Saturday, January 14, 2017

Developing Strength

 I like it!
The desire for mysterious powers that don't involve developing strength runs really deep in a lot of people. I'm not sure what they have against the development of strength. The time in my life when I was the most "woo-ist" and suggestible to woo ideas was the time when I was the weakest and the time when I was most  "anti-strength". I think I was afraid of any arena where strength would be a factor because I was not very strong as a kid. The whole realm of physical strength was very intimidating to me. I associated it with male on male violence and competition and since I wasn’t very strong, this was daunting. My fantasy life was rich but in real life, I was afraid of the physical world.

One of the reasons I was attracted to T’ai-Chi was that it seemed to promise a way to be able to defend myself but not have to depend on strength. But as the years and decades passed, it became more and more clear that strength was not only necessary but an essential part of the art. I’m not talking brute force here, but strength: having strong coordinated muscles.


I used to believe in weak old men defeating young warriors by communing with some deeper level of "energy", or at least I thought it might be true. But it's hard to ignore the fact that while a weaker person sometimes "wins" a given moment, sometimes a given fight, in every martial art, all around the world, in any realm where there is any kind of realistic and consistent pressure testing, the top fighters across the board are physically strong people. There is no world champion in anything who is not a much stronger than the average human being.


I like martial training games, but I don’t really train for combat, I mostly train for everyday life. And I’ll tell ya, strong muscles, as well as aligned bones and ability to coordinate agile physical responses to change are really nice, especially as I get older.


Over and above my regular T’ai-Chi training, I’ve been working specifically on building strength for the past few years. I’ve been going very slowly and carefully, because I have had a tendency to injure my tendons and ligaments whenever I overdo things. I have had a few injuries doing this, but they’ve been relatively minor and each one taught me something about alignment, flow, and connection.


I wanted to see if I liked working with kettlebells so I found an instructional video and worked through the exercises with an 8 pound plastic kettlebell that I found at the Goodwill. And I worked with that light weight kettlebell for quite some weeks making sure my form was pretty solid, before I decided to buy some heavier ones.


I’m not saying my posture is perfect with the kettlebells, it’s not, but it’s good enough to avoid injury. My next step was to get a couple of metal kettlebells. The Russian guy in the video said that men usually start with the 35 lb. ones and women usually start with the 26.5 lb ones. I figured he was talking about Russian women, so I opted to be conservative and got the 26.5 Lb. ones. And I haven’t regretted it. 26.5 was plenty. I worked with them for about a year or so before I stepped up and got a 35 Lb. bell which is where I’ll most likely stay. Strength isn’t the only thing I’m building. But at least for now the two 26.5 Lb. bells for some of the exercises and one 35 Lb. bell for others is feeling right.


I worked out with 5 pound hand weights for a long time before stepping up to 8 pound weights. I’m pretty sure I’ll step up to 10’s at some point but for now I have my hands full with the 8’s.


When I restarted working on pull-ups after an elbow injury set me back a bit, I started super simple, just hanging and lifting my head up over my shoulders, little mini-pull-ups. I would do 10 a few times a day…after several weeks I upped it to 20 and one day, I just had the feeling I could do a relatively strain free complete pull-up and I did. Then I started doing one, a few times a day. And I’ve slowly upped it to where I can do 6 and I can do that maybe twice a day…or maybe once and then a couple of sets of 3 spaced throughout the day.


I did the same thing with pushups. I don’t do them fast to bust out the numbers. I do several sets of ten complete pushups daily with good form, connection to breath, and going at a moderate speed.


So for me, taking it slowly and easily with a lot of attention to form and breath and balance has really been working well. I also put extra attention on making sure I’m not getting tighter or more rigid as I get stronger. I work a lot on flow and softness and looseness to balance and include any newfound strength I’m building. I’ve also added a 20 minute or so mostly uphill bike ride to my routine of teaching T’ai-Chi in the park. I do it 3-5 times a week on my way home. This has coincided with changing some of my eating habits. I’ve cut way back on grains, cheese, fried foods and sweets and started eating a lot more vegetables. As a consequence of working out more, biking more, building strength and eating better, I’ve lost about 15 pounds. When I first started to build more muscle, I started getting bigger. My shirts started to feel tight. But then I started to get leaner and I ended up smaller but stronger.


