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I am starting a new adult giftedness therapy group Feb 2014 in San Antonio TX and am accepting applicants. If you are interested or wish to refer someone, please complete this Comprehensive Giftedness Survey (1) and then contact me.

Lavelda Naylor, MA, LMFTA

4230 Gardendale
Suite 502
San Antonio, Tx 78229
(210) 460-0442
laveldanaylor@ymail.com
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Sexual dissatisfaction is a theme I encounter in therapy often enough that I wanted to organize some basic perspectives on the topic for those struggling with this issue. First, let us debunk some commonly held beliefs about sexual functioning that may be limiting connection and opportunities to have a healthy sex life.

sex on the brain

MYTH: You must have a predictable, routine number of times a week. 

Having sex regularly nourishes a relationship, sure, but don’t get too caught up in the counting. Most happy couples don’t have sex two or three times a week (see below). What’s important is that you both are satisfied with the frequency. If that’s not the case, start a discussion outside the bedroom by saying something like, “We don’t have sex as often anymore, and it worries me.” And remember: There’s more to a healthy sex life than just sex, don’t forget cuddling, holding hands, and spontaneously hugging and kissing.

MYTH: You both need to be in the mood.

It’s normal for sex to be a little ho-hum for one or both spouses up to 15% of the time. Any number of factors can throw things a bit off-kilter: timing, your mood or his, the amount of foreplay, life stresses, you name it. Rather than postponing until the planets align, have sex when you can—and don’t interpret an off night as a sign of a failing relationship. If your partner seems disengaged, just be affectionate and look forward to next time. To keep things exciting, make a point of venturing out of your comfort zone occasionally with new positions, locations, and sexy videos.

MYTH: If you’re not having spontaneous sex, it must mean your sex life is over. 

When you were first together, you had sex on your mind for hours, maybe even days, leading up to the experience. In many cases, you set the date, thought about it, planned the evening –even what to wear. It may have seemed spontaneous, but it wasn’t. Good sex is planned sex and in order to keep having it the more elaborate and integrated two people’s lives become, it must stay planned. Think date night, pencil it onto your calendar, and take time to talk about your sexual frequency, your needs, your fantasies, and what is missing and what is there for each of you.

MYTH: If a couple is having less sex, it’s her fault.

In men, low sex drive is often related to health problems or medications he may be on, many of which are known to create some sexual functioning challenges. Men aren’t used to needing stimulation, and it can be troubling. Sometimes he’ll just avoid it, causing the woman to think he’s no longer attracted to her –which results in a sexual Catch-22. Also, pressuring partners for sex can actually decrease sexual desire, particularly for women since historically sex has been viewed as a right by many men. The freedom to choose sexual activity can be a difficult paradox for a partner interested in increasing sexual activity with a female partner: the very thing often required to increase female desire is not feeling like you HAVE to put out to keep your mate.

MYTH: Good sex is long and slow.

Few of us can afford the luxury of leisurely sex. (Frankly, most of us secretly think it sounds like more work after an exhausting day.) And holding out for the ideal moment can lead to infrequent or, even worse, vacation-only sex. The solution? Embrace the quickie. Think of it like a sex snack, sure to boost your energy and put you back in the mood. For extra excitement, break out of the bedroom: Five-minute romps are perfect for unusual locations, even if that just means your shower or sofa.

Sex expectations can be changed but you may want to know where you fit in  terms of common sexual functioning, which may be best understood with a review of some basic statistical facts–although it must be said that what is to be deemed normal sexual functioning is subject to much debate.

aging processs

FREQUENCY: Age is an important factor in predicting frequency of sexual activity. Some interpretations of this are hormone surges and better health for the young, more obligations and less energy for the middle aged, and health concerns and partner loss for the aged.

  • 18-29 year olds have sex an average of 112 times per year (Kinsey Institute)
  •  30-39 year olds an average of 86 times per year (Kinsey Institute)
  • 40-49 year olds an average of 69 times per year (Kinsey Institute)
  • Between 2004 and 2009, the percentage of people in their 50s who say they have sex at least once a week took about a 10-point plunge for both sexes (women dropped from 43 to 32 percent, and men from 49 to 41 percent) (AARP survey)

wedding

COUPLE STATUS: Whether or not a couple is married also interacts with frequency of sexual activity. Some interpretations of this are feeling obligated, financial worries, and/ or stress. 

