Dear Heron Dancers,
I spent a lot of time this past weekend trying to narrow down and think through what I really mean by the statement, “the gentle arts of a well-lived life”. I thought, skied in the woods, meditated and made notes in my journal. When I started to meditate, the image of a teeter-totter surfaced.
Every time I thought of one guiding principle, a countervailing, equally valid principle came to mind. A teeter-totter is about balance. It is also about leverage—move the fulcrum to the right place and you can accomplish more with less effort. I’ve long noticed that people who accomplish a lot in life put careful thought into where they put the fulcrum. They look for places where a small amount of energy can produce a significant result, and they protect their energy. The first requirement of a balanced life is a quiet center. A mind that is rested and relaxed will produce a better quality of thought, and thus more effective work. The root of creativity is in the murky waters of deep imagination, and that process too requires a mind that is well rested and in touch with its quiet center.
I recently read somewhere that “rest is spiritual.” I think there is an element of magic to all of this. If you believe that there are forces out there larger and greater than ourselves, then a goal of life is to align yourself with them, to serve them, and to do work that honors them (or Them). But nobody sends us a postcard telling us what our work should be. It takes receptivity, a quiet mind, and sharp antennae. Effort, hard work and discipline definitely have roles to play, but energy has to be focused in the right direction, and that direction needs to be in sync with whatever Greater Powers exist out there. When you find the right work, and apply yourself to it, my experience has been that doors open and things fall into place.
But the first prerequisite for work of love is deep rest.
In celebration of the Great Dance of Life, Rod MacIver