I can’t think of any aspect of my T’ai-Chi that isn’t better because of the strength I’m developing. I’m faster, stronger, softer, more mobile, more responsive, more relaxed, more agile, my wind is better, my balance is better. Developing strength and then taking that strength into relaxed, balanced, natural movement has been a real pleasure. When doing pushing hands I so feel that in some ways I’m easier to push than I used to be. Those extra 15 pounds to settle into my belly and legs used to make me harder to push since those were 15 educated and settled pounds that would probably feel more like 40 to my partner. I like the challenge of working on making up for those pounds with better technique, increased strength when the time is right to use it, and better mobility and responsiveness.


I used to think strength was the enemy. Not anymore. Brute strength, thoughtlessly applied, that’s what I try to avoid. Tightness, rigidity, lack of mobility, those are the things I work against. But developing strength, at least the way I’m doing it, has been nothing but helpful to me.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

January News



From Gene Burnett

Well, the Winter weather is really coming on strong this year…at least strong for Southern Oregon. Temps have been consistently lower than in recent years and there’s a big snowstorm coming as of this writing. I’ve been teaching outdoors all year round for many years so I’m no stranger to strong weather. I layer up, get out the glove and sock liners, and keep moving. I figure if the worst you can say about your day is that your fingers and toes got cold, you’re doing pretty well. I might have a few “All Weather T’ai-Chi” videos next month.

I guess this bears repeating: My new album “Love & Heartache” is finally up on my site. It is also available at CD Baby and will be available at other e-retailers of music soon, if it isn’t already. Here’s a link to the album page at my site: L & H If you click on this link, you’ll get a player that will play the album for you. If you’d like to download any of the songs free, there’s a link to do that on the page as well. There’s also a digital tip jar.

I posted a bunch of new videos this month: 19 Music videos! (18 sky videos for all of the songs on “Love & Heartache” plus one from our local Winter Solstice Interfaith Ceremony), 3 Rogue Poetry Slam videos, and one T’ai-Chi video. See links below in the Videos section of this post.


So here we go…I’m going to start with local shows in case you’re in the Rogue Valley and then proceed with the usual information about where to find my music, videos, and pictures, including information about new projects.

There is so much to listen to and watch on the net these days…I’m amazed anyone even gets this far in the newsletter let alone watches or listens to anything I’m doing. I’m sincerely grateful for every view, every listen, and every nice comment I receive. I’m happy if anything I post truly reaches even one person. I’m offering all this stuff in a “just in case you’re interested” spirit.


Upcoming Shows:

Monday January 2nd, I'll be playing at one of my favorite Ashland venues, Liquid Assets. A relaxed living room vibe with great service, excellent food and wine, and a really nice place to listen to music. I play from 7-9pm

Wednesday January 4th, I'll be hosting my regular Themed Open Mike at The Wild Goose Café & Bar. Usually this happens on the First Wednesday of every month. This month's theme will be“Dreams & Wishes”,  so musicians and spoken word artists will be doing songs and poems, covers or originals, that are about or mention dreams or wishes in any way. We're never too strict or narrow about the themes for this event. The main idea is to focus our attention a little to hopefully inspire and motivate us creatively. These are always fun community events. No Cover at the friendliest bar in Ashland. Sign-up is 7:30pm. Show starts at 8:00pm.
*A heads up for next month: Wednesday, February 1st, 2017: “6th Annual~Love Songs”

Tuesday, January 17th, I'll be competing with many other poets at the Rogue Poetry Slam which happens at Caldera Tap House in Ashland. Sign-up is at 7:30pm and the show starts at 8. $5 cover, all of which goes to the winning poets. If you've never been to or competed in a Poetry Slam, I highly recommend this one. Come to watch, compete, or be one of the judges. Some people think of slams as hardcore hip-hop events or places where people are mean and talk trash, but nothing could be further from the truth. All kinds of poetry are welcome and people are very supportive. And it's so nice to participate in an event that is all about the words, or in my case, lyrics. For me it's really not about winning or losing, but just the fun of sharing my words with people and seeing what happens.

