Jul 15, 2007

See-Saw


Sorry. We've been really busy lately. Summer has been full of adventure and challenge ...and unfortunately, we have left a lot unsaid. Where to start...

We have been up and down a lot in the past few months. Some days, simplicity seems almost attainable; other days, obscenely distant. I was ruminating on the past few weeks today and came to a realization. Bear with me, this is a work in progress.

I have always thought that balance was something to strive for. I always thought that there was a line of sorts in life that each person could walk down and be balanced. If they strayed from the line, life was out of balance and therefore less than perfect. This metaphor seemed to work because it was always able to explain the times life stunk. It stunk because the person's life was out of balance. As I grew older this made less and less sense, but old habits die hard, so I stuck with it.

The past few months of our journey have been wholly different than the first few months. In the beginning, it was easy to stay on track. Our fervor made up for several holes in the plan. But, as time goes on, our fervor has been replaced with tired fear and; often, a sense of hopelessness. There have been many days where it seems impossible to live with less, buy less, be more sustainable. Sometimes we just feel like saying, "Ah screw it, it was a nice try. Where do we shop first?"

Today, I was reminded that this journey was never meant to be an experiment, it was meant to be a change in our life-rhythm. And then it hit me! Balance is like a see-saw.

If you've ever ridden a see-saw (and if you haven't, shut off the computer and go to the park immediately) you know how difficult it is to balance in mid-air. It's much easier to go up, then down, then back up again. The beauty of this analogy, is that it leaves room for life. When we're going down, we know that we'll come back up in a moment. Also, other people are involved. It takes two to ride a see-saw, it takes a community to live simply. Thirdly, we have a lot more control on the speed of our ascent and descent. All you have to do is shift your weight a little and the speed of your life can change dramatically, which brings me to the point of this post...

When we decided to simplify, we were on the way up. We shifted a lot of our weight and shot to the moon for a time, but with our head in the clouds, we laid back and fell out of the sky. For a time, we lost the beauty of simplicity in order to conquer it, we've posted about that before (Here). Well now we are shifting our weight again and are beginning to rise, slowly, but rise none-the-less.

Thanks for all the email and comment/post reminders that we are part of a community, we promise to stop being so distant and let you back in on our journey and our lives, as long as you promise to push up when your down and sit back a little when your up. That will make this see-saw work a lot better.

4 comments:

Stone Fence Farm said...

Welcome back. I missed your posts.

Caren said...

I too am glad to see you on the "up-swing" :) Your post about the see-saw reminded me of a quote by MLK Jr. When asked how he persevered in his quest for justice and right relationship in the face of SOOO much resistance, he said, "My life is a constant cycle of anger, despair, and hope." I have found those three phases to be pertinent in my life as I seek to make changes, be they personal or societal. We just have to keep moving through the cycle and trust that "still, like the dust, I'll rise." (Ben Harper lyric!)

nea said...

glad to see you posting again. i love your see-saw of balance. i literally just came here from posting on my own blog that for us, simplicity is about balance and that it used to be balance was about tipping back and forth and has somehow become more complicated and is like juggling. my family needs to come back to the balance (or see-saw) stage from the juggling stage in order to resume simplifying in the way that we so desperately want.

Brandynn said...

Your see-saw analogy is an absolutely stunning, eye-opening, wonderful, beautiful, incredible picture. Thank you so very, very much for sharing it here.

It's IMPOSSIBLE to balance in the middle! A-ha! Why have I not seen this before? The sheer joy of a see-saw is precisely in NOT balancing, but in gleefully flying up and down through the air. Even those rare (and painful!) smacks on the ground serve a purpose.

Your words are literally a life-changing revelation for our family. A breath of freshness and freedom. I will see things through new eyes now, and will remember this evening when life shifted from pre-seesaw to post-seesaw.

Thank you.