Balancing Act: A Writer Wednesday Post

March 20th, 2013 | Posted by Irene in Essays - (14 Comments)

Eggquinox, all photos & text © Irene O’Garden 2013

To listen to this post, please click here:Balancing Act

Equinox. Light balances the dark today. Eggs balance on their oval ends.

Soon the massive green scroll will unroll over the black and white landscape. Colors will breed in irresistible bursts. Windows will rise; our hive will grow social. But for now, inner self and outer self equilibrate. One sits, one acts.

Which is more important, inner or outer?

I’ve continued the meditation practice I reinvigorated in January. (Since I am called outward a good deal, my intuition prompted me to go inward to maintain my balance.)  Watching thoughts fountain up in meditation is a bit like checking a Twitterstream or Facebook feed.  As thoughts flash naturally in our personal psyche, similar groups of reflections, questions, images, and amusements flash through the public psyche at this funny new intersection of public and private: social media.

Like thoughts, one can lose oneself in social media. But like thoughts, one can choose what to ignore, what to retain, what to share. And one stream often reflects the other. For instance, I’m seeing more about meditation these days in the culture at large, and in friends teaching mindfulness to children. ( Among them, Zoe Sameth in California has a great relaxation CD.)

Which is more important, public or private?


Is this



less important than this?




Some things are showier than others. Public can be showier than private. Spring is showier than winter. Blossoms are showier than bulbs. But all are necessary aspects of larger truths—the truth of human beings, the truth of the seasonal year, the truth of the flower. The truth of the whole. The metronome holding the motion.

In this enlightening of the year, may you enjoy an outward spring gratifying to your senses,  an inward spring deeply refreshing to your spirit, and a profound renewal of your whole self.


Is something awakening in you?

To listen to this post please click: How Precious Is Attention 

I had already planned to offer thanks this week for you, my readers, and the gift of your attention. Today, an untoward experience gave me even deeper appreciation.

In anticipation of my forthcoming e-version of Glad To Be Human, well-meaning and helpful people have advised me to learn to use social media. No one’s writing can stand alone now, I’m told. Writers must create “platforms,” built tweet by tweet and blog by blog of comments logged, to lift our writing from the flat and populated ground, that we and our words may be more easily seen, discovered, and shared. Even if you have a publisher, as do I, writers are expected to become architects and marketers, or else cry in the wilderness.

So, to serve the words vouchsafed me, I have been dipping my toe into these public streams of consciousness ribboning through social cyberspace. Like our physical world, they flow with whimsy, creativity, outrage, persuasion, boredom, love, humor, and passion. Admittedly, from time to time, I do question the necessity of this daily bath.

This morning I opened my Twitter stream to find a sardonic headline that hit me in the solar plexus. I won’t share it–it’s not worth the electrons. Suffice it to say that it fulfilled its intention to shock. I felt alkaline in a world of acid. Peculiarly, it hurt my feelings.

Was it the end of the world? Of course not. (It was, however, the end of my following that hip, influential magazine.) And being offended is a risk we take when we move in society, virtual or otherwise.

But the intensity and physicality of my response gave me pause. People speak about the social fabric, but for me it’s flesh. It’s alive, and responds to being grabbed or caressed.

Attention is as precious as a body, and should be accorded the same respect. Like a body, we can usually choose where we place it, how we nourish it, whose energy it shares. Occasionally it gets caught in social weather.  Which makes the warming fireside of friendly regard all the more valued.

So I have decided to send my own counteracting tweet out today: Treat attention like a body tenderly. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tweets…

Cathy, Steve, Mark, Cecile: First Video Shoot
all text ⓒ Irene O’Garden 2012

This week I say goodbye to The Art Garden, a very beloved fireside. I continue to be grateful for your gentle attention, which I endeavor to repay in kind. Please have a joyful, attentive Thanksgiving.

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