Saturday, January 21st, from 10am-Noon, my good friend Jesse Biesanz and I are hosting a Hacky Sack session at the Band Shell in Lithia Park. This will happen on the third Saturday of every month. We both miss the fun and camaraderie of a good friendly Hack Circle and…more importantly, we miss the practice! It’s fun, aerobic, cooperative, demands balance, coordination, quick thinking and accuracy…So whether you’re new to the game, or an experienced player who wants to brush up your skills, or an expert who just wants to meet some new players, come on by. Hacky Sack basically involves keeping a small footbag in the air, usually leather and fairly soft, using only your feet. When there are more than two players, it’s usually played in a circle. If the circle gets too big, it is split into smaller circles.

The only rules of this Hack Circle:

1. You’ve got to use your feet to keep the sack in the air and off the ground. No hands! (10 voluntary pushups if you do)

2. If you miss or otherwise screw up, you can’t say, “I’m Sorry.” (10 voluntary pushups if you do)

3. No serving to yourself. (10 voluntary pushups if you do)

4. No hotdogging. Meaning this is not about how many tricks you can do before the sack hits the ground, and it’s not about working obsessively on tricks. Tricks are fine but in general, we want to keep the hack going as a friendly group and keep everyone involved.

See you at the bandshell, rain or shine. The shell provides shelter from the rain and once a circle gets going, you’ll be plenty warm.

Monday, January 23rd, I'll be playing at The Wild Goose Café & Bar. Just me solo from 8-11pm. Friendliest bar in Ashland. Never a cover at The Goose.

For more info about these and all of my shows, and to confirm that there have been no cancellations, click here: Calendar  


Since I'm putting this newsletter out once a month, it's possible there may be a cancellation of a given show by the time it happens. Please double check with my web calendar if possible to be sure the gig is still happening. I'd hate to have you come out for nothing. Also another gig or two might be added or times or locations might change, so do check the calendar for the latest info.  


Recorded Music

All of my over 30 albums are available for downloading free or with a donation at my website: www.GeneBurnett.com


Videos In General

Overall Mission: I post a lot of videos on youtube, over 1000 so far! I'm not trying to build a fan base...In fact, I'm not trying to build anything. I'm not expecting you or anyone else to follow what I'm doing or watch all of these videos. Posting videos is just part of my overall plan to make my music (and my T’ai-Chi and Nature videos too) as freely available as possible and see what freely comes back. I think of each video as sort of like a message in a bottle...and more I toss out there the more likely one of them will land on a friendly shore and something good will come back to me. So here are some video links in case you're interested:

How to Find My Videos: First of all, I've set up a "Videos" page on my website (www.GeneBurnett.com) with a menu similar to what you see below as well as a digital tip jar in case any of you want to contribute to my cottage industry. Every little bit helps and not just financially. 

I've also set up some blogs that make navigating and viewing my various videos much easier. You can go to any of these blogs and see thumbnails for all of the videos posted there. Scroll across the thumbnails and you will see the titles of each video. Click on it and a page will open that will let you watch the video right there without going to youtube. My latest videos are always in the upper left hand corner.

To see all of my Music videos in one easy to navigate place, click here: The Unforced Videos

To see all of my T'ai-Chi videos in one easy to navigate place, click here: The Unforced Movement

To see all of my Nature videos in one easy to navigate place, click here: The Unforced Nature

For a quick and easy way to sort through, listen to, or download all of my albums free or with a donation, click here: The Unforced Music

To see my regular blog “The Unforced Life”, click here: The Unforced Life

To visit my youtube channel and possibly subscribe, click here: My Youtube Channel

To see all of my youtube playlists click here: My Youtube Playlists 

New Videos

20 new Music videos:


One new T’ai-Chi video:


Three New Rogue Poetry Slam Videos:



Pictures

I've stopped posting as many pictures on facebook, (for many reasons), and started posting them instead on Flickr, which I like much better.