  • Unmarried couples living together have reported having the most sex, averaging 146 times per year  (Durex Survey, 2003)
  • Married couples may have the greatest range of sexual frequency, having reported having sex approximately 98 times per year  (Durex Survey, 2003), which may be distributed a variety of ways in a given month:  once-a-week, 26% (David Schnarch’s survey), a few times per month 45% (Kinsey Institute), twice a month or less (David Schnarch’s survey). On the higher end, 34%  have reported 2-3 times per week (Kinsey Institute), and 7%  4 or more times per week (Kinsey Institute). On the lower end, 13% of couples have reported only a few times per year (Kinsey Institute),
  • Single folks appear to have the least sex, reporting sex an average of 49 times a year  (Durex Survey, 2003)

world

GEOGRAPHY/NATIONALITY: Cultural norms play a role in the frequency of sex and this may be due to a variety of factors, including norms, religion, and/or family-career dynamics.

· Global average: 127 times a year (Durex Survey, 2003)
· Eastern Europeans (Hungarians, Bulgarians, and Russians) are the most sexually active (150 times a year) (Durex Survey, 2003)
· Americans were low on the frequency list in 2003 at 118 times per year (Durex Survey, 2003)

gender

GENDER: Men and women seem to differ in sex drive, sexual exploration, and expression of sexual interests, which can influence sex frequency of same and opposite sex partnering. 

  • Among women 48% admitted to faking an orgasm; 22% men (different survey) have gone on record as faking
  • 25% of men reported visiting a pornographic site in the previous 30 days while only 4% of women reported visiting pornographic sites in the same timeframe.
  • 12% of females and 22% of males reported erotic response when told a SM story.
  • 55% of females and 50% of males reported having responded erotically to being bitten
  • 14% of men and 11% of women have had some sexual experience with sadomasochism.
  • 11% of men and 17% of women reported trying bondage.
  • Men’s sexual fantasies tend to be more sexually explicit than women’s; women’s fantasies tend to be more emotional and romantic.
  • In one study, men’s fantasies mentioned a partner’s sexual desire and pleasure more frequently than did women’s fantasies
  • 54% of men think about sex everyday or several times a day, 43% a few times per month or a few times per week, and 4% less than once a month, while 19% of women think about sex everyday or several times a day, 67% a few times per month or a few times per week, and 14% less than once a month

emo-boy-and-girl-wallpapers_30973_1440x900

NEEDS: Regardless of sex frequency, the majority of people are underwhelmed with their sex lives, and interestingly enough, it is not the frequency of sex that tops the list of unmet sexual needs.

  • Only 44% of people surveyed are fully satisfied with their sex lives  (Durex Survey, 2010)
  • 39 % of those dissatisfied are looking for more love and romance (Durex Survey, 2010)
  • 36% would like more quality time alone with their partner (Durex Survey, 2010)
  • 31% would like more fun and better communication and intimacy with their partner (Durex Survey, 2010)
  • 37% want to feel less stressed out and tired” (Durex Survey, 2010)
  • 29% desire a higher sex drive (Durex Survey, 2010)
  • 82% who are sexually satisfied say they feel respected by partner during sex (Durex Survey, 2010)

health

Examination of sexual functioning for emotional healthiness may be the difference between sexual satisfaction and dissatisfaction. So what are some of the markers of emotional health in sexual functioning?

10 major differences between emotionally Healthy and Unhealthy Sex:

1. Healthy Sex leads to feelings of well-being while unhealthy sex often leads to feelings of guilt and shame.

2. Healthy Sex is sensual with emotional connection to the current partner in the present moment while unhealthy sex is seeking surrogate intimacy with connection to the past, often unresolved emotional or sexual trauma, or unresolved relationships.

3. Healthy Sex is inspired, intuitive, and passionate while unhealthy sex is empty of these qualities and more about “chasing an orgasm” and satisfying a “need.”

4. Healthy Sex is nurturing of both physical and emotional connection while unhealthy sex is about getting high, numbing out, or escaping to fantasy.

