How to find balance in a topsy-turvy world.
Plus when a life hangs in the balance…..?
I often wonder when we speak of finding balance in our lives what that actually means to us as individuals. Obviously as far as health is concerned it is vital to our over all physical mental and emotional well being being. However, is it not different for each of us?
What does it mean to you?
Do you think it means balancing work and family? In that case it can be quite challenging for both often require so much time and attention. Basically, though not so simply, it most often means a matter of setting priorities; deciding what’s important to you in the whole scheme of things. It might mean letting go of some things in favor of others. Not always an easy decision. Right?
If its balancing our own needs with those of others, its another challenge, for people all too readily and too often place other people’s needs before their own. It’s been conditioned into their psychology, their consciences; for the idea of giving and doing for self is all too often considered selfish and that’s is totally unacceptable to them. Self sacrifice is so common that many people literally sacrifice their own lives for the sake of others. That is an extreme we see often in the military, and sometimes in situations where there is a crisis. We consider those who give of themselves to such an extent as heroes, and we admire them greatly.
We see it in every day life when an exhausted person needs a rest and food but denies their needs to give of him or herself to help or nourish another. Or when the last dollar left over after paying the bills is given to a homeless person, or donated to an animal shelter. People donate to the needy, volunteer their time and energies to provide caring for others; its not at all uncommon. We say, “Thank goodness.”
We have it within us to be helpful, to give aid and comfort, to offer support in whatever way we can. Sometimes tipping the balance in our own lives in favor of another’s.
Yet when we break it down into its basic elements, there is truly no such thing as a totally selfless act.
Think about that for a moment.
For some people that’s a hard concept to accept.
We like to feel we give unconditionally. And consciously we do. The fact is that even if we were in an extreme situation, to give up our own life to save another’s, it would be because we could not comfortably live with ourselves if we didn’t. When the choice is to let another die or save our own life, it is the question we must answer with our consciences. We may be acting on instinct, for love, whatever, but the fact remains we would regret it if we did not make that heroic choice. We would forever be tormented with guilt, and shame: I know through my work many who live with having made that choice and suffer terribly because of it. I.E. Soldiers who suffer PSTD because of having killed to save their own lives or even their comrades. Even in war when taking another life is what you are expected to do for your country, because it is your duty, does not ameliorate guilt and some have told me their guilt makes their lives hell. That is until we have done the healing necessary.
Most of our consciences were educated to consider others first, or perhaps because it is in our natures, as human beings to do so.
Going against our nature often results in deep conflict.
That does not mean that there is a consciously wholly selfish motive to be charitable, to make personal sacrifices. We don’t think of it in that way in most situations; often we don’t have time to consider it. It simply means that for every good deed we do we are rewarded with a sense of satisfaction; we feel good about ourselves, we feel a sense of personal power. We feel decent and honorable, fully human. We have done what one person recently described her charitable act as “the right thing to do.” Doing the right thing is important to us. We want to be good people, be thought good of. There’s nothing wrong with that. Whatever motivates our giving of ourselves in one way or another, it is always good for the giver and receiver.
So how do we find the balance between doing right for ourselves, serving our own needs and wishes as compared to those of others? When faced with this question, for so many and in so many situations a tug of war ensues within, for it is a often a deeply complex quandary.
In daily life I advocate finding the balance by understanding that being utterly selfish means me first, me always, you never.
Being selfless means you first, you always, me never.
For a while the so called new age recommendation was “numero uno”, take care of number one first. It didn’t go down too well over all in our society, least of all in a culture that promotes caring and kindness.
The fact is I’ve met, and you probably have met so few people who would fit the absolutely selfish description. I have met though, all too many who fit into the selfless one. They end up being worn out, physically mentally and emotionally exhausted. They are suffering so many maladies of their own as a result. They end up being in need themselves, but are so used to being the doer and the giver they do not know how to reach out to others for help. They don’t know how to say “no” or extricate themselves from the sense of responsibility that demands they keep doing and giving. And because they are always there for others, the strong ones, they never appear to be in need themselves. They have been what are called the “go to” persons.
Now lets get to how to find balance .
I recommended, a me also philosophy.
The most important question to ask yourself, is,
“Whose needs are greatest? Yours, theirs or mine?”
That will take some careful thought and self consideration.
Ask yourself, “What would be the overall cost of taking care of, or doing what I want or what I need as compared to the cost of not giving that up for someone else?”
Keep in mind there are gracious ways of refusing to help at the moment, I’m sure you can think of them. If not, ask me, I have many. ( Another blog subject)
Now this brings to me ask you some more questions. It’s an opportunity to put your imagination to work while you determine how well you are able to balance your prioritizes, personal values and live in peace with yourself.
