Monday, November 22, 2010

Responsiveness v. Non-Responsiveness

Stephen is a fairly extroverted person so he likes being with people, doing projects with others, and staying regularly connected. But he has a busy practice that can command much of his attention, so he’s not always as accessible as he’d like to think he is. Sometimes when friends and colleagues call him during a busy day he finds himself saying, “I’ll call you right back.” But he doesn’t, and then they get frustrated, and he ends up feeling guilty.

Why does he say it if he doesn’t mean it? It’s not that he doesn’t want to call people back. Sometimes he’s just overwhelmed and sometimes there’s really no need for a call back. But he’s the one who left it wide open, so why does he do it?

When there’s a dichotomy in one’s life, there’s always an underlying issue (although figuring out exactly what that issue is, is not always easy). That issue in this case could be Right Speech: ‘Say what you mean, mean what you say.’ But sometimes Stephen is just giving himself time to think about what’s been posed. Sometimes, it’s simply something he doesn’t want to have to deal with it at that time. But what if they want a more immediate response? There’s a rift between someone who’s ready and someone who’s not. So is the real issue: ‘Timing: My readiness does not always equal your readiness’?

How responsive do we have to be in this day and age of constant, multiple means of communication? How much do we owe it to others to respond in a certain manner? And when we don’t respond in a “timely” fashion or even respond at all, what is that saying? Are we unable to be present and focus on the issue at hand? Are we feeling overwhelmed by all that is coming at us? Are we asserting our independence and boundaries by in essence saying, “I’ll deal with it when I can deal with it”? Just because someone wants our attention – does that mean we are obligated to give it??

Is there really a concrete right and wrong answer to this? No. And so we are always juggling with and struggling through these conundrums in life. Stephen could, however, formulate a more honest, self-affirming answer when put in these situations, something like: “I’m really not sure when I can get back to you on this but I appreciate the thought.” It might not appease the person on the other end of the line, but hopefully Stephen is not left feeling so guilty for his non-responsiveness. There’s simply no perfect or complete fix in situations like these. In the big picture it doesn’t perfect the web we weave throughout life, but it might untangle one small part. In this case, only Stephen really knows. Well, him… and each person he’s meeting head on - or not.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Welcome to the 'Heart & Soul' Blog!

We haven’t yet officially introduced Middle Way Health’s ‘Heart & Soul’ Blog, but since we just unveiled our new website - – there’s no time like the present. Middle Way Health offers holistic healthcare such as Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy and Shamanic Healing, while new healing modalities being offered include Health and Wellness Advocacy and Expressive Writing Coaching. As well, under the umbrella of Middle Way Health, Middle Way Institute offers workshops and training designed to bring meaning and balance back into our lives.

‘Heart & Soul: Falling in Love with the World Again’ is a way for us to express our personal experiences with the challenges and inspirations of life. We know that it’s not always easy being in love with the world or our own lives, and yet we also know how important a dose of realism is in accepting what we can and cannot control.

Why do we call it “Falling in Love with the World Again?” Because each of us at times has fallen out of love with our existence due to betrayal, loss, depression, bewilderment, etc. But residing at the hopeless end of the spectrum – the one where we’re pessimistically reactive or inactive – isn’t going to invite the good stuff back in. While we don’t expect anyone to go from zero to 60 in love, practicing the art of accepting what comes to us will lead us in the right direction. After all, we’re here, we’re putting some effort into this thing called life… so we might as well go through the motions with the intention of finding or creating something worthwhile.

Try this on for size: Decide to say “Yes” to the world for a while. Just accept whatever comes at you and deal with it the best way you can. People don’t realize how much they’re saying “No”, or at best “Maybe” to what unfolds for them and this resistance to life is halting the natural process. Because if we’re always saying “No” or “Maybe”, we’re going to get the same in return – negativity and ambivalence.

We’ve all been hurt by people, situations, etc., and we may wonder if it’s even possible to fall in love again after betrayal or devastation. It depends a lot on what you believe and what you want out of life, but we certainly believe it’s possible. You just have to make the conscious choice to take a risk and believe it’s worth it. Sure, you may never forget the betrayal or get a guarantee that it’ll never happen again, but love/life is always there, hoping you’ll give it a second, third and fourth chance. We’re not calling it ‘Heart & Soul: Minimizing Your Risk’, after all. We know it’s a struggle because we struggle too. And we’ll share our challenges with you here, so keep an eye peeled for our adventures!

Within the blog we will also inform you about what we’re up to at Middle Way Health. For instance, we’re currently writing a novel (Something So Obvious) that will become the backdrop to a series of workshops called the Middle Way Training. In the meantime, many of the themes and philosophies within the book will be subject-matter for our blog entries because they represent universal challenges that affect us all. Feel free to send us ideas, questions and comments. We look forward to hearing from you.

Here’s to a Spirited Life (bumps, roadblocks and all) ~ Stephen, Melanie, Sabrina & Judy