5. Healthy Sex is loving of yourself and your partner while unhealthy sex is exploitive and selfish.

6. Healthy Sex is being emotionally vulnerable while unhealthy sex lacks emotional investment, vulnerability, or intimate connection.

7. Healthy Sex is respecting and honoring healthy sexual boundaries while unhealthy sex is often boundaryless and offensive.

8. Healthy Sex is moderate and feels safe to both partners while unhealthy sex is about intensity and requires escalation to achieve arousal.

9. Healthy Sex is being curious and caring about your partner while unhealthy sex is selfish and self seeking, often leaving your partner feeling used.

10. Healthy Sex is learning to trust, being vulnerable, accepting that anxiety and awkwardness are okay, and risking being known while unhealthy sex is avoidant of emotional intimacy, about power and control, and disembodied

If these areas are concerning for you, you may wish to seek mental health counseling or therapy to understand your internal processes related to sexual functioning and satisfaction. While this may not always preserve the relationship you are currently in, it can have lifelong benefits for present and future relationships.

SOURCES

http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20411243,00.html   Jennifer Berman, MD, is the director of the Berman Women’s Wellness Center and the author of For Women Only

http://blog.aarp.org/2013/02/21/busted-5-biggest-myths-about-sex-after-50/    | Best of Everything After 50 |

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-sexual-continuum/201112/how-often-do-men-and-women-think-about-sex

http://www.iub.edu/~kinsey/resources/FAQ.html

http://www.aarp.org/relationships/love-sex/info-05-2010/2009-aarp-sex-survey.html

http://sonorancounselingservices.com/

This is an in depth description of the unique way that existential psychology views emotion processing cut and pasted from ExistentialTherapy.com . 

Counseling

Much of the field of psychology has come to see unpleasant emotions as negative and something to merely be “coped with” or “survived.” Existentialists offer an alternative through seeking to reclaim the variety of human emotions as being valuable and beautiful. This does not discount the significant problems in living that result from unpleasant emotions or the possibility of these emotions existing in excess at times. Rather, it creates a place for these emotional experiences.

Embodiment

Embodiment is the foundation for an existential understanding of healthy emotions. This was a given neglected by Yalom, but was focused on more in the writings of James F. T. Bugental and Myrtle Heery. Embodiment implicitly indicates that it is natural for human beings to embody their emotions. Nietzsche, in his writings, consistently suggested that we ought not resist that which is natural. This is not to suggest that we just follow our impulses or emotions blindly. Instead, it suggests we ought experience our emotions and find ways to utilize them. Anger, for example, can be channeled in a manner to use the energy of the anger to fight against what is not right in society in a healthy, productive manner.

In essence, then, embodiment is meant to convey that we ought to experience our emotions and view them as friends that can be used in various ways. This requires that we work to become more aware of our emotions and then consciously find how we can best utilize our emotions. The latter part of this is highly personal. There is no one correct way to use our emotions, what is important is that we find a way to do this that is consistent with who we are and our values.

The Primacy of Anxiety

The first emotion to be reclaimed was anxiety. Beginning with the existential philosophers, existentialism has a long history of valuing anxiety. Soren Kierkegaard, who is often regarded as the first existential philosopher, wrote what is considered the first book on anxiety in 1844. This book has been translated as The Concept of Anxiety or The Concept of Dread. Rollo May, often considered the father of American existential psychology, wrote is doctoral dissertation on anxiety and later published it under the title of The Meaning of Anxiety in 1950.

 

May (1970) made strong case for anxiety to be reinterpreted in a more positive light. Part of the reinterpretation of anxiety brought about a distinction between existential anxiety andneurotic anxiety. While the idea of neurotic anxiety can be traced back to Freud, May made significant contributions to the development of the concept within an existential framework. According to May, neurotic anxiety is disproportionate to the threat or the results of repression or an intrapsychic conflict. Conversely, normal or existential anxiety is a normal part of the human condition.

