The Art of Balance in a Global Crisis – Step 2, Assess

I typically see people for psychotherapy after they’ve broken through denial but before they reach a state of true acceptance. Often, they come to my office wanting something to change but wanting to change nothing in themselves. Once we get to the radical acceptance phase, they’re able to stop vacillating between one strong emotion and its opposite and take a realistic look at their situations, the obstacles to their recovery, and also at…

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The Art of Balance in a Global Crisis – Step 1, Detect

Among my clients, friends, and family, those who are doing well in the pandemic have accepted that this is the way the world is now. They’ve arrived at a modified way of life that feels safe, and from that base of safety they’re looking for opportunities during this crisis and beyond. But they didn’t start out doing well, and neither did I. Shifting from the breakdown of denial to full detection of imbalance…

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The Art of Balance in a Global Crisis – Step 0, Denial

I’m a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and my work for the past 17 years has been to help people overcome psychological and situational problems that cause them emotional distress. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many people back into counseling – I’m now seeing, through telemedicine, almost twice as many clients as I was seeing in person before the pandemic. It has also led many who never worked with a therapist into counseling for…

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TL;DR: Do’s and Don’ts for Navigating a Global Crisis

I’ve been working on a detailed article about how the Art of Balance system applies to the current global crisis, and how to use it to navigate your way back to balance. In the meantime, I’ve also been keeping track of what’s been helping my clients, neighbors, friends, and family members — and also what hasn’t been so helpful. So, without further ado, I bring you this list of Pandemic Do’s and Don’ts.…

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White and Orange Daffodil I

How do Buddhists deal with the pandemic?

Much of what I’ve learned — and teach — about life balance comes from what I’ve gleaned from Buddhist teachers. In one of the magazines I subscribe to, Lion’s Roar, I  came upon this collection of recent teachings on dealing with the pandemic. If you’re already familiar with Buddhism, much of this will be familiar, too. If not, I hope you’ll find it helpful, both for its immediate content and as an introduction to…

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The Art of Balance in a Global Crisis: Part I, Origins

The scenario: UnBalancer sweeps the globe. It begins in the wild, unbalancing a tiny creature that’s captured, taken to a live market in China, and slaughtered. From one vendor’s cart, it scurries around the market, dividing rapidly, like tiny UnBalancer rats and fleas. Buyers, unaware, take it home and UnBalancer enslaves them to its will. Swiftly and relentlessly, UnBalancer spreads. Throughout the world it appears, emulating scenes from scary movies and silly pop…

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The Cast of Characters: UnBalancer

What makes things go out of balance? Things get unbalanced when there’s a design flaw, when something breaks, or when unequal forces press on an object. Imbalance usually gets worse over time, gradually compromising the whole structure. An unbalanced tire rattles the car. A leak in a roof leads to a ceiling falling in. When winds vibrated the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington state, the whole structure danced briefly and then catastrophically collapsed.…

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The Chemist

“Find Your Fire” at new journaling site

I’m a big fan of experimenting, and this month I’m doing an experiment of my own that some of you might enjoy. The experiment, for me, is to see whether the worlds of journaling and The Art of Balance can synergistically (I’ve always wanted to use that word) combine. I’ll keep you posted. The new(ish) journaling website, Journaling.com, has a new members-only feature they are calling “Find Your Fire,” located inside their Gift…

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Balanced, UnBalanced, and the World’s Shortest Play

We’re whole people, but we’re also a collection of parts. When we say, “A part of me feels this way, and another part feels that way,” it’s not just a metaphor. Here’s another free installment from my forthcoming course, Mastering the Art of Balance: Stay Sane in an Insane World.  In this video, you’ll see how the three parts that are at the heart of the Art of Balance system – Balancer, UnBalancer, and…

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Learn to meditate in 5 minutes, 31 seconds

I’ve just posted the next free installment from my forthcoming course, Mastering the Art of Balance: Stay Sane in an Insane World.  By the end of this 5-minute, 31-second video, you’ll master the simplest and most effective meditation technique I know. It’s benefitted many of my clients, and now you can learn it, too! This is the second installment of an ongoing course. The beta period of the course is now complete, and…

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Free mindfulness/meditation course

Confession. Some months ago, in the midst of creating the Art of Balance course and a lot of travel, I fell off the meditation wagon. To get back on, I’ve started this free mindfulness/meditation course by Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach at Sounds True: Free Mindfulness Daily Class by Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach It’s a 40-day program that covers the basics of mindfulness practices and, at the same time, re-acclimates (or acclimates)…

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Coming soon, a new online course!

