Sacred Balance

Our summer is ending with renewed activities and invitations to use our gifts. I’ve been asked to share more presentations on spirituality and practice, and more people seeking spiritual companionship have been finding their way to my door.  My husband is adjusting to the rhythms of a new school year and all the attendant schedule-juggling that involves. We’re happy to be “gainfully engaged,” but mindful that our commitment to balance must be honored as well.

Always someone with “a lot of energy,” it took me longer than most, I expect, to learn how sacred the practice of balance is to my well-being. Eventually, though, it became apparent that when I pushed myself beyond a mindful energy expenditure (so often promoted in our culture and in our workplaces), I became physically sick; likewise, if I didn’t maintain my exercise, yoga, and strength-training, I became ill.

Too much or too little activity or rest resulted in illness affecting not only my body, but the peace experienced by my mind and spirit as well, and I’ve learned (and better late than never) to honor the holy trinity of my well-being, my mind-body-spirit, with the gift and practice of balance.

So, after a morning of tending to our individual chores this past Saturday, Phillip proposed “an adventure” for our afternoon. I welcomed the invitation to balance our day with pleasure and togetherness. We drove northwest to Merrimac and took the ferry across Lake Wisconsin. The ferry probably holds about 12-15 cars, and is attached to a cable stretched across the lake that provides for a very smooth ride.

We stopped in the sweet town of Baraboo for lunch at the Little Village Café, which I heartily recommend for the ambiance and reliably delicious food.

The highlight of the afternoon was our tour of the International Crane Foundation, which is dedicated to the study and worldwide preservation of cranes, their diminishing ecosystems and habitats, and their migratory flyways. You can read more about this amazing foundation, adopt a crane, and make a donation here: http://www.savingcranes.org/about-icf.html.  One of the foundation’s greatest success stories has been its work to conserve the Whooping Crane. By the 1940’s these cranes had been reduced to a population of less than 20. Though now they number about 600, their survival is still precarious, but worth celebrating as the work continues. (http://www.savingcranes.org/whats-new/2012/09/whooping-cranes-transferred-horicon/)

It’s tragic to confront how out of balance our world has become, how egotistically and aggressively we’ve pursued our desires for “progress” to the detriment of our world’s natural balance. Our fellow creatures, those rooted, or winged, or seeking a safe place to burrow, or fly, or to mate and breed, have suffered greatly. I pray the tide is turning and that our ability to restore greater balance will inspire us to do so.

We enjoyed the day’s adventure and its restoration of balance to our spirits. We were encouraged by the foundation’s work towards restoring balance in nature. A good reminder that one small (and beautifully elegant) species at a time, we can make a difference on behalf of sacred balance.

If we start by tending our own, tending the rest of creation’s so readily becomes an apparent and necessary responsibility…

South African Wattled Crane
Black-Crowned Craned from the middle of Africa
Demoiselle Cranes are the smallest cranes, native to the grasslands of Central Asia.
Sarus Cranes are almost 6 feet tall and have a wingspan of 8 feet. They nest in the rice fields of India and Vietnam.
The Black-Necked Crane nests high on the Tibetan Plateau and winters on the lower plateaus of Bhutan and southwestern China. Like other cranes, they face serious environmental threats.

 

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