Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The struggle for balance

Writing words for a living can really take it out of you. Especially when it comes to relaxing.

Being a literarily inclined fellow, my leisure activities tend to consist of:
  • Reading
  • Watching movies
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Blogging!
Trouble is, those so-called leisure activities eat up just the same brain cells that my "day job" does - particularly when I'm trying to do two of them at a time (a frequent occurence).

So I'm not meaning to contradict my previous post on how noise bulks up your brain, but sometimes... after a few long work days and lots of interviewing... I just need a bit of:
  • music (instrumental)
  • walking and other exercise
  • cooking (although that's usually done while listening to a podcast!)
  • silent, reverent contemplation
That last one doesn't come naturally to me. I've only been developing the habit of shutting up for a while after going to a church that practices it in its worship services.

I remember sitting there at church one time contemplating the incredible light from a candle. I was thinking, "there's really good quality silence here".

Crazy, isn't it? As a culture we need specific places to go to enjoy what's always available - for physical exercise, we run on a treadmill inside a gym. For contemplation, we go to a purpose-built church.

Ah, it's not that crazy, really. Not when you consider the kind of world we live in now.

I was thinking about prayer in the business world the other day. If you're not religiously inclined, just imagine I'm talking about meditation.

The current "state of the world" demands we think of things in terms of currency (ie it's current, I don't mean money), scarcity and immediacy. That's why newscasts are so popular - and addictive.

During the recent war in Israel and Lebanon I've had news from so many sources - but when I analysed it, I wasn't getting a better understanding of it at all. I was picking up the raw emotions involved - and that wasn't helping me, or the situation in the Middle East.

So this week - simply because I feel I need it - I'm easing back on the information flow just a little, in that eternal search for balance.


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