 

While the distinction between normal and neurotic anxiety is beneficial, both can be used in a productive manner. What makes anxiety pathological is not the experience of it, but the resistance to it. The presence of anxiety offers a guide to deeper understandings of the self, one’s relationships, and one’s problems. Merely taking away or alleviating anxiety is not necessarily productive. Rather, it has great potential to be destructive in that it removes the guide. It is very common for people who begin psychotropic medications to drop out of therapy shortly afterwards. They have not miraculously healed or grown. Rather, they have lost their motivation and guide (i.e., anxiety or the unpleasant feeling). This is not to say that no one should take medication, that medications are all bad, or that they don’t have a appropriate utility. Rather, it means that medication use should be understood in a broader context.

 

From an existential perspective, what becomes important is learning to sit with the anxiety and listen to it. This is not easy and takes time, but with work anxiety can be changed from something to be feared to something that is welcomed as an opportunity for learning and growth. What often occurs in existential therapy is that the experience of anxiety changes more so than the presence of it. In other words, anxiety becomes less of a miserable experience and doesn’t feel so bad or overwhelming. This, in itself, often serves to decrease the neurotic portions of the anxiety.

 

Again, it is important to note that this is not for everyone. For some people, they just want the negative experiences to go away. This is the choice of the individual. But, so often in today’s society, controlling anxiety is often presented as the only viable and healthy option. From an existential perspective, this takes away the individual’s responsibility and freedom to choose. From an ethical perspective, consumers should be presented with the different options and be allowed to choose between medication, solution-focused approaches to anxiety reduction, and an existential approach (or other depth approaches).

 

Anxiety as a Model for Other Emotions

From this conception of anxiety, a broader understanding of emotions can be built. This same theoretical basis can be applied to the other unpleasant emotions. However, each emotional experience has some particularities, too. This could also be interpreted as saying each emotion may have a unique message or meaning. These messages are also unique to the individual experience them. In other words, the same emotion may not mean the same thing to everyone. Attempts to oversimplify how people experience emotions does more damage than good in the long run.

 

Depression, for example, is often more of a lack of feeling than a sad feeling. There are an abundance of metaphors in contemporary music which reflect this experience of depression. This reflects our culture and, in particular, the experience of our youth today. Depressed people will, at times, talk about hurting themselves just to feel. Pain seems to be the only emotion available that they can feel and sometimes pain is better than feeling numb. Depression often results from the repression of experience and emotions. In a sense, all a person’s energy is used in the service of repression leaving little energy left — depression. So part of working through depression is learning to feel again. But when a person begins to feel, often what they first feel is the pain which was repressed. This needs to be worked through to get to the joy.

 

This is just one route to depression and there are many more. The essential message is the same — emotions have a meaning. Furthermore, emotions do not go away when they are repressed; they find an expression elsewhere. This is why ideas such as “living in the moment,” “being in the here-&-now,” and “being fully present” are so important to existential theory. When a person is in the moment, they are better able to process and assimilate significant experiences as they happen.

 

Suffering, Beauty, & Joy

Beauty and joy result from more fully experiencing life — both the good and the bad. While joy is often interpreted as a state of bliss devoid of any negative experience. An existential reframe of this would be that joy is a state of fully experiencing the current moment including the good and the bad. Joy may contain pieces of sadness, of anxiety, or even of anger. When one aspect of experience is being blocked out, joy is then limited.

 

A similar application could be made with suffering. Suffering is generally made worse and/or prolonged when it is resisted and often becomes less threatening when a person allows themselves to experience it. However, an important caution should be made here. It can be quite terrifying when one first begins allowing themselves to experience emotions more deeply. For many, this is best done in the context of therapy.

 

Beauty is best experienced, seen, or created in the context of fully experiencing life’s emotions. Depth psychology has long been fascinated with art and artists. This is for good reason. There is a connection between the emotions and creativity. Many artists will fear losing their pain for fear that it would take away their creativity and their art. The beauty of their creation is more valuable than the pain of their experience. Some of the most beautiful art of all time came from anguished artists. There is something to learn from this.

 

A Postmodern Context for Emotional Theory

Any contemporary emotional theory would be severely lacking without a discussion of language. Postmodernism has helped for us to recognize that language is a social construction. In other words, we all use and experience language differently. Therapists tend to have a very rich, specific emotional language. However, many other people may have difficulty distinguishing emotions and have a limited emotional vocabulary. Furthermore, there is a lot less agreement about what emotions are than what is generally thought. What is meant by anxiety, depression, sadness, or happiness may be quite different from person to person. It is important not to assume that everyone means the same thing when they say they are depressed. This is a common mistake therapists often make.

