June Letter from the editor
Simple, right? Balance. Everyone understands what it means. You talk about balance, I talk about balance, and we are all having the same conversation.
The definition may be universal, but the interpretation is very personal.
Every month the ECHO team has to decide on a cover for the magazine. Sometimes it’s easy. This month, not so much.
We all knew that balance was the theme, so our art director put some proofs together for us to look at.
A woman on a mountaintop in a perfectly balanced yoga pose.
You know what my reaction was? “Nope. Hell no.”
Yep, I think that was it.
I had a visceral reaction to using that photo to depict balance. To me, that’s not real balance. It’s a setup.
But, to our art director, that’s balance. The woman on the mountaintop had achieved calm perfection; it was effortless. She was able to stay in that position at least long enough to be photographed, and to tell you the truth, she looked rock solid. She wasn’t going anywhere until she decided she was done. That’s how our art director sees balance. I’m a little jealous.
To me, balance is tenuous and fleeting, and sometimes looks downright dangerous. Why? Because for me, balancing is never about planting my feet and deciding not to fall over. Balance means I have to actively and constantly adjust things of weight or importance over a moving center point. It takes a lot of energy.
So, what is the center point, where is it, and why does it keep moving?
I don’t know. Sometimes the center point is me, but most of the time it’s not; it’s one of my kids, my husband, work, or a project, or a problem I want to solve. Sometimes I end up chasing that center point just to stay upright. Sometimes, even though I have the center nailed to the floor it doesn’t matter because all the other things have changed in weight or importance faster than I can adjust for them.
This isn’t about keeping God, country or family as the center point in my life. It’s not harder because I have kids and a husband, and a job and the other things I do. It’s because balance can’t really exist where there is energy. There is always the push-pull of life. Each thing is constantly changing in weight and importance; I’m always readjusting. I’m never quite balanced. Don’t laugh.
Frankly, I think we are all a little unbalanced, and I don’t think that is a bad thing.
Without the push-pull that keeps us constantly looking for balance, we would get comfortable and complacent. Without tension, we wouldn’t look for release. If we were all able to plant our feet and do a tree pose on a mountaintop for as long as we wanted, life would get pretty boring.
So, I’ll stay unbalanced, and I’m ok with that; as long as I can keep away from the tipping point.
That brings me to this month’s ECHO Magazine. There are tips from Elizabeth Pearch on how to manage the bi-polar Alaskan summer we are working our way into, and Lee Jordan shares his secrets on how to balance baseball season with real life. Dru Stinson tells us how she managed to survive a country music festival without eating Guy Fieri’s barbecue – and why. I’m still not sure whether to be impressed or sad.
Jamin Goecker and one of our student writers, Meredith Whelan, wrote about their love of running. Emma Haddix gives us more on cycling, or maybe on yoga. I’ll just say if you ride, you’ll find some tips on how to stay balanced on your bike.
We have contributions from Verdie Bowen, Director of the State of Alaska Office of Veterans Affairs addressing the epidemic of veteran suicide. Magen James, Executive Director of the Forget Me Not Coalition introduces us to a unique group that pulls together the many organizations that offer services to our service members, veterans, and their families.
We have some great outdoors stories from Nephi Tyler and Frank Baker, and Nancy Clark from the Eagle River Library has some things to keep us busy when we are inside too.
I am particularly proud of our student writers this month. They chose to share things of importance and meaning to each of them. Cassie Forrestal shares “A day in the life” describing her experiences living with ADHD and Emily Jones wrote a bit about how she can express herself through photography.
Faith Labatos wrote about something so deeply personal I’m not going to attempt a summation. Please read what she has to say. It’s important to realize that her story could have ended differently, and by sharing it, she hopes to help other kids that have felt the same things.
As always, thank you for taking the time,