Here's a link to my "home page" at Flicker: Photostream.

I have many photo galleries there but a few of my favorites are:

Small Miracles (mostly Nature related stuff)

The Dish Whisperer (I started posting a daily picture of my dish stacking work over a year ago. I recently crossed the 1800 straight days mark. I have no idea how long I’ll keep doing this. I’m so used to it, it hardly takes any effort at all to continue. I made a video for my song “I'll Do The Dishes Tonight” that featured a slideshow of the first year. I made it through my second year recently, and hope to create another video slideshow set to another of my songs. Stay tuned…)

"Head" and "Boot" (devoted to our two gerbils)






Website

I continue to offer all of my albums for downloading, free or with a donation at my website: www.GeneBurnett.com I started doing this about 8 or 9 years ago and considered it a 5 year creative experiment. Well the 5 years passed and I decided to start calling it my "ongoing creative experiment" as I have no plans to stop. Since I returned to my folk roots and stopped climbing, or trying to climb, the industry ladder, I've been enjoying music in my life more than ever before. And enjoyment, rather than achievement or worldly success has always been dearest to my heart anyway. So now I focus totally on what I love most: writing, recording, performing and sharing what I create. If other people like it, so much the better, but getting other people to like me or what I do is no longer my goal or focus. I'm out to please myself first. I want to do my music exactly the way I want to do it and see who likes it that way, not figure out what people will like and try to do it that way. I put it out there freely and see what comes freely back. So far so good. I've never had more success and appreciation than I have since I started doing it this. Go figure. 


Thanks, as usual, for your support and well wishes even if you don't make to any shows.

GB

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My 2016




Looking back…
When I look back on 2016, I think of it as a pretty difficult and stressful year, with some real highs and lows on the emotional home front as well as in the political world…but I did manage to do the following things:

1. I quit caffeine completely…love it…never going back
2. I changed my diet…more veggies…much less grains…much less salty and sugary fatty foods
3. I lost 10-15 pounds…from the 175-180 range to a steady 165 or less
4. I significantly increased my strength without injuring myself or sacrificing form, looseness or flexibility. This was because I took it slowly and carefully and never pushed or strained myself too hard. Got up to 5 smooth and complete pull-ups
5. I consolidated switching my sleep pattern from 3-4 hours at night and 3-4 hours during the day back to getting most of my sleep at night
6. In the late summer I started riding my bike on a 20+ minute mostly uphill ride several times a week on my way home from teaching in the park and did it over 70 times before the year was through
7. I created a Freestyle T’ai-Chi workout and incorporated it into my regular practice
8. I wrote and recorded 18 new songs for a new album called “Love & Heartache”, the 33rd album posted on my site
9. I hosted 12 successful Themed Open Mikes at The Wild Goose Café & Bar and went to over 40 Sunday Night Open Mikes there
10. I co-hosted 12 Hacky Sack circles in the park and woke up my feet
*11. I took a few days off and explored Mt. Shasta and the PCT with my wife Samarra
*12. I went on a road trip with my buddy Neil to Reno to see one of my favorite comedians, Bill Burr
*13. I went on another road trip with Neil to Redding to see and our friend Betty LaDuke’s art show and explore the Turtle Bay Exploration Park
*14.  I taught and took classes at my teacher Andy Dale’s annual T’ai-Chi Retreat at Bandon on the Oregon coast and got some great practice and beach walking in with Neil and my good friend Joel Hartshorne
*As a guy who rarely travels…leaving the county several times was a distinct change and for me, a bit of an accomplishment
15. I finished 5 straight years of doing the dishes and taking pictures of them. I know…this one’s kinda nuts…
16. I taught over 600 T’ai-Chi lessons
17. I created and posted over 160 videos on youtube…mostly Music, T’ai-Chi, and Nature stuff
18. I manned the home fort and kept it all afloat during Samarra’s several months of studying and working in Seattle
19. We navigated some tricky mid-life crisis waters in our marriage…and while it’s not a sure thing going forward…we are still married
20. We got rid of lots of extraneous stuff around our apartment…many many bags of stuff to the Goodwill or in the trash or recycling
21. I played a lot of shows including: a really nice concert with a great listening audience in Grants Pass as part of “The Storytellers Series” at the Barnstormers Theater…two “Hearth” events…one about race and one after the election…both well attended and appreciative…Two Interfaith events…both well attended and appreciative…a nice season of music out at the Lithia Artisans Market…one of my favorite places to play…and 11 shows at Liquid Assets Wine Bar…another favorite place to play
22. I competed in 9 Rogue Poetry Slams…came in 4th place twice and 3rd place twice and always enjoyed myself
23. I turned 59