Mea culpa. It’s been a couple of months since I last posted. I’ve been busily incorporating the ideas from my book The Art of Balance: Staying Sane in an Insane World into a new online course called Mastering the Art of Balance: Stay Sane in an Insane World. A mini version of the course is in beta test. Once that process is complete, I’ll be going full speed ahead creating the rest of…

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Moving!

The new Internet address for this blog is: theartofbalance.online …… and the new name is “The Art of Balance: Stay Sane in an Insane World.” This move reflects a change not only in name, but also in focus. At a conference called Creativity and Madness in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I recently presented some of the concepts in my little book The Art of Balance: Staying Sane in an Insane World. I realized,…

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Is it live or is it Memorex?

(Faking it till you make it and the cure for hypochondria) If you’re old enough, you might remember the iconic Memorex television commercials from the 1970s in which jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald shatters a wine glass with her voice. Then, the playback of a recording of Fitzgerald on Memorex tape shatters another. The announcer asks: “Is it live or is it Memorex?” More on Memorex in a moment. But first, a brief trip…

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Stuck? Find the bottleneck.

A few months ago, I took a business bootcamp course from Mirasee, an organization that helps build and scale businesses using a combination of audience-building strategies and online courses. The intention of the course designer and company founder, Danny Iny, was to teach participants how to jump start a business. I’m not sure, yet, whether the course will help me do that, but it’s already made a difference in how I approach problems…

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The Reluctant Carnivore

Last week, I happened upon a Facebook video that gave me pause. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=Sx-CxuAeVPo Until a few years ago, I’d always eaten meat. I love a good hamburger, a steak, turkey breast, salmon, grilled chicken. And I’d always been aware that I was indirectly killing a sentient creature. But, I thought, I’m also an animal, and other animals eat animals. I could hunt for my food if I had to. In April, 2014, a…

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Dive Deep to Live Creatively

Creative activities—and the creative approach to life that often accompanies them—can help us better withstand the huffing and puffing of life’s Big Bad Wolf. Creative activities are rewarding outlets for self-expression. They give us a sense of accomplishment, often have a centering effect, and they’re usually fun to do. But besides these obvious benefits, creative activities can also enhance how we approach our lives. When we work creatively, we dive deep into ourselves.…

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Clean Up Your Cat Hairs!

Ground on which we can only be saved from destruction by fighting without delay is desperate ground. – Sun Tzu, The Art of War Stress is one of the most insidious challenges to building resilience. It can be a constant strain on our natural balancing mechanism, gradually wearing down its efficacy and slowing its response time. Basic ways to reduce stress that therapists often recommend include changing your emotional relationship to the stressor…

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Stories Within Stories

A Story Within a Story or The Story of a Story Eugene K. Garber’s Eroica Trilogy is a sustained exploration of the powerful impulse to tell stories and the impediments all storytellers face—an exploration that climaxes in The House of Nordquist, a fascinating blend of detective story, gothic novel, epistolary tale, and social critique. Gene briefly comments on one of the novel’s central issues below: In The House of Nordquist Alice, misfortunate wife of…

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The View from 30K

I recently flew from Boston to the West Coast to see my oldest and closest friend. I don’t fly often, but when I do, I try to get a a window seat. Yes, there’s less legroom, and yes, I have to step over people if I want to use the restroom, but there’s no other way to get the view from 30K, and the view from 30K is important to me. On this…

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