In my first upcoming book, The Conversation That Matters Most, I converse with the reader about the number zero as it relates to balance and peace. Here is an excerpt from the chapter:
If a scale doesn’t work, use a linear graph where positive and negative values are recorded and measured. In either case, there’s a point where there’s a zero value, and that’s at the center of each scale or graph. At this center, you have neither more on the left nor more on the right, no more positive than negative, but balance. We too have this center, this zero value within ourselves, where we are levelheaded, and our ability to be rational is heightened regardless of the emotional trigger. It’s not as exact as a scale, but it is here at this balance point where you are self-assured, self-controlled, and prudent.
Sometimes, at lunchtime, I go outside and sit in the park adjacent to the Hudson River. There are days when the wind is soft, the sun is shining but not too bright, and the water is still. There isn’t a disturbance of any sort in the park. The ambience is so relaxing almost to the point of perfection. I sit back without a care or worry in the world. I am balanced. Here, I’m at zero.
Okay, so if that imagery doesn’t work for you, how about this one: My college education was costly, as it is for most people. After ten years of paying back my deferred student loans, I made my last payment in the fall of 2005. As I received my payoff letter, I sat down for a few minutes relieved, calm, and at peace. I no longer had this obligation to meet. I didn’t have to worry about being on time or factoring it into my budget. The bill was at zero. And in this instance, I realized that “zero wasn’t such a bad number after all.” It’s a good number to be at. It’s a positive place to start from or return to. In some cases, it means peaceful and balanced, and in others, zero means clean slate and a new beginning. In either way you look at it, this zero represents healthiness, and that’s a condition we all could use a lot more of.