This is the essay I wrote for my promotion to second-degree black belt in 2014.
Around 15 years ago, my youngest sister was visiting from Minnesota. One evening I met up with her and a friend while they were having drinks in the East Village. "Have a beer," Varda said. "We want to ask you something."
"Just ask me," I said.
She and Todd looked at each other.
"No, have a beer first."
"Just ask me."
She gave in (she's younger!): "Do you want to climb the Brooklyn Bridge?"
I had no idea what she was talking about, so she explained that we would be walking up a cable to the top of one of the two big towers that anchor the bridge. Todd, an architect, added that climbing bridges was his hobby, and he'd climbed dozens in New York and around the country.
I glanced down and saw that he was wearing dress shoes, not hiking boots. If this could be done in leather soles, how dangerous could it be? "Sure," I said.
Great! they said.
"I'll have that beer now."
I had never thought much about balance, never been interested in all that work-life stuff people used to talk about, never thought it had anything to do with me. If I'd thought about it at all, I would have said balance was boring: that it meant getting up at the same time every day, to a day that was the same length as the night and the same temperature, and making sure you had enough cauliflower in your diet.
I also didn't know balance had anything to do with karate. Read More