The Importance of Work – Life Balance in Maintaining Healthy and Loving Relationships

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Work Life Balance 4Sean felt a desperate longing to have someone in his life during his teens and twenties. What made it even worse is that he could see that so many of his peers were coupling up. But Sean’s attempts to find love were often met with rejection. In more recent years he has experienced a growing sense of resignation. After so much disappointment Sean tells me that he’s feeling “What’s the use?”

There was a very heavy and even oppressive quality to Sean’s presence. Feelings of hurt, sadness, disappointment emanated from his body, and yet he has become largely numb to his feelings. Sean doesn’t have the understanding or resources needed to process all of that. And he certainly doesn’t have the time because he’s working eight hours a day while attending graduate school during the evenings.

I was surprised that Sean actually scheduled an individual session after attending one of my classes. He felt restless and found it difficult to access his feelings during class as I guided him through the meditation practices. Sean began to feel a range of bodily sensations in response to the Chi Gong practices I had him doing during the preliminary stage of the individual session. But he told me that he couldn’t feel much happening while he was on the table during the actual healing session.

I was disappointed, but not at all surprised when Sean told me that he didn’t feel much happening. Much of what he said and his whole expression indicated that he had become very desensitized. Sean’s body had a very dense quality resulting from the backlog of painful emotions and other stresses that had been congealing within. Sean’s body was responsive to the work. I could feel the stagnant emotions and armoring beginning to soften and dissolve.

I could also see that Sean has a lot of potential if he were willing to actually do the work necessary to facilitate change. I tried to encourage Sean to do at least twenty to thirty minutes a day of the Chi Gong practices that I has showed him when I called to follow up. I told Sean that I would even be willing to look into his aura to monitor the changes that would be taking place as a result of working with these practices. I also told him that twenty to thirty minutes of practice a day is a small investment. But Sean said that he wasn’t sure that he could find the time to do the practices I had taught him because his work and studies were taking up so many hours of the day.

Sean, is like so many other people nowadays are working and studying such long hours that they don’t have time to invest in their health or to have much of a life outside of work and school. What concerns me is that the experience of not connecting in relationships and the resulting depression will only become that much more deeply entrenched.

Many of us are working, going to school or both. It’s common for people certain in professions such as medicine to work inordinately long hours. We may have to do that for periods of time, but it’s not something we can do indefinitely without suffering the consequences.

Our emotional development gets put on hold when we’re working and studying such exceptionally long hours because we don’t have time or resources needed to process our life experiences and any subsequent feelings that arise. The feelings and stresses of work and other aspects of our lives that we fail to process can remain trapped within the bodies indefinitely. These accumulated stresses have a very numbing or deadening effect. Our life force becomes very stagnant and the physical and subtle bodies begin to break down. Many of us are only making matters that much worse when fail to get adequate sleep, when we spend too much time online, consume alcohol and other recreational drugs or rely on medications to alleviate our depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

The mental tasks that many of us are performing during the work day and night keep our awareness centered in our heads. The problem with being overly focused in our head for so many hours of the day and night is that it dissociates us from our feelings and physical bodies. We start losing touch with crucial aspects of ourselves.

Working such exceptionally long hours on a regular basis can stunt our emotional and interpersonal development. We’re actually losing the resources we need to experience a truly intimate relationship with ourselves and others and to cope effectively with the challenges of everyday life. Crises that occur in our lives such as a breakup, divorce or the loss of employment can leave us that much more devastated because we don’t have the resources or faculties needed to process them.

The life force within our bodies becomes very stagnant when we’re living in our heads, and even more so when we’re sitting in front of the computer for such long periods of time. We become less attractive as we become more dissociated and hold lots of stagnant energies in our bodies. And that makes it considerably more difficult for us to attract or maintain healthy and loving relationships.

It is critically important for us to balance our work with other activities that encourage us to connect with our feelings, physical bodies, other people and the world in which we live. We need to be making time to engage face to face with other people in a social or deeply personal context.

We need to be moving our bodies whether it be through walking, running, sports or some other physical activities. Disciplines such as yoga and tai chi can be especially helpful because they encourage us to be more mindful of our bodies. Mindfulness practices such as the ones I teach help to develop a stronger connection to our feelings and physical bodies while awakening the body’s own natural healing intelligence. These practices cleanse the body of stagnant energies and increase the life force while helping us to become more fully present.

The stresses and demands of everyday life can wear us down over time. We all need to be making use of various therapeutic interventions to facilitate healing and reconnect us with our physical bodies. Deep tissue massage and other forms of body work provide a wide range of health benefits while giving us a very enjoyable experience of being in our bodies.

I see the effects of the adverse effects of what people have to do just to make it in this world as I look into their bodies and minds. The presence working through me during the individual healing sessions restores the body-mind connection by helping people to process the backlog of stagnant emotion and other stresses held within the body. Damage is also repaired in the physical and subtle bodies. Their bodies and minds become more resilient. Some are at a place in their lives where they have no choice but to keep up with the grueling pace. The sessions help to sustain these individuals by mitigating the wear and tear of work, school and other demands until they can get to a better place. Others are able to make changes in their lives that enable them to better care for themselves.