One question is, whether it is wise and best for you to hold onto all you have or give up some of what you have for the sake of another? Imagine you are in that situation. How do you feel? What comes to mind? Be honest with yourself.
What would you expect of others if that situation were reversed?
Remember, no expectations or obligations or judgments herein.
Now, have you ever been in a terrible situation wherein you needed help, and had no where to turn? What if a part of your body was in danger of killing you, so you need, i.e. a new liver. What would you do if the price of saving your own or your loved one was far beyond your ability to afford? What if you are already struggling financially because of missing many days pay for Drs. appointments and being too unwell to work?
Would you reach out and ask for help?
What would it feel like to suffer extreme embarrassment having to ask for and receive charity? How do you balance pride and a need to be independent with the need for charity?
What if added onto all of that there is the deep sad sense of bereavement in knowing that someone would have to die to save your life, and another family is in the process of losing a loved one who has already donated a liver? Grief comes to mind and heart, right?
How do you balance all that with your own needs? How would you respond to that person’s needs?
How do you balance the fact that in other countries organ transplants are free to all, thank goodness, while in America it is a pay for medical care or die situation? Sadly it is a fact of life… and often death here. I feel everyone ought to be given the medical help they need whatever their race, color or creed or financial ability, don’t you? Do you have any idea that the cost of an organ transplant in the US is diabolically expensive, that is if you are lucky enough to get on the donor list and live long enough to get one. Sorry, just had to mention that.
Now I’m going to reveal something very personal here, balancing the risks of doing so with the possibility of either a compassionate response or criticism. Some might think it inappropriate, but I’m going to share a a real life situation, not an uncommon one, one that is truly a matter of life and death.
My daughter’s husband needs a liver transplant. His name,Mizan Raheem. Mizan means balance, Raheem means compassionate, merciful. Names well suited to him for he is all those things. Coincidentally appropriate for this blogs subject!
He never drank or smoked, he is an honest loving gentle hard working man and together with my daughter has raised and home schooled five wonderful children. They have made meaningful contributions to society, have given much of themselves to others in need, yet cannot bear to be the ones needy of help. They have struggled against so many life challenges, financial strains brought about by changes in the economy and illness that put Mizan out of work for a long while. Then my daughter was hit by car, not long after that she had an adrenal gland removed and three weeks later had an emergency hysterectomy; then before she could fully recover from that trauma they were T- boned in their car by a drunk driver a few weeks later. All this while dealing with Mizan’s life threatening illness and its subsequent challenges. It seems life is being cruel to them. No? Add onto that burden the financial strains that come with enormous medical bills and you have the makings of a true life drama that has every possibility of an unhappy ending.
If it had not been for my daughter’s training as a wellness coach, Yoga teacher and herbalist, Mizan would not be alive today. Her tender loving care and vast knowledge, her unrelenting support and constant research have brought him through many a crisis during the course of his illness, including cancer in his liver and serious threats to his kidney health. Now her own health is threatened; the stress, her own recent surgeries, the financial struggles his illness has brought upon them have wrought a terrible toll on her. I fear for her life now too. Of course my husband and I and other family members are helping in all the ways we can. But a liver transplant in America costs more than $575.000, and that does not include the cost of post operative care and the extremely expensive anti rejection drugs he will need.
Knowing this, what are your thoughts and feelings?
Now I’m balancing my desire to help with the risk of harsh judgement against me for using this medium to solicit help for them.
Am I pleading for a donation to help Mizan get a new liver? Yes but not to me personally, only through the National Foundation for Transplants,* a legitimate organization founded to help the needy afford transplants via tax deductible donations. And through my own fund raising efforts, i.e. workshops I conduct *( see next scheduled one below). The proceeds will go towards Mizan’s new liver if he can get it in time.
I am not politically inclined, I am a humanist, and a naturalist, I am also practical, I know and accept some facts of life, and death too. You have read my previous blogs. I know in this I risk some criticism for using my blog to make such a plea. However, a wonderful human beings life and his families future hangs in the balance, and would you not, in my place do any less? I’ve balanced that risk with the possible positive responses that come from my readers.
For you, the balance in this case is that in giving whatever you can easily and comfortably afford will not only help save a good man’s life, you will receive his undying gratitude, and its tax deductible too.
TTFN from Elaine. wishing you internal and external balance, always.
You can help by visiting
to make a tax-deductible donation to NFT in his honor.
If you have any questions about NFT, feel free to contact the staff at
Thanking you in anticipation of your generosity.
TTFN from Elaine
How to harmonize mind and body,
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