Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Balanced or not?

I've stepped back from making individual posts on my various blogs in order to gain a larger perspective. My goal is to fill these notebooks with rough drafts I will then use to make a series of blog posts.

The Book of Innocence was originally intended as a nonfiction book, something in between a collection of personal essays, a book of digressions, a journal. I used a basic structure for the first seven chapters, which is "flight" and "descent," and I would like to maintain some pattern for the next section of the book although I don't know yet what my overall subject-matter will be. Flight, descent, then what?

This book is a contemplation on my life, on my experiences, and on life itself. Recently I've come up against the rapid cycle of my emotions; anticipation, excitement, and then disenchantment and frustration, endlessly repeating. Because this experience was so vivid to me I had to investigate it. What I found was that a pattern lurks beneath the surface of my life, a pattern based upon rising and falling emotions, and the ebb and flow of energy.

Balance. Is there an inborn desire for balance in our species? Or is just the opposite true: our nature keeps us forever imbalanced and incomplete?

Within me I feel there is a chemical reaction that carries me away from myself, just as there is a chemical reaction which draws me nearer to myself, closer to my center.

Ever since Tess (my girlfriend) moved in, there has been a dramatic shift in my lifestyle. But of course I don't attribute all of my changes to her moving in. Another major change occurred during this time period. I began blogging . . . like mad.

I stopped meditating. I stopped working out. I grew fat and addicted to caramel-flavored lattes. All of these instances are evidence enough for some sort of imbalance. It is almost impossible for me to have donuts or ice cream in the house without them disappearing in two days.

But in other ways I've grown. That is, I've gained more balance in other areas. Such as working at the hotel. For the first time in my life, I'm working a regular job--with demands I've never had to cope with before--such as pleasing customers. Also, since Tess moved in, I've become less self-focused. I'm learning to be with somebody other than myself. I can recall when I lived by myself and how that felt. Even in my happiest moments I was still utterly alone in life. Sharing my experiences with Tess has definitely brought me closer to a state of balance with others.

Can a person be balanced and imbalanced at the same time? Can one be healthy and unhealthy? Sane and insane? And if so, how do these opposites mutually coexist?

In any given moment, the human essence, that which I call "me", is in flux. For this reason opposites are allowed to mingle and exist side by side one another. The flux of the human essence refuses to be pigeonholed into an absolute state, happiness, for example, or total misery.

Perhaps a suicide commits suicide not because of the certainty of his feelings, but the uncertainty, the flux. Being human means being incompatible with oneself. One is balanced in a certain way and imbalanced in another. We cannot just be this or that. We are all things, contradictory and inconclusive.

The flux involves elements that are both in order and out of order. Nothing will ever be complete. Forget perfection. You are torn at the roots of every moment. Which gives us a chance to renew ourselves if we are looking forward. But also a sense of disappointment and disenchantment if we are looking back.

Maybe I won't write out all of these chapters ahead of time. Maybe I'll just come to the library every day and write a chapter in my notebook. Then I'll return home and transcribe it into a post as I have done today.

Wow, it feels good to be writing again.


Gretta said...

You have hit the human dilemma square on its head, and it is us. Love your line, "We are in all things, contradictory and inconclusive." It is the only place that we can continue to grow. G

Lethe said...

Thanks Gretta!

Ruthi said...

Life is really a mystery. No matter how hard we try to understand human existence... we cannot find the right answers simply because the answers could be "not the one we expect" or "the one which is hard to accept".

When I feel miserable at times... I tried to understand why I am miserable. I tried to be objective in answering my own question and eventually I will realize that I made bad decisions. Then I will try to reason out with myself and eventually I will find myself more miserable than before.

Now I just let myself wonder on the things that are happening to me. I dont even want to wish anymore because it is true what they say... be careful with what you wish for... you might get it. I wished for something so hard in the past. I got it. Now I miserable too because it was not what I expect.

But there is one important lesson that a priest taught me... GROW WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED. That was when I was complaining a lot about my life in the past. When I was not happy with everything what was happening I learned to just go and give myself a chance to see beyond the ordinary.

I dont know about balance. But one thing is sure... we need to know or experience the bad things in life to be able to appreciate the good ones.

Lastly, I love the way you write. I just have I have the time to really sit down and think. I still consider myself a frustrated writer. But since I need extra income to help my husband pay our bills my writing tend to be just written rants and whines. I lost all the passion now. I just write to post so I can get paid for it. Oh well, there is my balance. Balancing my bank account with my expenses. hahahaha. Have a nice day.

Lethe said...


Thank you for opening your heart up to me and talking about all these things on my blog book. I'm grateful to have visitors like you. You add the third dimension, which is everyone else.

"Grow where you are planted." I've never heard that before, but it's true and it makes sense. We struggle we all struggle. I don't know anyone who doesn't. But there are moments, some longer than others, some shorter, when life really is worth living. And all of our suffering seems worth the price of this happiness.


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