Wheels of Life

When you shift gears on a multi-speed bicycle to go up hill, you naturally shift to the smallest gear on the back wheel sprocket, right? Wrong. According to Ted, our certified bicycle mechanic, “it’s the smallest chain ring on the crank which drives the biggest gear on the back.  The big gear helps you get up the hill.”


I don’t know if that sounds complicated to you; but just imagine what it takes to get the really big wheels of life in sync. It seems like something bordering on metaphysics – right up there with Robert Persig’s book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  


To a guy like me, raised on single-speed bikes, this was mind bending.


There are two great schools of thought, or approaches to life: left brain (logical) vs. right brain (creative).  There are many variations, but the best results come when they work together.


In my life, I have found it impossible to appreciate one without the other.                               


“Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish.”– Albert Einstein


Take playing the piano, for example. When our two girls were just youngsters they were enrolled in piano lessons: like night and day, one was left-brained and the other was right. Yet both girls excelled at piano and were equally gifted in presenting beautiful music. Each had individualized ways of achieving memorable results … one in a traditional sense, the other with an innovative flair.


They shared the same teacher who – as my own mother did for me – encouraged a stream of independent thinking.  She championed artistic freedom and expression and fostered the love of music… of life itself!


“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson


Legendary instrumentalist Chet Atkins (“Mr. Guitar”), who played everything from country to classical, was once asked if he had ever taken lessons, “Well,” said Chet, with typical southern humour, “not enough to ruin the music.”


Being a part of something shouldn’t make you sacrifice your God-given right to be you – your uniqueness. But some people would rather be right than happy.


“Some man’s gone, he’s tried to run my life / Don’t know what he’s asking.” 

 Sunshine by Jonathan Edwards


Honest-to-goodness, universal geniuses don’t come around that often. For example, the Mona Lisa`s creator, Leonardo da Vinci, was also revered as a mathematician, engineer … and musician.


Today, however, we feel fortunate when we find unusually gifted people – left brain and right brain dominant – working in tandem.  This is good; our world needs solutions, not more problems but it is definitely an uphill climb.


“There is good and bad in everyone

We learn to live, when we learn to give each other

What we need to survive, together alive.”

Ebony and Ivory by  Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney


People can harmoniously coexist. And yes, just like the keys on a piano, we need them all.


Fred Parry
Fred Parry

www.fredparry.ca (2013)


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