Psychic View: Finding happiness through balance
By Marjorie Young
One of this column’s readers, Michael, wrote in with an interesting observation. While admiring the author Victor Frankl, Michael disputed his philosophy that ‘finding a meaningful existence’ was a certain key to fulfillment. Michael’s question was this: what if one IS leading a ‘meaningful life’ ... yet still found happiness elusive?
I believe this is a common occurrence. For example, a parent may renounce a rewarding career to stay home and raise the children, an act that is certainly worthwhile. Conversely, someone may dive into challenging work, then find they have little time or energy left for family. While raising kids or focusing on a fascinating field may indeed prove rewarding, there may always be ‘something lacking’ when believing we’re required to cut off vital aspects of ourselves.
There are also many who believe they must be ‘practical’ ... thus putting aside things that give them true pleasure. For example, a doctor may find her career to be absorbing, yet regret having no time for artistic pursuits she also loves. As a result, her life might prove draining rather than fulfilling as she’d envisioned.
I frequently encounter this situation with clients. They admit they are doing something ‘worthwhile,’ yet experience depression or a sense of ennui they cannot quite define.
I believe there is a ready remedy ... and that is called ‘balance!’ Or as Buddha taught -- ‘The Middle Way.’ Tension and dilemma are created when continually obliging ourselves to choose between more than one desirable alternative. It requires a tremendous amount of energy to ‘stifle’ our natural talents or interests for the sake of doing something else, no matter how ‘worthwhile.’
Why is this necessary? For example, why can’t that doctor focus on her novel on weekends, or arrange to take a painting class, therefore permitting other aspects of her true self to bloom? What prevents the husband or wife who chooses to stay home with the kids from also seeking opportunities to utilize precious talents ... perhaps practice their career part-time or search for other avenues to further enhance their existence? The career-driven person may perhaps choose to spend more time with family, or develop other aspects of themselves they’ve thought of with longing.
There’s a saying that our abilities are the universe’s gift to us ... how we use them is our gift back. We hope our children will come to express themselves fully as human beings. Why should we desire that for them, yet not ourselves? Eternally ignoring or suppressing our potential is like holding back a rushing river. We can never experience our truest selves unless we bloom in the manner we were meant to. Otherwise, it’s akin to winning the lottery, but refusing to make use of the riches.
Only by embracing balance, rather than suffocating portions of our multi-faceted being, can we discover the path to true happiness and fulfillment. Just try it for a brief time. You should quickly become aware of the difference ... akin to coming awake after an endless time of sleepwalking.
You can reach me with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Marjorie is available for readings at the Ballard Sunday Market, her Ballard home, or by phone. Please visit her novel’s website at: www.theboywithgoldeneyes.com