Posts Tagged ‘Balance’

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

That’s what my mother used to tell me, and it remains true today.

I’ve been thinking  about Mother’s advice a lot lately, and I guess because I have, I have been receiving a lot of input from the Universe pertaining to the subject of complaining.

Caroline Myss

It all started with a message from Caroline Myss

Caroline is conducting a workshop called Addiction: Explored as an Archetypal Journey Toward Personal Empowerment in August. She believes that the struggle with addictions may be one of the foremost defining health challenges of our age, and as indicated, her subject is addictions—but not those generally associated with the addicted personality: drugs, alcohol, food, and sex. Caroline maintains that there is a secondary ring and even a third ring of habits that most people would not even consider addictions. Among these more subtle obsessions is—you guessed it—complaining.

Complaining is, of course, a catch-all phrase for negative behavior; included with complaining are bad habits such as blaming, criticizing, whining, nagging, griping, moaning, worrying, suffering, and just generally acting like a victim.

Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks

Many well-known and respected authors and speakers have addressed how destructive complaining can be. For example, therapists Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks discuss the dangers of blaming and complaining in their Conscious Partnering Course. They claim that “blame and criticism is the #1 reason why relationships fail. Most couples split up, family members stop talking or business partnerships fail because one or both of the parties gets tired of being blamed or criticized.” In another section they go on to say that:

Unconscious manifestation thrives on complaining. We keep our childhood programming in place by complaining to willing listeners that we’ve been victimized. When people challenge us to take charge of our lives, we often get defensive and argue that our limiting beliefs are valid and necessary.

I also received a similar message from spiritual self-help teacher Arielle Ford. In her latest Soulmate Secret newsletter (#110, July 5, 2011), she writes that some people are addicted to suffering. They have lived in the pain of their “poor me” story for so long that they just can’t let it go, not even aware that they are attached to suffering. Arielle makes a point I agree with completely:

Suffering is optional. Suffering is a choice. Suffering comes from your story about what is happening in your life and less about what is actually happening. What is happening is simply what is happening. The suffering part comes from all your interpretations and meanings about the experience. Change your story and the way you are interpreting reality and you begin to change your reality. When you change your reality within yourself you shift your experience of your reality outside. Once you understand this, you only suffer if you choose to.

Of course, we all know that criticizing someone else is really a way of excusing our own behavior. It is too uncomfortable to blame ourselves because then we might have to take a close look inside—and we just might not like what we see.

These teachers do have suggestions for how to correct our negative habits, or even avoid them all together.

Caroline Myss

In her Addictions workshop, addiction will be explored as journey of personal empowerment. The tools she offers are:

    • Discussion of certain archetypes that have a particularly dominant influence.
    • Discussion of the nature of possession and what it means to “be possessed.”
    • Methods and practices for moving out of the addictive cycle.
    • Exercises aimed at doing personal work for a new perspective on addiction.

Arielle Ford:

Life is too short to waste spent suffering.

    • Accept what is.
    • Embrace your current experience.
    • Focus on what you can control.
    • Embrace change.
    • Take full responsibility for your current reality and give up blame.
    • Be grateful.
    • Tell the truth.

The Hendricks

If you want to stop your unconscious patterns cold, stop complaining. Put yourself on a radical complaint-fast for one day.

    • Discover what you complain about.
    • Don’t let a single complaint out of your mouth.
    • Discover the people you complain to (people who willingly listen to your complaints over and over).
    • Commit to a life completely free of complaints; speak the following sentence aloud, from the bottom of your heart:
      • I,___________, commit to a complaint-free life.
    • As you flow through your week, float this affirmation through your mind and body:
      • Blessings flow in the areas of my life I used to complain about.

In my next posting I want to tell you about a little book I read called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

It’s been out awhile so you may have read it already. However, I think it’s worth a mention in connection with this discussion of negative behaviors and self-limiting beliefs—where they come from and what to do about them. In the meantime . . .


This Old Crone


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Change and Balance

Wow, how time flies! It seems like just yesterday I was posting my last blog, getting ready for this one. And yet, it has been several weeks. It does not seem possible!

In the meantime, I have been thinking a lot about the relationship between change and balance — how it is possible to change my habits and still maintain balance in my life. Or maybe I should say, change my habits and restore the balance in my life. What do I mean by this? Simply that I want to live my best life fully and mindfully on every level of my being: mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional.

Hmm . . . well . . . maybe achieving balance is not so simple after all. For example, what do I mean when I say I want to live my life “fully and mindfully”? In this case the answer really is simple: I want my life to be as happy, fulfilled and meaningful as I can make it by being present in each and every moment.

But how do I do this, and exactly what does it mean to be in balance? The answers to these questions may take a little more thought.

When I am trying to get clear on a concept, I usually go to the dictionary first and so that’s where I headed when I started writing this post. I found several meanings for balance as both noun and verb at Dictionary.com, including:

  1. a state of equilibrium, or something that brings about such a state;
  2. a mental steadiness or emotional stability;
  3. the act of weighing factors, quantities, etc, against each other;
  4. harmony in the parts of a whole (as in an artistic composition);
  5. to produce an aesthetically pleasing or harmoniously integrated whole;
  6. to move in rhythm to and from; to move forward and backward or in opposite directions (as in dance).

I have to admit, I had not consciously thought about all these different variations on the meaning of balance. However, I like them all and would like to incorporate each one into my own personal definition. For me then, balance is a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual state of equilibrium that weighs each part of the whole and moves in a steady rhythm to produce a harmoniously integrated whole.

