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ART & SOUL: Achieving balance

Adam Baxter, music teacher and band/choir coordinator at Lewisporte Collegiate and Intermediate, has taught music in the area for the past three years. Baxter says simply getting to teach music—an art he cares for deeply—is the most rewarding part.
Adam Baxter, music teacher and band/choir coordinator at Lewisporte Collegiate and Intermediate, has taught music in the area for the past three years. Baxter says simply getting to teach music—an art he cares for deeply—is the most rewarding part. - Kyle Greenham

With Carolyn R Parsons

Before visitors arrived, just over a week ago, I did a great big tidy and clean and boy did it feel good. While doing it I still managed to complete work, write, make deadlines, take walks, spend time with the family, do a short morning yoga and meditation. I felt complete, steady, focused and content.

Then a family birthday party mid-week, followed by two days of making up for missed work, struggling to meet a deadline for a writing project, a day of travel to a book tour event and a week later and my house is in shambles. And I am too. I’ve not gone for a walk or meditated and I’ve barely slept.

I confess I had chips for breakfast twice because they were easy while vegetables have died a lonely agonizing death in the fridge before being buried in the garbage still wrapped in the cellophane. I just haven’t had time to peel, chop and cook them. It makes me feel out of sorts, anxious. At the current moment, my life is considerably unbalanced.

When I spoke with Campbellton singer-songwriter, Adam Baxter, he had no such issues. Fresh off an Atlantic Canada Tour, 18 dates in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, as well as a bunch of Newfoundland stops, he seems quite on track. Currently back to work as a music teacher in Lewisporte, he’s pumped about even more shows. 

Adam is a successful recording artist with 10 MusicNL nominations and three awards to his name.

And as if this isn’t enough, he just launched another album called “Open and Shut”, an eight-song project, recorded live off the floor with a few songs from each previous album and an unreleased original.

He tells me that he is “flat out and lovin’ it.”

“I wish I could (tour more) but I love my job,” he says of teaching after talking like an artist who tours full-time around the world. “I love the balance.”

“This is the first September he hasn’t taken time off between performing and starting the school year, writing songs in between all his other work.

“Right now, I have a balance between my profession as a music educator with Lewisporte Collegiate and Lewisporte Intermediate, a balance with my own art and being a husband and homeowner,” he says.

“The marriage and relationship is the top priority, It has to be. I love what I do and she gives me inspiration.”

In addition to having a “crazy supportive wife,” he lauds avoiding partying, eating right, drinking lots of water as part of the key to maintaining his schedule and staying balanced.

Not so coincidentally, he has two 2018 MusicNL nominations; The Long and McQuade Music Educator of the Year for his work at the schools, and the Alternative Artist of the Year for his own art. A perfect balance.

Quite often my own equilibrium is shaken by circumstances out of my control. Harmony in life is about taking all the pieces of it and making sure they work together smoothly so that the whole is better than the singular. Sure, there’ll be times of discord and intermissions when one aspect requires more focus than the others for a time. Balance happens over time, not over a day but a conscious effort to bring things back into order is something I work on constantly.

The trick is to deliberately pull things back together at the first opportunity. Often it only takes a day to put the house back in order, restart yoga the next morning, make a good breakfast, go for a walk then boom, back on track.

Today, while the sun shines, I’ll hang some laundry on the line, clean the kitchen, put away the folded towels and tomorrow embrace the balance I’ve missed.

Meanwhile, don’t miss Adam Baxter. His interview on Bridges Radio can be found on the Bridges Radio Show podcast and you can catch him on tour when he opens up for Daniel Champagne in late October.

Carolyn R. Parsons is a central Newfoundland author. She can be reached at carolynrparsons@gmail.com

Also, listen to the radio show, Bridges, here.

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