Friday, December 2, 2016

December News

From Gene Burnett

My new album “Love & Heartache” is finally up on my site. It is also available at CD Baby and will be available at other e-retailers of music soon, if it isn’t already. Here’s a link to the album page at my site: L & H
If you click on this link, you’ll get a player that will play the album for you. If you’d like to download any of the songs free, there’s a link to do that on the page as well. There’s also a digital tip jar. 

I posted a bunch of new videos this month: 8 Music videos, 2 Rogue Poetry Slam videos, 3 T’ai-Chi videos, and 2 Nature videos. See links below in the Video section of this post.

So here we go…I’m going to start with local shows in case you’re in the Rogue Valley and then proceed with the usual information about where to find my music, videos, and pictures, including information about new projects.

There is so much to listen to and watch on the net these days…I’m amazed anyone even gets this far in the newsletter let alone watches or listens to anything I’m doing. I’m sincerely grateful for every view, every listen, and every nice comment I receive. I’m happy if anything I post truly reaches even one person. I’m offering all this stuff in a “just in case you’re interested” spirit. 


Upcoming Shows:

Saturday December 3rd, I'll be at OSF Great Hall in Ashland, playing from 10am-Noon. This is part of the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival Holiday Art and Gift Sale. The sale will be happening all weekend and there will be music throughout. Come support local art and music. I’ll have copies of my CD’s and books with me. 

Monday December 5th, I'll be playing at one of my favorite Ashland venues, Liquid Assets. A relaxed living room vibe with great service, excellent food and wine, and a really nice place to listen to music. I play from 7-9pm

Wednesday December 7th, I'll be hosting my regular Themed Open Mike at The Wild Goose Café & Bar. Usually this happens on the First Wednesday of every month. This month's theme will be our “6thAnnual Holiday/Winter Songs”, so musicians and spoken word artists will be doing songs and poems, covers or originals, that are about or mention Winter and/or the Winter Holidays in any way. We're never too strict or narrow about the themes for this event. The main idea is to focus our attention a little to hopefully inspire and motivate us creatively. These are always fun community events. No Cover at the friendliest bar in Ashland. Sign-up is 7:30pm. Show starts at 8:00pm.
*A heads up for next month: Wednesday, December 4th, 2017: “Dreams & Wishes”

Saturday, December 17thfrom 10am-Noonmy good friend Jesse Biesanz and I are hosting a Hacky Sack session at the Band Shell in Lithia Park. This will happen on the third Saturday of every month. We both miss the fun and camaraderie of a good friendly Hack Circle and…more importantly, we miss the practice! It’s fun, aerobic, cooperative, demands balance, coordination, quick thinking and accuracy…So whether you’re new to the game, or an experienced player who wants to brush up your skills, or an expert who just wants to meet some new players, come on by. Hacky Sack basically involves keeping a small footbag in the air, usually leather and fairly soft, using only your feet. When there are more than two players, it’s usually played in a circle. If the circle gets too big, it is split into smaller circles.

The only rules of this Hack Circle:

1. You’ve got to use your feet to keep the sack in the air and off the ground. No hands! (10 voluntary pushups if you do)

2. If you miss or otherwise screw up, you can’t say, “I’m Sorry.” (10 voluntary pushups if you do)

3. No serving to yourself. (10 voluntary pushups if you do)

4. No hotdogging. Meaning this is not about how many tricks you can do before the sack hits the ground, and it’s not about working obsessively on tricks. Tricks are fine but in general, we want to keep the hack going as a friendly group and keep everyone involved.

