Friday, January 28, 2011

Finding Balance in our Lives

When we think about balance the first thing that occurs in our mind is that it’s equilibrium amongst variables. Our lives are multi-dimensional and they require conscientious effort, especially in times of change. Today perhaps more than ever we are faced with the kind of rapid, uncertain change that makes it hard to maintain proper balance. Although we live in chaotic times we have also been developing over the years more consciousness, self awareness, and personal effectiveness that can assist in finding the balance within so as to create a balanced life out in the world.

Just what are we balancing inside ourselves? Firstly we are comprised of a constellation of selves (sub-personalities) each with separate different needs (i.e. our inner child, rebellious teen, the pusher, critic, etc.). They ideally must act in accordance with the others so as to support our whole self and live together in an integrated fashion so that none ends up overly influencing our behavior and taking us places where we’d rather not go. We have very definite emotional needs in any given moment which create our moods and influence how we experience ourselves in the world. Our physical being needs taking care of so that it can supply the energy for our functioning, creativity and vitality. And of course we have intellectual needs for stimulation, depth and meaning as well as our spiritual need to connect to something greater than ourselves. And lastly and perhaps most importantly, we have the very human need for connection, intimacy and love.

To balance all of the above needs within is no small task, and then we must find the balance without, with the world at large of which we are a part. Here is where we must see our interdependence and recognize that whether we realize it or not we do influence (in some way, shape, or form) everything around us. The world, our world in which we are an integral part, would not be the same without us, as shown so poignantly in the classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life. That being said we would be encouraged to try as best we can to bring our best self forward so as to truly create something beautiful, a Beautiful Life, one that we can be proud of and one that leaves behind the memory of goodness, contribution and love.

Obviously with so much going on, this balancing act can be a little daunting at times. So how or where do we begin? So as not to get overwhelmed, let’s start with where we are right here and now: first with our breath to support our life force energy, next our body and its need for fuel, and then the awareness of our emotions and what we might need to feel integrated and at peace, and finally our mindfulness as to what’s appropriate at any given moment. We can then look outside ourselves to see if our basic survival needs are being met and what more may be required there (especially today) and then on to our commitments and obligations in our various relationships. In doing so we will learn for ourselves in our own way how to prioritize so that each area gets the proper attention, time, and nourishment it needs.

Finally we can draw upon the resources of spirituality, of inspiration, and of the perseverance of the great human spirit that can not only move mountains but have us create lives so much bigger than any one part of us is capable of. In balancing all of the above, if we do it with faith, humility and grace we can create an empowered life capable of contributing to the greater whole and leaving behind a personal legacy of love, having touched those in our lives by demonstrating a life well lived.

Michael Mongno MFT, Ph.D, LP is a licensed psychoanalyst, relationship counselor and holistic practitioner in Manhattan. He is the founder of Present Centered Therapies which synthesizes Gestalt and Cognitive Behavioral therapies, Eastern spirituality, as well as Imago and Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. He brings a wealth of successful experience with a wide range of couples issues as well as down-to-earth wisdom and modern sensibility to what it takes to create healthy, loving, and empowered relationships.

Please visit or call (212) 799-0001 for more information.

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