Saturday, August 2, 2014

Balance and Belonging

Finding balance and having a sense of belonging are two important experiences many of us strive for, and sometimes find challenging. We get pulled in so many different directions as we go about our daily life: self-care and care for others, work and relaxation, daily necessities and fun,and solitary pursuits and connecting with others can each be polarities as we strive to find balance. Authors Joel and Michelle Levey believe that our search for balance is not "just a solitary affair." This search extends beyond even our relationships with close friends and family, and how we integrate work and personal life. They write, "The sense of belonging to a larger whole is a fundamental force in our search for balance, one that begins in our need to be connected to a larger community, extending our to encompass the entire human family, and ultimately to all nature." Seeing where we fit into the larger web of life, gives us a sense of context, that brings both balance and peace, in the eyes of the Leveys. One might even ask is it possible to find balance solely as a solitary pursuit? Might one of the reasons we struggle with balance and often feel so alone be that we may not recognize how critical it is to feel our place in the larger whole of life in order to find the peace we are seeking? If we were to make a plan to find balance, might we try to identify steps to take at three levels: balance within oneself, balance in relationships with others and balance in our connection to the larger whole? In that sense, self-care gets expanded. Self-care can include healthy eating meditation exercise and meaningful pursuits, and also spending quality time and feeling emotionally connected to friends and loved ones. And it also includes engaging in activities that connect us to nature, to a larger sense of community and to matters that concern the greater good. The kinds of activities that help us pursue all these levels of self-care lead to the kinds of interactions and connections that help us feel like we belong. We cannot lead lives of quiet isolation, which can then breed quiet desperation. Building bridges between different parts within ourselves, between ourselves and others and with ourselves and experiences of the larger whole lead to a sense of integration and meaning most of us seek.

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