See you at the bandshell, rain or shine. The shell provides shelter from the rain and once a circle gets going, you’ll be plenty warm.

Tuesday, December 20th, I'll be competing with many other poets at the Rogue Poetry Slam which happens at Caldera Tap House in Ashland. Sign-up is at 7:30pm and the show starts at 8. $5 cover, all of which goes to the winning poets. If you've never been to or competed in a Poetry Slam, I highly recommend this one. Come to watch, compete, or be one of the judges. Some people think of slams as hardcore hip-hop events or places where people are mean and talk trash, but nothing could be further from the truth. All kinds of poetry are welcome and people are very supportive. And it's so nice to participate in an event that is all about the words, or in my case, lyrics. For me it's really not about winning or losing, but just the fun of sharing my words with people and seeing what happens.

For more info about these and all of my shows, and to confirm that there have been no cancellations, click here: Calendar  

Since I'm putting this newsletter out once a month, it's possible there may be a cancellation of a given show by the time it happens. Please double check with my web calendar if possible to be sure the gig is still happening. I'd hate to have you come out for nothing. Also another gig or two might be added or times or locations might change, so do check the calendar for the latest info.  


Recorded Music

All of my over 30 albums are available for downloading free or with a donation at my website: www.GeneBurnett.com


Videos In General

Overall Mission: I post a lot of videos on youtube, over 1000 so far! I'm not trying to build a fan base...In fact, I'm not trying to build anything. I'm not expecting you or anyone else to follow what I'm doing or watch all of these videos. Posting videos is just part of my overall plan to make my music (and my T’ai-Chi and Nature videos too) as freely available as possible and see what freely comes back. I think of each video as sort of like a message in a bottle...and more I toss out there the more likely one of them will land on a friendly shore and something good will come back to me. So here are some video links in case you're interested:

How to Find My Videos: First of all, I've set up a "Videos" page on my website (www.GeneBurnett.com) with a menu similar to what you see below as well as a digital tip jar in case any of you want to contribute to my cottage industry. Every little bit helps and not just financially. 

I've also set up some blogs that make navigating and viewing my various videos much easier. You can go to any of these blogs and see thumbnails for all of the videos posted there. Scroll across the thumbnails and you will see the titles of each video. Click on it and a page will open that will let you watch the video right there without going to youtube. My latest videos are always in the upper left hand corner.

To see all of my Music videos in one easy to navigate place, click here: The Unforced Videos

To see all of my T'ai-Chi videos in one easy to navigate place, click here: The Unforced Movement

To see all of my Nature videos in one easy to navigate place, click here: The Unforced Nature

For a quick and easy way to sort through, listen to, or download all of my albums free or with a donation, click here: The Unforced Music

To see my regular blog “The Unforced Life”, click here: The Unforced Life

To visit my youtube channel and possibly subscribe, click here: My Youtube Channel

To see all of my youtube playlists click here: My Youtube Playlists 

New Videos

Three new T’ai-Chi videos: 

Two New Rogue Poetry Slam Videos: 

Eight new Music videos: 

Two new Nature videos: 


Pictures

I've stopped posting as many pictures on facebook, (for many reasons), and started posting them instead on Flickr, which I like much better.

Here's a link to my "home page" at Flicker: Photostream

I have many photo galleries there but a few of my favorites are:

Small Miracles (mostly Nature related stuff)

The Dish Whisperer (I started posting a daily picture of my dish stacking work over a year ago. I recently crossed the 1400 straight days mark. I have no idea how long I’ll keep doing this. I’m so used to it, it hardly takes any effort at all to continue. I made a video for my song “I'll Do The Dishes Tonight” that featured a slideshow of the first year. I made it through my second year recently, and hope to create another video slideshow set to another of my songs. Stay tuned…)

"Head" and "Boot" (devoted to our two gerbils)






