Got Balance?!?



Happy Hump Day, Yeah!!

We’re baaacckk … on Wednesdays that is!  Educational Excellence is back on Wednesdays!!  It is the middle of the week, halfway to the weekend, Baby!  As I use to say on my college radio show … years ago for Wednesday Night Triad on WPRB … 103.3 FM …in New Jersey … “The weekend has begun!!”  Crazy, right?!?

That’s how we ALL use to roll during those years!!  One thing that we always did well … was have a good time!!  Now, I also believe that many of us were talented … me included … because there was a lot of work that had to get done, too … just for us to stay there and study for our degrees.  I was on an academic scholarship which included a “work/study” package with a small loan over the 4 years I spent studying … okay and partying, there, too!  During those years I spent at St. Paul’s School and Princeton University, I learned the importance of finding and maintaining balance in  my life.  I found out that in order to be successful in my academic pursuits, I had to have balance.  “All work and no play” was not an option for me.  I played basketball, ran track, shucks one year … I even tried out for the baseball team at St. Paul’s.  I wasn’t good … I was barely decent at baseball and didn’t like all the contact in football though I played my very first year at SPS.  Balancing school work and fun time with sports and socializing became major concerns for me as I studied and lived away from home.  I thank my parents for “pushing” me to take advantage of such opportunities, which I had to figure out and be successful at at the same time … that’s balance.

One of my favorite activities today, which combines the spiritual development I crave as well as physical conditioning, is yoga – vinyasa yoga to be exact!  That simply means that there are various postures or “asanas” to flow through, including downward dog, planks, tree pose, cobra and upward dog, during our “moving meditation”.  Breathing deeply is an important part of establishing ones balance during yoga practises.  I enjoy the challenge that comes with poses like “standing split” or airplane pose and side planks.  One has to find a “spot” on the floor or wall … or ceiling … focus your breathing and hold the pose for several seconds … maybe even a minute or two with some poses.  That “focus” also involves visual or looking outside of your body as well as spiritual, as we meditate and look inside of ourselves to stretch, breathe and join our breath with our movements to create a beautiful “flow”.  One can achieve focus and concentration, peace and harmony … and a form of relaxation second to none!!

Nowadays, when life gets challenging, I go “inside” and seek the peace that I have cultivated during my yoga practises, deep breathing and focusing on what I want to accomplish at that moment rather than just responding to some external stimuli … be it someone’s harsh words or a physical challenge where body movement and control is required.  I think about people who “fly off the handle” like Trump and say some of the most awful things, not to mention people who have chosen violent and gun oriented behavior when some else’s precious life is taken … because someone lacked “self control”.  Life is full of emotions … all of the emotions … love and hate … violence and calmness … sadness and joy.  How do YOU handle them?  Are “you” able to handle the situation, control yourself and your emotions and just “leave it there”, rather than carry that emotion with you throughout this day … weeks … or years along your journey?!?  Seek balance … internal, spiritual and physical balance … and “life” is more of a flow … at least, it is for me!

Peace be with you,

John I. Cook, Director

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