Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Finding balance

I had a blog set for today, but then the week-end happened. It seemed impossible to post what I'd written as it didn't deal with such tragic events where first a young woman was shot down by a stranger only because she had become a celebrity, and he had become fixated. Then came the nightclub shooting where innocent party-goers were killed because someone could. 

Yes, the person who did it hated gays, but that's an excuse not a reason. We see a lot of that right now with those who have no compassion or empathy for others and only look for excuses to wreak violence. I suspect a lot of us are asking the question-- What grows that sort of human? Is it all mental illness or is the person legally sane but simply without the capacity to love others. We call them sociopaths when they live that way but don't kill. We call them psychopaths when they go a step beyond and are dangerous-- sometimes only emotionally and other times physically. How do the rest of us find peace in a world where is a certain percentage of the population delights in inflicting pain?

How do we find balance in a world that often doesn't appear to have any. 

These photos are of something we came across one year while walking in a desert wash. Someone had come before us and stacked up rocks to form temporary sculptures. The person had done this, knowing the work would not survive the elements-- not to mention those who delight in knocking down what someone else created and sometimes even the park service.

You can see these piled rocks throughout the southwest. When on a trail, they are called by the Scottish word, cairns. Some consider them bad, and there are articles about why-- don't build cairns. Their reasoning is three-fold. One, the stones piled up could lead someone on the wrong trail. That one is possible. Then, this one seemed silly-- the next hiker wanted to imagine no one had been there before them and the stones ruined that image-- except they are already on a man-made trail... Finally, reaching for this-- the stones must stay wherever the rivers or storms had left them. Erosion could be the result of piling them. That just seemed silly as most places I've seen these cairns, the ground has already been altered.

It's funny actually. Humans can't even pile up rocks into trail markers or sculptures without someone else finding fault. It is sort of the nature of humans and maybe why we developed beyond other primates. Never satisfied, never agreeing, and often fighting. Our tools to fight have just gotten more awesome-- with wars being the final result of this business of never agreeing to just let others be. So human nature builds majestic monuments, little piles of rocks, but also weapons of destruction that have escalated until there are bombs that could take out whole cities or nations.

Back to the main question-- since I don't see how we change those bent on destruction-- short of catching them before they can do it-- For a good life, how do we personally find balance in a world like ours where horrible things happen to good people and most of the time, through no fault of their own? 

I don't always succeed, but I think some is taking each day as it comes without anticipating what might happen. There's enough in a day sometimes without adding onto it past memories or future fears. It's called living in the moment or the now.


When we live in the moment, little things take on greater joys. Coming across a surprise like these rock sculptures was to be savored as it didn't happen again. Floods, others who like to knock things down, just natural shifts in the land, whoever did them the first time wasn't there to do them again. We had that moment with them though and now another when I selected which ones to share.

The world will always have tragedies. We will go through more and less violent times. There is no consolation in a time of such cruelty-- except don't miss the moment we can have. There might not be another, but we have that one. I guess that sounds Pollyannaish--
 "Pollyanna," the heroine of Eleanor H. Porter's famous novel "Pollyanna" (1913), whose outlook on life was one of absolute optimism and whose problems were always straightened out in the end.
Maybe it does. It's certainly easier some days than others to feel that it will all be good in the end. But the alternative is to feel bleak and hopeless or angry and hate-filled. It's not like that kind of attitude makes for a good life. 

Since we don't have a choice all the time as to what happens to us or what we see in the world, we do have a choice for how we react to it.


Tara Crowley said...

all good questions. and yes, how we react is key to finding balance. I love Mr. Rogers' story about how his mother told him to "look for the helpers" in a horrible situation. because there are ALWAYS the helpers. The ones who come to our aid, whose best selves come forward in the middle of horrific events.

It is, as you say, most difficult to maintain balance in this world. How do you hold horror and beauty in each hand?

Rain Trueax said...

Good question, Tara. Not sure we always can but have to try. I really like that picture of you. You take such great photos, so alive and vibrant-- not to mention pretty.

joared said...

Yes, finding balance in life can be a challenge. Thought provoking words here and interesting photos.