 

One aspect of therapy which can be healing is the development of a language which allows the individual to better describe and therefore understand their emotional experience. While the therapist can be helpful in guiding the therapeut through this process, it is important for them not to impose their language on the client. Rather, it can be beneficial for the therapeut to be able to discover and/or create their own emotional language which best helps them understand their own experience. This can be done within the context of helping them also understand that not everyone uses language, particularly emotional language, in the same way.

 

Conclusion

Because existential theories focus on embracing emotions, existential therapy is inherently an experiential therapy. People are encouraged to experience their life, and particularly their relationships, more deeply. This can be a difficult and, at times, terrifying process. But it can also be a very freeing process. Certainly, this is not what everyone desires to achieve through therapy. The existential approach is not for everyone.

 

If you are still interested in learning more about existential theory you may continue on toIntermediate and Advanced Topics page or Common Misperceptions about Existential Therapy page. If you are interesting in beginning therapy with an existential therapist, consult the Referral page. You may also wish to browse the References and Suggested Readingspage which contains some papers, book reviews, and many suggested book for further reading.

Original Version added 2004. Updated July, 2009.

Dichotomous reasoning involves viewing situations as binary rather than continuous. Dichotomous sometimes called “black or white” thinking, ignores shades of gray. A dichotomous thinker only acknowledges right-wrong, ignoring dilemmas with no right choice and non-normative information; or success-failure, ignoring effort and where success moved to failure; or perfect-incompetent, ignoring learning and practice gains; and big-small, ignoring medium and all sizes in between.

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The problem with this type of cognitive distortion is that most of life happens in the grey are between black-white ends, which limits the options for dichotomous thinkers by shrinking their world to extremes. This also makes it hard to make positive meaning out of ordinary experiences, which is an important brain function. To help expand the mind away from extremes and give more meaning to life’s smaller events, try this exercise:

Let’s say you have one or more of these beliefs:

  • You can marry for love or money.
  • You can’t trust rich people.
  • Rich people are shallow.

Now you have won the lottery, you might then think something like this:

  • I can either be rich or be loved.
  • I can either have tremendous wealth or be kind and trustworthy.
  • I can either have money or have a deep, meaningful life.

Now your options are limited to keep the money and be superficial, or give up the money and have depth. To get more options, try rewriting those same thoughts with and instead of or.

  • I intend to be wealthy and live a life filled with love by paying attention to the feelings of my self and others.
  • I intend to be rich and trustworthy and kind by staying in touch with my values.
  • I intend to have both a wealthy and deeply fulfilling life by giving to others who are less fortunate.

Now you have at least 3 options, and possibly many more. To help support your new thinking, find examples (called ‘exceptions’) of people in the world who represent the and-statement.

  • Paul Newman had wealth, and love in his life, staying married to Joanne Woodward from 1958-2008.
  • Oprah is very rich and also stays in touch with her values, people trust her, and see her as kind.
  • Bill Gates is super rich and also has a meaningful life through his many foundations.

Meaningful life     ————————–   Meaning and Matter     —————————–   Material Life

(Depth, love, poverty)              (Authentic, relationships, generosity)               (Shallow, alone, wealthy)

To extend the positive benefits of the exercise and alter negative behaviors in your own life, take a personally held set of dichotomous beliefs and rewrite them as a continuum, filling in the middle with and types of statements.

Source: http://www.divinecaroline.com/self/self-discovery/dichotomous-thinking-it-will-screw-you-every-time     Jackie Gartman

What-is-Anxiety-Disorder

1. Label worry thoughts.

This step is about identifying “when the phenomenon of worry is happening.” Most worriers have worries around several similar themes, such as health, their job, relationships and finances. Because people see their worries as facts, it can be hard to distinguish a normal thought from a worry thought. Worry thoughts are those that turn ideas about events into psuedofacts (ideas that feel like truths but are not) and typically follow patterns such as “what if scenarios” –future catastrophes we think will happen–and ruminations–replaying what has already happened. Labeling your worry thoughts makes them feel less factual, lets you know when to apply the rest of the model, and helps you start separating yourself from these thoughts.