Whew! That’s quite a mouthful! Thomas Merton1 says it much more succinctly: “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”

In striving to attain balance on any level, I believe it is our thoughts even more than our actions that determine what sort of vibrational energy we send out and what we can expect in return. In other words, whatever changes we decide to embrace, be they large or small, our thoughts about the change are as important as the actual behavioral or situational modification.

While doing a little research for this blog post I came across a web site I really enjoy. It is called Evolving Stacey: Where my story unfolds . . . by Stacey Hoffer Weckstein. According to Stacey (and I agree), if the anticipated change and your thoughts associated with that change do not make you feel good, the change will not be beneficial to you and you will be out of balance across the many areas of your life.

But sometimes, no matter how hard we try to stay balanced we can find ourselves lolling about in the doldrums. As Stacey puts it, “In life, at one time or another, we all find ourselves in a life balance slump.” She illustrates her point in a fun way with this excerpt from Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss2: 

 Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers, who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t. Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true
and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” 

Stacey also quotes author Stephen R. Covey, who says that “Voice is the overlapping of the four parts of our nature: our mind, our heart, our body, and our spirit.”  She suggests one way to lift yourself out of the slump and restore your equilibrium on all four levels is to find your voice, and then ask yourself “How am I balancing the different parts of my voice?” The following four questions may help you both discover your own voice and find the balance in your life:

Mental/ Mind: What am I good at?
Physical/ Body: What need can I serve?
Emotional/ Heart: What do I love doing?
Spiritual/ Spirit:   What is life asking of me? What gives my life meaning and purpose? What do I feel like I should be doing? What is my conscience directing me to do? 

To help you get going, here are a few more thoughts on balance:

“Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.”
Brian Tracy (American television host)

“I always try to balance the light with the heavy – a few tears of human spirit in with the sequins and the fringes.”
Bette Midler (Actor and comedian)

“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.”
Barbara de Angelis (American researcher on relationships and personal growth)

And finally, click here to download Stacey’s free e-book How to Practice the Art of Life Balance, a collection of inspiring life balance resources and stories.


This Old Crone

1.  Thomas Merton,  Trappist Monk, Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey in Trappist, Kentucky, 1915-1968.

2. Geisel, Theodor Seuss. Random House January 22, 1990

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It is so easy to toss out all those old clichés about change. You can change your direction, your mind, and your tune. You may have a change of heart or change of scenery. You can put your shoe on the other foot, or your boot on the other leg. You may wish to wait for a change in the wind or for the weather to change completely. Meanwhile, some of us would rather wait for a game changer, while others prefer to introduce new blood into a situation and just start with a whole new ball of wax. 

Clichés have been defined as “the metaphors and turns of phrase that have become tired through overuse” (Beckson, Karl and Arthur Ganz. Literary Terms: A Dictionary, Third Edition, Revised and Enlarged. NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1989). Unfortunately,  I find that my life has become a cliché.  I overuse phrases like “I need to change” or “I want to change my life.” I am simply and truly tired of hearing myself whine and complain about the same old things over and over. I can only imagine my friends are tempted to run the other way when I approach so they don’t have to listen to me, either.

Some habits and styles are simple to change and do not usually upset the equilibrium. For instance, you can change your hair style and you might get a few comments about how you look but nobody is going to really care very much. Or maybe you decide to change your eating habits—no big deal, unless you start following some weird nutritional regime such as the Baby Food Diet (in which you eat several servings of goopy pureed greens daily), the Taco Bell “drive-thru diet”, the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet, the HCG diet (where practitioners eat only about 500 calories a day and inject themselves with a hormone that is naturally produced by the placenta of a pregnant woman), or my personal favorite, the Cookie Diet, that allows followers to eat only six cookies and a healthy dinner every day for as long as it takes to meet their goals. (More information about these and other weird diets can be found at World’s Weirdest Diets by Jenna Goudreau.)

Changing a hair style or a diet is relatively easy; making a serious lifestyle change can be very difficult. “Old habits die hard” as the saying goes, and unless we make a determined effort to make a needed adjustment, it is too easy to put it off, and keep putting it off, until we forget we ever even thought about making a change in the first place.

The other night I went to bed early and woke up after an extremely lucid dream. I felt compelled to get the story down on paper before the details faded along with the images. I was unwilling to wait for morning for fear that by postponing the task I would lose the insights from the dream. I’m not going to go into the dream itself; suffice to say that it vividly highlighted an area in which I have been procrastinating for years. However, I will say that it pointed out the possibility that if I had not put off following a particular life path I might have found great personal satisfaction and a sense of professional accomplishment in certain areas. The dream reminded me it is not too late to start. Indeed, it is vitally important to my own well-being that I pay attention, for it showed me what can happen if I keep on ignoring what my true self knows.

The dream’s message reminded me of aspirations I put off and even considered abandoning all together. It also left me in a clear frame of mind to seriously re-orient the current direction of my life—to start a whole new ball of wax, so to speak. This blog is just the beginning of my life-path readjustment, and the changes I envision hopefully will have significant and positive consequences for myself as well as others.

I realize that satisfying my desire to share my thoughts engenders a responsibility to be well-informed rather than merely well-intentioned. A person’s words always have the potential to influence the attitudes of others, and therefore it is necessary for me to consider the risk of . . .

 “unintended consequences”

Altering my life also makes me aware that if I encourage change, I must also know how to balance the results that change inevitably produces. But that is a topic for another day. For now, to use another—albeit fun—cliché . . .
Th-th-th-that’s all folks!’ *


This Old Crone

*Porky Pig, in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons

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