Website

I continue to offer all of my albums for downloading, free or with a donation at my website: www.GeneBurnett.com I started doing this about 8 or 9 years ago and considered it a 5 year creative experiment. Well the 5 years passed and I decided to start calling it my "ongoing creative experiment" as I have no plans to stop. Since I returned to my folk roots and stopped climbing, or trying to climb, the industry ladder, I've been enjoying music in my life more than ever before. And enjoyment, rather than achievement or worldly success has always been dearest to my heart anyway. So now I focus totally on what I love most: writing, recording, performing and sharing what I create. If other people like it, so much the better, but getting other people to like me or what I do is no longer my goal or focus. I'm out to please myself first. I want to do my music exactly the way I want to do it and see who likes it that way, not figure out what people will like and try to do it that way. I put it out there freely and see what comes freely back. So far so good. I've never had more success and appreciation than I have since I started doing it this. Go figure. 


Thanks, as usual, for your support and well wishes even if you don't make to any shows.

GB

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

When I Find Myself

In Times Of Trouble…
Times ahead are not going to be smooth sailing.

No matter what your circumstances or politics, all kinds of changes are coming, some big, some small, some that will feel good to you and some that will feel bad.
No matter who you are, keeping your balance, physically, emotionally, financially, or spiritually, is not going to be easy. And losing your balance is not going to be painless.
Balance is not just an idea, it is a physical state.
Balancing is not still. (I prefer to call it balancing, since using balance as a noun can be inaccurate and misleading.) It is a state of dynamic tension that requires listening and constant adjustment to changes, external as well as internal.
It requires us to be present in our bodies so that we can sense these changes as they are happening…and it requires a kind of physical fitness, so that we can adjust and make the corrections that will continue to steer us in the direction of balance. This is true of emotional, as well as physical or psychological balance. It doesn’t require us to be Olympic athletes…but it does require us to be athletes of a sort.
We have to be ready to be firm. We have to be ready to be soft.
We have to be ready to retreat. We have to be ready to advance.
We have to be ready to yield. We have to be ready to push back.
We have to be ready to listen. We have to be ready to speak.
And all of these things happen in our bodies. Whatever else they are, all these abilities are physical too.
If we really want better balancing, we have to attend to our bodies because that’s where balancing happens.
Improving physical balance is not enough to bring balance to the rest of life…but it is a great start because it requires many of the things that the other kinds of balancing require and there is direct feedback regarding progress.
If you really want to improve your balancing generally, it’s a really good idea to improve your balance physically. Doing that requires good posture and alignment. It requires basic muscular strength and well as the ability to relax those muscles when needed. And it requires the kind of sensitive listening and adjusting that brings good posture and appropriate use of muscular strength to life.
Taking care of yourself and your loved ones is never a bad idea.
So take care of your own balance.
Take care of your own health.
As much as you can.
Whether you have health coverage or not. Do what you can for yourself.
That’s never a bad idea.
If you can’t, you can’t. But if you can, do.
Invest in your own balancing abilities and invest in your ability to take care of yourself.
This doesn’t mean you can’t ask for or receive help. Of course you can. But do what you can for yourself too.
You can still fight the good fight, whatever that means to you.
But if you want to keep balancing while you do it…get less injured…be less stressed…feel less collapsed…less hyperactive…not as agitated…attending to your physical balance can really help. It can be the foundation for a balanced diet, a balanced mind, a balanced heart, and a balanced life. 
I do it through T’ai-Chi practice, but there are many many other ways of improving physical balance. I urge you to find one that feels like a good fit.
So…the day after a particularly contentious and difficult election, I will do what I do nearly every day: I will train.
I will practice T’ai-Chi. I will teach T’ai-Chi. I will do some work with weights. I will do pushups and pull-ups. I will ride my bike on a short but challenging uphill road loop. I will eat well. I will rest well. And later, I will play at being seaweed. I will mix and match random movements from the various forms I know. I will dance and explore what my body can do and feel. I will practice striking and striking principles. And when it’s time to sleep, I will give my body to its rest as gracefully as I am able.
And along the way, I will connect with my friends and loved ones as I find them.
I might even sing if the spirit moves me.
I will invest in my own balancing. 
And get as ready as I can for the next wave…