©Copyright 2015 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

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Mismatch.com: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

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mismatch dot com
The thought of meeting someone online always felt very strange to me, but I ended up posting profiles on a few different websites after moving to New York because I found it much more difficult to connect with the women I encountered in the city.

I have always wanted to travel and spend time in different countries and thought posting a profile on line might provide an opportunity to meet women from other cultures. I posted profiles on a few different websites and got very mixed results. Women whose profile I responded to usually didn’t respond to me. After a while, I stopped responding to women’s profiles and left mine up for a year or two so women who were interested could contact me.

Many of the encounters felt very awkward. Either there was no chemistry or attraction and in some instances it was obvious that neither of us felt very comfortable. There were a number of occasions where I felt I just wanted to eject myself from the whole situation.

Online dating seemed to work better in India. Indian matchmaking sites are geared primarily towards marriage. I wasn’t really attracted to anyone that I met online, but I ended up meeting and becoming friends with a number of the women who responded to my profile. In many instances I also got to know their friends and families.

Something about the whole experience of meeting online felt very artificial to me. After a while I decided that I wasn’t going to deal with online matchmaking any longer and took my profiles down.

I was telling my friend Natasha that I feel much more comfortable meeting women face to face. I rather engage with the women I encounter wherever I happen to find myself. We all have physical preferences and I prefer to see what a woman actually looks like. I can feel the emotions that women are holding within their bodies, the issues they are dealing with and get a better sense of their outlook on life. I can feel the limitations that hold them back and the resources that enable them to excel in other areas of their lives. I see and feel a woman’s level of intelligence and can pick up on other traits, attributes and subtle nuances. I can also recognize the red flags that forewarn me of potential dangers and let me know that I need to be careful or to not get involved.

I like to hear and feel the sound of a woman’s voice. I listen to her words and tonality of her voice and I can get a better feeling of where she’s are coming from. I can also sense whether the women I meet are being honest or if they’re hiding something. This gives me a much more realistic sense of the woman I’m interacting with rather than anything she could ever write in an online profile.

Natasha looked at me and said that not everyone is that in touch with their feelings and intuition.

I responded by saying “People tend to lose touch with their feelings and physical bodies when they shut down emotionally and that can make it especially difficult for them to access their intuition. Either they cannot get an intuitive sense of the person in front of them or they have never learned to trust and rely upon their own senses.”

People in many parts of the world rely upon their intuition on a daily basis to make important decisions. They are able to tune into their intuition whenever they meet or interact with other people. I’ve lived on American Indian reservations and have spent lots of time in other parts of the world where I was forced to rely upon my intuition as a matter of personal survival.

We all can and need to develop the sensitivity that will enable us to sense what other people are about. Working with the practice of breathing into my feelings and sensations and all the other healing practices I have done has enabled me to develop and refine my own sensitivity.

Personals ads used to be relegated to the classified ads section of our local newspapers in years past. People generally met one another through introduction by friends or family members or they would approach and then engage the men or women they found themselves attracted to in conversation.

Online matchmaking has become a huge moneymaking business. The people who operate eHarmony, match.com, and shaadi.com and thousands of other matchmaking sites are capitalizing off of our fear, isolation, loneliness and social ineptitude which are bi-products of the cultural trance many of us are living in that tells us we are not safe getting to know and interact with people we encounter as we move through the world.

I’m not against online dating. I know people who have had wonderful success with online dating and have gone out on lots of dates with all kinds of interesting people. I know others who have found the love of their lives through online matchmaking sites. I encourage people to be open to any means of meeting potential partners. I just feel that it’s very unhealthy for people become so reliant upon online dating that it prevents them from developing important social skills or interacting directly with one another.

People living in rural areas often contend with the reality of having a very limited selection of perspective mates to chose from. Those of us who live in places like New York City and Boston are surrounded by thousands of available men and women. It’s unfortunate that many of us have become so fearful of one another that we cannot start a conversation, exchange contact information, email and talk on the phone and then meet again.

Online matchmaking often sets the stage for duplicity. People who post profiles on line can easily create the kind of image they want to portray to prospective suitors. The problem is that we cannot see the real personality of the individual whose profile we are viewing because that person is not right here in front of us.

People often lie about their age, weight, height and other important personal details in their online profiles. Some even lie about their marital status. Many lie because they are afraid that they won’t attract the kind of person they desire to meet if they are truthful and others are just downright dishonest.

We often respond to the profiles of people whose photo’s appeal to us. But many people do not really look like the pictures they post online. Sometimes we see someone face to face and they turn out to be a completely different person than we expected to meet.

On line matchmaking has transformed the process of finding love into an application for our computers and smart phones. People searching through profiles quickly evaluate the profiles of prospective matches according to their age, photo, social status, profession, hobbies and various other factors. Those who do not meet specific criteria are quickly eliminated.

