The Cherokee place a high importance on the concept of “balance” which refers to both balance with Mother Earth, and balance within the tribe, the clan, and the individual. And, of course, these are all related to one another.

Much has been out of balance lately, and I have grappled with how I can keep balance in my personal life, when everything around me seems so out of kilter. It has been difficult!

For the first time in over a year I have decided to attend a demonstration against the Iraq war on its 3rd anniversary. It’s not that my opposition to the war has lagged, in fact Roadside Bomb, the anti-war poetry group I perform with, has been actively ambushing innocent bystanders on a regular basis. It’s just that personal balance has taken priority.

Politically and environmentally, there is much to despair about in the world today. For most of my 3 decades as an activist-writer, I have swung like a manic-depressive between periods of 25-hour work days to sitting on my ass for weeks at a time, paralyzed by a feeling of hopelessness.

For the last few years, I have shifted my focus from activism to writing, deliberately avoiding any kind of commitment to social change organizations. This has brought me guilt, so I have made up for that by putting my politics into my writing.

It seems to me that demonstrations have been ineffective, largely due to the corporate control of the news media, which has become nothing more than cheerleaders for the Republican agenda. Perhaps I can make more of a difference by becoming the media which we so desperately need in this country. Or maybe I’m just kidding myself.

In any case, we do what we can do. Without some balance in our lives, that is very little.