Monday, June 25, 2012

Achieving Balance...The Line Between Hopeful and Cynical

Balance has always been the buzzword for overworked, stressed people.  Everyone is trying to find balance.  Balancing family, job, children, expectations, motivations, ambitions...is it possible to really "balance" it all?
Dictionary.com (where was this when I was in high school?) has many definitions for balance.  Balance is a very all encompassing word and can be applied in a variety of ways but always coming back to a singular "sense" I believe, peace.

I do not have balance.  There is zero balance in my life and it becomes more evident on a daily basis.  It is not my workaholism my current schedule dictates.  It is not the space or quiet time of which I have none.  For me, it is the balance between hope and cynicism.

equilibrium of the body; steadiness: to lose one's balance 

Every day I am knocked off kilter.  I lose my balance.  Just when I have a moment of hope, when I see a rider "get it", when I see the team work as a team, when I see Obed venturing off into his new life this week in America, I have hope.  Lately, the moments are fleeting.  I cling to them like a life ring in the middle of a raging sea.  All around me swim the sharks of cynicism.  People I work with who lie.  Someone who takes my race earnings without asking and then promises to pay me back.  I doubt I will ever see the money again.  It is not much, it will not change the outcome of my financial future, if this person would have simply asked me for help it would have been theirs.  No, it's more drastic, it changes my outlook on people.  Things that should be so simple, a one or two day task, which stretch into weeks due to unasked questions, a lack of urgency and simply a "oh, well, I can do it tomorrow" attitude.  I fight off the sharks of cynicism the best I can but there are often just too many.  I think one took off my leg this past week.

calmness of mind harmony in the parts of a whole: balance in an artistic composition

There is no calmness of mind.  Our newest volunteer, Jody, who has only been here 2 1/2 days expressed to me, how do you keep everything straight?  You have so many things going on, when you talk to people it is like hearing a different language especially when you're dealing with passports and visas..and you never write anything down?  I don't write much down anymore because it always changes.  Always...constantly....it would require too much writing frankly.  

Many of you have asked why I do not blog much anymore.  I simply can't clear my mind, or my living space for that matter, long enough to think, to formulate thoughts into coherent sentences.  That, and I have so many things come at me in a given day I do not know where to begin the story for that day.

the act of weighing factors, quantities, etc, against each other the power to influence or control: he held the balance of power 

For a control freak like me Africa has been the greatest learning challenge.  I cannot control anything.  I plan and then the plans change generally within an hour and often several times during the hour.  I am at the mercy of so many forces and people.  I have to flow, to adapt, to roll over it like a stream over shiny worn stones.  I have improved exponentially in this area.  The only glitch in the matrix however, is ultimately, I am at the mercy of this country, its people, government and culture.  My frustrations go unexpressed.  I cannot give voice to many thoughts.  I must submit and tread softly.  But when does that soft treading become weakness?  When do the riders lose because I am not strong, I am not vocal.  Ultimately, everything I do is for their benefit.  This is the path I have chosen for the moment and I have no regrets.  To see them succeed whether it's in cycling or in another profession as Obed has embraced is my everything.  To know that perhaps one of their lives is irrevocably changed for the better because I chose to live this life with them is my life ring.  

something that remains or is left: let me have the balance of what you owe me

I laughed when I read this definition considering the issue I have on deck with money owed.  To me though it really is not what is "owed" financially.  Something that remains or is left is what happens after we leave Rwanda.  Will the team survive?  I cannot begin to think about the "what ifs".  I believe, I hope it will.  I know it will not look the same or be the same.  Things will be run differently, it will be run the Rwandan way.  Perhaps that is best for them anyway.  I will not know that answer until it happens.  Kiki, Obed, Abraham and Nathan and hopefully Adrien someday down the road, will be the ones to run the team.  I believe they will embrace the best of both worlds.  The will take the good of the business acumen we as Americans and French, have brought to the table and balance it with their knowledge of all things Rwandan.  

I believe a better balance will be found in spreading the cycling love around Africa.  Rwanda is not the only country with amazingly talented cyclists.  Other cyclists, other Adriens need that hand up.  I believe it is our duty to help make it better for everyone...and through the everyone in Africa we will find the one or two who are irrevocably changed because we ventured into their country, into their lives.  

Then....I pray, the hope will return and I will move into a life boat, much more protected from the sharks of cynicism.