Fresh Facts Week 48: Balance, a Sympton of a Well-Centered Life

They say old accountants never die, they just lose their balance. Sorry, it’s the only balance joke I know.

I peddled my bike yesterday from our cabin at Hume up to Quail Flat, around through Grant Grove, over Cherry Gap and back—about 25 miles. It made me think a lot about balance. There’s a common bicycler’s saying when it comes to a really steep hill: “You always wish you had one more mountain gear.”

I think the desire for balance in our life is really a basic human need that becomes more compelling the more out of balance we are. If I’m driving along and all the wheels are balanced, I don’t even think about how smooth the ride is, but let even one tire get off for some reason, and the whole car shakes and feels like it’s about to come apart. At that point, I’m highly motivated to make an appointment at the tire shop.

On the surface, life balance is achieved by harmonizing the competing demands of work, family, social, and recreation. Digging deeper we have mind, emotion and will; and deeper still, body, soul and spirit. But being just a simple farmer, I think that balancing a bike is a lot like balancing life; you’ve just gotta keep peddling forward.

There are going to be dogs (which represent problems in this Uncle Vern analogy) that come running out to chase you and usually, if you just pedal harder (aided by adrenalin) you can out run ’em. A pack of mutts came at me from the side last week and after I’d left ’em safely behind, I saw I was doing 25 mph!

So how do you get things in balance when the dog’s really big, is waiting for you, or has an angle on you? Well, for me, prayer is the go to option and being in trouble is the only requirement of a prayer for help.

I’ve heard lots of people come up with static priority lists to help us stay balanced, but they frankly don’t understand balance. Balance isn’t about categorizing what’s always going to be the most important thing, but about identifying what’s always going to be the center.
Get yourself centered and you’ll always know what’s most important right now. Balance will become a symptom of a well-centered life.

Finally, this wouldn’t be a note about balance in a box of produce if we didn’t talk about balancing what we eat. Sometimes my tires get out of balance on the farm because there’s mud caked to the rim and the best quickest fix is either a hammer to knock off the mud or a hose to wash it off; you’d be surprised how often that works.

From my perspective, food with ingredients you can’t pronounce are the mud on our rims that make the whole vehicle malfunction. But the good news is, you won’t even miss ’em when there gone because there are so many good things to replace’ em with.

Balance in any of our endeavors, including diet, will never be achieved by avoiding the bad, but by replacing the negative with the positive. Fill your life with good stuff till there’s just no more room for the bad, and get a taller sprocket for the steep hills.

Author Uncle Vern

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