Life is a Four-Part Harmony

One of my client-friends is confronting the issue of balance in his life at the moment. Living authentically and walking his talk is important to him. He is writing a book to help people live their dreams consciously, with purpose and with abundance, so he is sensitized to his own process.

Balance is a trickly thing for those of us focused on living our dreams. The image that comes to mind for some of you might be of someone perched on a highwire, teetering and trying to avoid falling off. Others may get the image of scales, the sides perfectly–or not so perfectly–balanced.

There is nothing wrong with either of those images, but I prefer to use the word “harmony” as many people use the word “balance.” Why? Because balance often implies portions in equal buckets (like those scales) or  the threat of crashing and burning (like falling off that highwire). Harmony suggests something quite different: a congruent and pleasing arrangement of parts.

I believe that life is a four-part harmony comprised of body, mind, spirit, and emotions and that all of these components have a being and a doing quality. My client-friend has discovered in himself a tendency to over-do, to plunge forward with activity, sometimes at the expense of his health, well-being, and . . . yes, at the expense of maintaining harmony of mind, body, spirit, and emotions. He is consciously attending to the being side of all four, as well as the doing side. In doing so, what I am witnessing from the outside is a period of amazing transformation in him.

Living the dream is about four-part harmony: attending to it, making it a priority, and being conscious about both the being and the doing sides of each one of the four components. I don’t suggest it is always easy, but the experience of harmony is delicious enough to bring you back, again and again. And, in the end, everything seems to flow easier in harmony.

What’s your experience?

 

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7 Responses to “Life is a Four-Part Harmony”

  1. Corinne McKay Says:

    Hi Melanie, what a great post, you are always so enlightening! I guess that balancing these elements is a lifelong process (or as my yoga teacher says, “we’re all on the path”!). For me it’s mostly a matter of the practical details; I feel the best when I spend a lot of time exercising, say at least an hour a day, but then other things, like the emotional friends/family side of life, starts to suffer, largely because exercising is something I enjoy doing alone. One thing that helps me is to consciously go over what I’m choosing to do and not do; then if something is out of balance, I actually feel better about it because it’s something I chose to do, rather than something that that was inflicted on me! Thanks for your awesome blog!

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  2. Melanie Mulhall Says:

    Corinne,

    Balancing those four elements is, indeed, a lifelong process. In part, that is because our lives are organic–changing, developing, ebbing, and flowing. Those four elements shift with those changes. And, in keeping with the view you and your yoga teacher share, it appears to me, from the path, that we are all pilgrims going down the road.

    If we look at harmony, or balance, as one more thing to accomplish on our to-do list, then we miss the point completely. But, as you have discovered for yourself, if we are gently conscious of our choices, at least two things are at play: (1) We are in the present moment, which is the point of power, and; (2) We are owning up to the fact that it is all choice.

    Thanks for your insightful comments!

    Melanie

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  3. Helena Mariposa Says:

    Melanie,

    I think you are right about the integration of the four aspects of our Self being more about harmony than simply balance. The movement of opposites in our lives should be like a fluid dance. Jung spoke of how important it was that we maintain “the tension of opposites”- in doing so we transcend to another level of wholeness. I know, I know, this sounds all fine and good, but when it comes to the day to day reality of managing all that our body, mind, spirit and emotions can demand it can become quite unruly. That is when we must be willing to be flexible as well as conscious about our choices.

    I have been reading a time management book called How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life by Lakein and he suggests one get clear about one’s goals and the level of importance they hold in your life. So maybe it all comes down to being conscious, as Corrine so aptly pointed out.

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  4. Melanie Mulhall Says:

    Helena,

    I would like to hear more about your sense of how Jung relates to this, as well as your sense of “opposites” as they relate to that four part harmony. I don’t see any of the four parts as being opposite another, and I don’t think that is what you are saying either. I do think we can get so out of balance on any one of them that it becomes a polar extreme of itself, so to speak. Now that is an interesting concept! Is this what you are getting at?

    I have not read the book you refer to, but would love to hear more of your learnings from it, too. It has, however, given rise to some thoughts about goals and how we use our time. And I’m going to address them in a new post, so stay with me.

    Melanie

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  5. Helena Mariposa Says:

    Yes, Melanie, that is what I am referring to when I talk about the “dance” of opposites, the psyche contains so many of them: masculine – feminine, physical-spiritual, mental-emotional,intuitive-sensate,etc. The marriage of these opposites is called a ‘conuinctio’ and is an everpresent aspect of the psyche during the course of human life. I am tired and rambling now. so I will wrap this up. Mostly I think we have to find a ‘balance’ between trusting our process to lead us to the harmony of opposites you referred to and between making healthy and conscious choices. Ever and always asking is this the best way to spend my time? And, what better way is there to spend my time?

    Namaste.

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  6. Sally Says:

    What a perfect explanation of the difference between “harmony” and “balance.” I know when I am out of balance; haven’t seen my friends for months, or my kids, my two year old granddaughter will call me and say “come see me Mimi.” I’ve not had a massage, or worked out, or laughed and I recognize it all, then I have to think about HOW to get my LIFE in balance, adding another level of stress to an already stressful plate.

    I “feel” it when I am in harmony with myself and my life, I don’t have to think how I am going to accomplish it, I don’t have to go to another course of study to “understand” it or figure out how to attain it, I just feel it as it washes over me. When that happens I have time to get my work done, see all five of my grandchildren, pull my weeds or just sit and listen to the birds. It’s the feeling vs the thinking that makes the difference for me.

    Well done Melanie, it’s easy to see why you are becoming a nationally known editor

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  7. Melanie Mulhall Says:

    Sally,

    You have added another dimension to the discussion with your comments and examples. Harmony is distinctive in that there is a sense of flow to it. You have captured the feel of it well and, as you suggest, when we are in harmony, things do seem to get done without all the angst.

    But your point that you “feel” it when you are in harmony and don’t have to “think”–or stress–so much about things is important. I would suggest that when we are in harmony, it could be said that we navigate our way through life more holistically and by navigating more holistically, we find our way more easily because we have intuition, the five senses, emotions, connection to Spirit . . . and probably a few other things we sense but cannot quite define . . . as well as our thinking capabilities to guide us. We have a compass, the stars, a gps system, our eyes and ears . . . many things to aid us in the navigation. And that not only makes the journey easier, it also makes it immensely richer and profoundly more pleasant.

    And speaking of stars . . . readers and commentators on this list who appreciate astrology and love it with a little political spice might already be familiar with Sally’s site, http://www.astroworld.us. It is the premier politcal astrology site!

    Melanie

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