2. Let go of control.

When you have a thought you don’t like, your body responds by struggling physically to control it and escape from it, which intensifies the thought. Trying to overpower worry only ignites anxiety and worry thoughts, so you have to relax into it. This step encourages worriers to slow down the fight-or-flight response and relax the body by using “traditional stress management” techniques, such as breathing deeply, relaxing your hands and all your muscles, exercise (walk, run, etc.), and drinking lots of water.
Practice a mantra like “It is okay to worry, I accept myself as I am, it is safe to be me.”

3. Accept and observe thoughts/ feelings.

The goal is to look at your worry thought as separate from yourself. You remind yourself that your thoughts are not reality. They’re not actual events. Separating thoughts from reality is called “cognitive defusion”. Try this exercise: Imagine worry as a mind gnome, running around in your head. give it a name. When you identify worry gnome’s thoughts, say oh that is just so-in-so making a mess in my mind. I think he will get tired eventually, maybe i will go for a run in the meantime.” You aren’t trying to rid yourself of these thoughts but you’re trying to distance yourself from them.

4. Be mindful of the present moment.

Mindfulness means “getting out of your head” and “being aware of your immediate surroundings,” using all your senses. You do this in a nonjudgmental and compassionate away. Try this exercise: Pick a color, like red, and for the next two minutes, notice everything that’s the color red. Pay attention to the hues, the textures, the similarities of the objects, and the differences. This is to heighten other processes and engage yourself more fully in the present moment, not what happened before this moment and not what might come next.

5. Proceed in rationally chosen direction.

Oftentimes, we find ourselves placating our anxiety, letting our anxiety drive many of our choices. Instead, the key is to process anxiety so you can get back to making conscious choices based on your values. Values propel people forward, and give us a rationale or purpose for proceeding, even while anxiety is present. Try this metaphor on: Consider that “The journey in the boat is your life,” and you’ve got two instruments: a compass and a barometer. When you focus on anxiety, it’s like you’re steering the boat with a barometer, which provides you with the weather, not the direction. Using a barometer means you avoid any potential bad weather and you sail where the waters are calm. But using it to steer the ship also gives you no sense of direction. The compass, however, represents your values. When you use the compass, you know where you’re going, “even if the water is rough or the weather is dicey” (or you’re experiencing anxiety or difficult emotions).

6. Make an attitude adjustment.

Your attitude about coping with worry and anxiety is also important: many people with acute anxiety are serious and upset and think they have to get a handle on their anxiety immediately. this makes it hard to go around such a driving need, so just approach the worry gnome “playfully and with a light manner,” like an errant child who does not know any better.

Sources:

Origionally pinned by MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY, M.S.

Based on the work of Chad LeJeune, Ph.D, in his book, The Worry Trap: How to Free Yourself from Worry & Anxiety Using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy. Quotes from this source.

being-and-doing

“We are human beings, not human doings” – Deepak Chopra

This quote emphasizes the importance of ‘being’ to embracing our humanity. Simultaneously, the quote points to the emphasis modern society has placed on doing. If we are constantly involved in the world of doing, do we really need the world of being? To better address this question, we must understand how these worlds differ and when they collide.

What is DOING?

Doing is what we do and how we interact with the world–it is our actions, concrete things in the world, ways to do things, strategies for success in the material world. It is observable, external, normative, shared experiencing, behavior driven, objective, measurable, temporal, linear.

What is BEING?

Being is who we are and how we fit in on this planet—it’s the pause between thoughts, the space in which internal processes come and go, the stillness underlying all activity, the awareness that’s looking out through our eyes. It is  is internal, hidden, non-normative, subjective, experienced alone, feeling driven, immeasurable,non-temporal, nonlinear.

It is not enough to be in one world or the other. Being without action keeps us from actualizing our sense of self in the world and prevents us from being known by others.  This might entail becoming cut off from the pleasures inherent in accomplishment through activity and connecting with things and other people. When we take action, we share ourselves in ways that can be observed and connected to as well. This lets us join the world so it a necessary part of being in relation. Feelings of  existential despair and isolation can trap us in depression, mourning what has been lost or missed. 

