast our coins into the wishing well, but then were taught that we are the well, the water the change makers. We are the one’s with the power to make our wishes manifest.
Because making wishes has consequences we were also given charge of someone else’s wishes. We each got an old roman coin (about 2000 years old). So now I carry, not only my wishes, but the wishes of those who used this old coin to achieve their own desires. Ancestors and Descendants. I am blessed.