Autumnal Equinox 2010: Stop using scales and start using levers?

There are two Equinoxes each year, Vernal (spring) and Autumnal (fall). They are the two days of the year when the day and night are both 12 hours long. They are days to reflect on being balanced.

I didn’t forget the Equinox, I’ve been overwhelmed by preparing for a performance that is happening tomorrow. But I wanted to take a moment before bed to reflect on something that happened the same day as the Equinox itself. I was having lunch and overheard a conversation about the astrological signs. Some misinformation was going between the two women, and I (being an insufferable know-it-all) chimed in without thinking. I am so glad I did. I had an impromptu discussion with a delightful woman, and didn’t realize until later the significance of what we were sharing as it pertained to the day itself. That she is transgender without feeling obliged to transition into a male body made it all even more complex, rich, and interesting. Goddess, I really DO love smart people who speak with an open heart!!

Kelly is a Gemini. The symbol for this sign is the twins. And for good reason: One appearance, but two different personalities. Many Geminis are very dynamic people who have to contend with two very different agendas inside themselves. It is hard for them to find balance, because they usually try to put one internal force against another; however, they truly have two totally different centers (so that complicates everything when thinking about simple scales). The running joke and oversimplification is that Geminis have split personality disorder. It can seem that way, but we all have our challenges (as a Cancer, mine is trying not to be overwhelmed by my constantly intense and shifting emotions).

Kelly’s dilemma is this: On the one hand she is an enormously powerful and effective person who can “stop three lanes of traffic if it’s necessary, and I don’t bother explaining it to anyone.” I didn’t ask what this was in reference to, but I definitely picked up on that powerful sense of self and leadership. I guess she might have been referring to handling some type of emergency at some point in the past?? On the other side of this “scale” is the Kelly who gets mired into worrying about the individual suffering and unhappiness of the people she meets and being brought down by their criticisms of her efforts. Feedback is important for growth, but Geminis are people of extremes and her debilitation isn’t appropriate. She is kind and genuinely interested in helping people; however, my observation is that it isn’t her job to give 100% of herself away to others and keep nothing for herself. This life shouldn’t be about creating an emotional welfare state. Even churches ask for only 10% tithe. We talked about how less can be more, and that perhaps setting examples is more her function than getting involved in micromanaging (which takes away the free will of others and disempowers them from taking responsibility for their own happiness). It’s one situation to help others, but it’s another to leave them dependent on you. Say “No!” to spiritual communism!

The image she kept referring to was a scale out of balance. We talked about that, and I realized that if the fulcrum is at the center, then there has to be absolute parity: She would have to put far too much of her gold on that centrally pivoted scale to “balance” the amount of lead being slumped out by these people whom she was “helping.” That’s not balance at all. Although a pound of gold and a pound of lead each weigh a pound… What she is putting in the scale is worth FAR more than what these miserable people are contributing. And then I realized something: There are three types of levers, and the reason they are efficient is that the fulcrum is brought closer to the applied force than to the load. They are a simple tool that allows a little bit of force to move a disproportionately larger load.


Too often, I (and many other people) think about this cliché called “balance,” and the image that comes to mind is either a seesaw or a measuring scale of some kind. And that’s great when it’s appropriate. But here’s a thought to consider for Equinox: What if you keep your center of balance (i.e. your fulcrum) closer to your emotional or spiritual strength (i.e. your applied force) rather than out toward your challenge (i.e. your load)? What if (in some instances at least) it’s better to keep your power to affect change closer, so that you get more result from less emotional effort? It’s just a thought, but it seemed to help Kelly realize that she didn’t have to work so hard to achieve the same or bigger results. She was thinking her two internal opposites had to be “balanced” on the scale of her sense of self. But what if she were to slide that fulcrum closer to the “traffic-stopping-Kelly?”

I don’t see how she can use her rope to pull anyone out of the pit, if she climbs down into the hole with them.  Is she going to get down into the muck, heave each person up out of the mud and carry or throw each person up to freedom?? Is it her job to be down there pleading with people to put the rope in their hands? Shouldn’t she stay up top and extract those who have the gumption to take the rope and start climbing? Also, does she always have to hold that rope? Can’t she throw the line down, tie her end to an anchor or rock, and then move on to another task?

How can we keep more of our internal selves close, in order to cause even greater good in our lives and throughout the world? What is the distinction between selfishness and self preservation? At what point does sacrifice become martyrdom? Can’t we be happy in our lives and create a more profound force for good without squandering ourselves in unbalanced situations which could be altered more efficiently in other ways? If you martyr your love, how would you continue sharing it?? I think this Equinox isn’t so much about balance for me as it is efficiency.

Happy Autumn!

Author: Devon Hunter

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  1. a) Happy Autumn! You know why I’m so ecstatic we’re finally here so I’ll leave it at that!

    b) Your timing, once again, is amazing.

    c) You’ve given me lots to think about. Damn you!

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  2. Eeks, I’m confused. I’m not following your analogy. If you keep the fulcrum (your emotinal center) close, don’t you have to expend more energy (emotional effort) to raise the other end of the lever and therefore affect change. I understand and agree with not giving yourself away as a martyr in the assistance of others and keeping your energy/emotions close-to-the-vest, centered, and strong, so as not to allow yourself to become an empty husk worth nothing to anyone, including yourself, promoting codependence. But, I’m not seeing how it relates to a lever. Do you mean that by keeping the fulcrum close you CAN’T allow your spirit to ebb because the lever is impossible to move and thus your energy is preserved? But then, you would be ineffective in bringing even minor change to your load(challenge).
    I might get a block and tackle reference, but you and it could be anywhere in that relationship, and the force would remain constant. I could see an engine/fuel analogy but that seems too simple.

    Now, I ask only that you PLEASE BE KIND if you respond, as I’m already intimidated by your all-around brainiac-ness and the way you can turn-a-phrase! 😉


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    • Perhaps it was simply a bad analogy, but I had the exact opposite impression: The closer you are to the fulcrum the more efficient the effort, so less force is required to exert a greater effect. That’s what I meant, but if I’m wrong about levers, then just ignore that part. LOL (If you want a literal example of what I meant: Holding a heavy object is easier when you keep it closer to your core, rather then holding it out in front of you. Translate that idea in emotional energy, and that’s what I meant.)

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      • Got it! And (sigh of relief)…thanks for being gentle with me! 😉

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  3. Devon – great piece. Reminded me of 10th grade geometry and Achimedes: “Give me a place to stand and I shall move the earth.”
    Most care givers learn the hard way that a care giver needs to care for her/himself as well. The medical community is finally realizing the importance of respite care, e.g. care of the care giver. The Achimedian analogy you present is right on point. Each one of us can both ‘move the earth’ and conserve our gifts to do more good if done with care.

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