After he had journeyed, and his feet were sore,
And he was tired,
He came upon an orange grove, and he rested.
And he lay in the cool, and while he rested,
He took to himself an orange
And tasted it, and it was good.
And he felt the earth to his spine, and he asked,
And he saw the tree above him, and the stars,
And the veins in the leaf, and the light, and the balance.
And he saw magnificent perfection,
Whereon he thought of himself in balance,
And he knew he was.
And he thought of those he angered, for he was not a violent man,
And he thought of those he hurt, for he was not a cruel man
And he thought of those he frightened, for he was not an evil man,
And he understood. He understood himself.
Upon this he saw that when he was of anger or knew hurt or felt fear,
It was because he was not understanding.
And he learned compassion.
And with his eye of compassion he saw his enemies
Like unto himself,
And he learned love. Then, he was answered.
Just open your eyes, and realize,
The way it's always been.
Just open your mind and you will find
The way it's always been.
Just open your heart and that's a start
The Balance, by Graeme Edge and Ray Thomas, Moody Blues
Late last night, I went over to let Cajun, my thirteen year old black Lab, out to do her business before going to bed. She was laying on her big, round bed in the little room right off our basement mud room, where she spends a lot of her time. Cajun normally bounces right up when it’s time to go out. She started up, but fell right back down on her bed. She made another attempt, and then just laid down and wouldn’t even try a third time. I immediately thought the worst. I remembered our previous dog, Cody, when his back legs gave out on him. He could no longer stand up, and eventually had to be put down. They said he was in too much pain, and could not take care of himself.
However, with Cody, he showed visible signs of slowing down, and having trouble with those legs, for some time before he could no longer get himself up. Cajun has been incredibly spry for her age, being a big dog (75 pounds) like she is. She was just out running around in the back yard earlier in the evening. I tried helping her up, but she just wobbled and laid right back down. I let Kathy know we had trouble, and she found a nearby emergency veterinary clinic. I carried Cajun out to the car, which required carrying her up a good flight of stairs, and out to the car at the end of the driveway. Kathy was worried that I was going to need a hospital, I was breathing so hard on the drive there. I had forgotten to take a couple of shots of my inhaler before carrying her up and out. I have asthma, and it apparently has worsened a bit over the long winter.
As it turns out, Cajun’s problem is not with her legs, or her hips, which was my fear. She has a problem with her balance. Right now, she has none. According to the good vet, it appears to be a temporary condition, and she should be able to get most of her balance back within a few days, or possibly weeks. In the meantime, she’ll need help getting around. When she stands or tries to walk, she has a tendency to fall towards her right – she simply can’t keep herself steady on her feet. Whatever internal mechanism allows for the balance to occur, has gone on strike, hopefully temporarily. Without her balance, her confidence is shot to hell. She is not happy about this state of affairs. I don’t blame her. It’s a pretty scary place to be. The best thing to do is just wait it out, and do what needs to be done, in the meantime, to take care of business. I have to support her as she attempts to go out, and there is no running around – she can barely walk, even with me supporting her with a towel underneath her, holding her up, and letting her lean into me when her body just wants to fall over to the right.
It reminds me of the times my life was so out of balance, and how concerning it becomes, even now, when something throws my inner compass off. I have learned to live my life in balance, or to at least live in some semblance of balance, enough of it that I can manage to do the things I need to do to lead a healthy, fulfilling life. I guard my balance with my life. When something throws me off balance, I immediately begin seeking that equilibrium again.
For me, the best way I know to do this, is through writing. First, I do my spiritual reading and meditation work, reminding myself of what I need to align myself with – and then, I write. This helps me a lot.
Another thing I do for balance, is play softball. Without that activity, I would definitely lose some of the balance I have in my life today. That gets me out of the chair and into physical action and activity that I otherwise would not do. This has become more pronounced since I have been writing, and reading, so much more these past couple of years, since landing in the Cowbird pasture. I need that running around, that competition, that physical challenge, of playing ball. It helps with my balance – except, of course, when that gets out of balance, like two years ago, when I played on four different teams in the Spring. I played about 80 games of competitive ball, between April and June. That was not balanced! But goddamn, it was fun! Last year, I kind of struck the right balance for the softball, playing on two teams, and being an emergency reserve for a third. I played about 40 games in the spring, and 100 overall, between spring, summer and fall. That was just about right.
Well, it’s time to help Cajun wobble back out to take care of business, before I go pick up 500 pounds of food for families in need. That’s another activity that has brought balance to my life. It is also my version of a Sunday morning service. Me, the road, food, music, on a mission – Sunday mornings don’t get any better than that, my friends.
Have a balanced, and blessed, Sunday.
Photos: (1) Cajun, in a more balanced (and relaxed!) state of being, (2) Cody, (3) High atop a mountain in Hawaii - another way I keep a balance - I travel to far away places several times a year. I need that for balance, too!