The Wink In The Eye of The Storm

240 240 Elisabeth Karsten

Like a pregnant woman sees babies everywhere she goes, so my perception these days is frequently influenced by my blog. Constantly themes and ideas arise related to the theme of balance, sometimes externally sometimes internally and some more obvious than others… but the more I explore this theme the more I´m fascinated how it pervades all of our life. As a matter of fact much more than I ever anticipated.

Balance everywhere you go

Looking for a nice illustration of a mobile with which I will illustrate an entry in the future, I came across a thing called a “gimbal” – which sounds nicely playful, last but not least because of the final syllable sounding like “ball”. In German it´s called a “Cardanian suspension” – which seems much more scientific but also much less charming.

I don´t want to get too caught up in physical details: what I understood is that it is a construction that consists of three rings each revolting on a different axis that allow the object in the middle of the construct to remain stable independently from the structure that supports it. (Ok, all physicists may role their eyes now.) The principle was described by the Italian physicist and mathematician Girolamo Cardano in the 15th century – but it is known since antiquity.

Typically this construction is often used on ships where it stabilizes the compass, the oven and drinking vessels. In our daily life we sometimes encounter this mechanism in a gyroscope – when a gyroscope is spinning the inner center remains stable…but you´ve got to make it turn. The gimbal does that by itself: it is constantly in motion.

Everything in motion, yet stable

That of course is what I find enticing as a metaphor: everything is in motion but the center remains stable…and in balance!

For a healthy balance can never be static and fixed – for a fixed seesaw becomes a bench – even though a sloping one…

We must and want to be flexible and yet stable even under most dire circumstances. In order to remain somewhat stable in our sometimes rather stormy lives we need dynamic support – sometimes also externally.

That can be one´s family or good friends – or the reliability of one´s own daily rhythms and the familiarity with one´s home environment and of course personal believes and principles – may they be of a religious or other nature.

When the storm comes it becomes interesting

But what happens if one of these domains is severely shaken, maybe because of a death in the family or a destructive earthquake or a crisis of faith that let´s one despair over one´s own existence?

How many “rings of support” do remain when one or more break? What helps us to remain stable – when seemingly no support is available anymore? What helps us to remain in the eye of our own storm? Sometimes these are really strange things and not free of humour.

The rings can be different for each us

In a stormy phase of my own life I managed to maintain my inner balance by seeming endless rounds of an online mah-joong game, a friend of mine told me that in a situation where he was kicked out by his girlfriend and his boss – he managed to stabilize himself with non-alcoholic beer and watching TV-shows for children and an acquaintance of mine who grew up in a very religious family and strongly suffered from depression survived one of her depressive states because of – Jesus. She was out speeding with her car at night firmly planning to end her life in a highway tunnel, but she just couldn´t manage. Someone had spread the same graffiti over all tunnel walls and she didn´t dare ruin it. It said: “Jesus loves you.”

Sometimes it is even life itself that stabilizes us with a loving wink!