Conversely, If we completely ignore being, if we never consciously chose to enter the world of being, we may lose touch with ourselves. This can lead to misconceptions about who we are and not authentically represent our hopes, dreams, and values.  It can also contribute to being overwhelmed. Constant doers may be prone to anxiety, living a midst a list of things to do, looking forward to sure catastrophe  

When one is balanced between the world of being and doing, activity is an authentic reflection of the self that is personally fulfilling and allows us to be known by others in authentic ways. It is the awareness gained from being that empowers us to make choices that reflect and cultivate our identity.

Relationships are perhaps our most important link between the world of being and the world of doing and often reflect the state of balance or imbalance we may be in.  If we struggle with intimacy, we may not know who we are, if we struggle with commitment we may be stuck in the past or fear the future. If we feel no passion, we may have lost touch with what makes us tick. There are many barriers to being balanced that can costs us harmony of experience, cutting us of from invaluable resources we need to better manage ourselves and relate with others.

BALANCE BARRIERS

1. Cultural Values“There’s a suspicion in our culture about being,” says Douglas. “Our puritan ethic teaches us to be productive and responsible. Our mission in life is to acquire, to accomplish, to succeed.”“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is how we language the value of work to children. As adults the first words out of our mouths when we meet for the first time are “What do you do?” The message is clear: We’re valued for what we contribute, not for who we really are. This can trap us into thinking the world of doing is what defines us. It can also devalue being by making us feel guilty, like being activity is a luxury and that doing is the ‘real world‘.  But we are born we being and must learn doing. Thus the primary world of humans is being and doing is an extension of this world.

2. Personal  Values: Many times we become lost in one particular value we hold dear above all others, like ‘hard work’ or justice’ and pursue that without consideration for how this value might conflict with our other value, like ‘family time’ or  ‘acceptance’. Values are a being based process and this ind of unexamined internal conflict can cause us great inner disquiet unless resolved or accepted.

3. Fear: Sometimes we may wonder what might happen if we take time to explore being: Would anything get done? Would we survive? Frightened of loosening our grip and free-falling into an imagined abyss,we struggle to impose our agenda on life while contracting away from the natural, ever-changing, and unpredictable flow of being. Yet being is critical to help us choose those actions that promote courage.

4. Worry: Sometimes we worry constantly, which is a cry to rebalance into the world of being–doing has taken over! But of course we might say ‘I have too much to do’. So we compartmentalize our lives into sacred and secular, being and doing, bad and good. The secret is to view every moment as fertile ground for practice in being. In other words, you do not have to go to the gym, or take up Buddhism, or have a vacation–although lovely– to connect with beingness. You must simply tune in to the being experience that happens simultaneously with your doing experience. Ask yourself what am I feeling as I do this, what is underneath that feeling? Is it a thought, another feeling, a value? Investigate your beingness with as much clarity as you can using the stimulus of your doing as a jumping off point.

5. Not being present: Unless we keep asking ourselves, “What are my priorities right now?” we tend to lapse back into old unconscious patterns, and stay lost in the world of being. Using mindfulness to engage the prefrontal cortex, the natural mechanism of the world of doing, in being activity is a useful way to stay balanced. Manage your attention, focus your decision making power, harness your observation skills to notice yourself in each activity you do.  The mind can seem terrified of the present moment, which is where being inevitably occurs so ask yourself to stay in this moment when your mind wonders to the next or the one past. 

Reflection

  • What do you feel when you step back from always “doing”, and allow yourself to become a witness to your actions?
  • What do you think  the result is of your own activity conducted without reflection?
  • How do you think you could create a greater sense of “being” in your life?
  • What are your core values and how well aligned are your actions to your values?
  • What state am I in, right now?
  • What do I desire most?
  • Is all this running around and “doing” really getting me what I desire?
  • What are you afraid of losing, if you were to stop “doing” something?
  • What are some behaviors that you can adopt to be more established in a state of “being”.

SOURCES

http://www.icoachacademy.com/blog/coaching-resources/power-tools/shobha-naidu-being-vs-doing/

http://www.livinglifefully.com/flo/flodoingvsbeing.htm

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