Many people rather send text messages or interact with other people online because of their own insecurities and unwillingness to show up and be present in a relationship or deal with the realities of our physical day to day existence. We cannot directly participate in our own lives when we are hiding behind the screen of a computer. For this reason we are going backwards in terms of our own growth and development.

My friend Natasha commented to me the other day that people often turn and look away if she makes eye contact or smiles at them. It’s very sad to see how so many people are cocooning themselves.

We are becoming more and more isolated. Our isolation is largely a result of our fears of other people, our unwillingness to experience our true feelings and face our issues and our over reliance upon computers, smart phones and other technology. The technology that was designed to serve us is now enslaving us. We go about our day to day existence living in a bubble because we are so hooked into our on line social networks that we cease to participate in life by directly engaging with those around us.

We are now living in a culture where people assume that it is normal to meet total strangers online, but we are not open to approaching or being approached by that same individual during the course of our day. Either we are afraid to approach or we become fearful and put up a wall just because someone starts talking to us. It’s tragic that many people cannot even recognize how dysfunctional we have become.

People often hide behind computers screens because they have never really develop the social skills that are necessary to approach others or to respond appropriately while being approached. In many ways online matchmaking is making it harder and harder for people to directly engage with one another because it is reinforcing our lack of social skills and the fears that are keeping us isolated.

Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

Shut down your computer and turn off your smart phone. Get off your ass, go out there and start participating in life. Start making eye contact and engage with the people around you. Keep yourself open to being approached by other interesting people.

Tune into senses by noticing how you feel within your body as you interact with people. Disengage if you feel uncomfortable with someone. Exchange contact info if you get a good feeling about the person you are connecting to. Email or talk on the phone …and meet again …and again …and again! Take time to get to know the people you feel drawn to. Proceed from there when it feels right.

©Copyright 2013 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission.

Yin-Yang Balance: Why it’s So Important for Men and Women to Have Platonic Friends of the Opposite Gender

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tao
The feelings of attraction that begin to emerge during our adolescence can be all consuming. I wanted so much to have a love in my life as I grew into adulthood, but I was so painfully shy that I had to force myself to talk to women. My attempts to approach and engage with women were sometimes very awkward. I would often trip over my words or go completely blank. My social anxieties gradually abated as I continued to engage with women. I began to realize after some time that I really enjoyed women and that I felt much more comfortable relating to them.

Men and women have a tendency to exist within their own subcultures. A friend of mine who used to work as a bartender talked about how women came to the bar with their circle of girlfriends. Men usually came to the bars wanting to hook up, but those who tried to approach were often shot down. Most of the guys I know hang out with their guy friends. And women usually spend time with their girlfriends. Men and women complain about not having a love in their lives and that they don’t seem to be meeting anyone, and yet many are not doing anything constructive to change their situation.

I like to meet and spend time with interesting people. I talk with women I encounter along the way whenever the opportunity presents itself. Engaging with women in New York City can be difficult because many regard any man who approaches them in a public setting as a potential predator. There have been so many instances where I’ve met women and I could tell that they really liked me. Some have even spent hours meeting with me over coffee, but the underlying fears and sense of guardedness or the fact that they were too busy precluded the possibility of any kind of meaningful connection. It became quite obvious as I had the opportunity to get to know more women in the city that many have been deeply hurt. The stresses of living in the city make it that much more difficult for them to work through their fears, heal the hurts or tune in to their intuition.

Women that I encounter in other cities across the United States and countries in other parts of the world tend to be more open and engaging. I found women in Japan and China to be incredibly friendly and easy to talk with. Sri Lankan women often make eye contact and smile at me. India tends to be more conservative. A number of the women that I’ve approached while in India were initially standoffish, but would often let their guard down once they realized that I wasn’t a threat.

I’m intrigued by strong, intelligent and creative women. I’ll talk with any woman I encounter if I feel a sense of resonance. Many of the women that I’ve engaged with automatically assumed that I was romantically interested in them. It took a while for some of the women I met in India and Sri Lanka to get used to the fact that I was only interested in platonic friendship. A number of friendships have developed out of these connections.

Other women that I spent time with became very angry when I didn’t reciprocate their romantic interest. In some instances they completely stopped talking to me. Men and women who cut a person of the opposite gender off just because he or she doesn’t reciprocate their feelings are incredibly short sighted. Some of the women who didn’t reciprocate my love interest have turned out to be valuable friends. I have often realized sometime down the road that we were better off as friends anyway. Other relationships that had started out as friendships eventually led to romance. I’m also cognizant of the fact that my platonic girlfriends have friends that they can introduce me to.

South Asian societies have traditionally been very segregated. Men in much of India have very limited interaction with women outside of their own immediate families. The lack of normal healthy male to female interaction contributes to the misogynistic mindset, domestic and sexual violence, perversion and other forms of dysfunction that are so prevalent in present day Indian society. A large percentage of the Indian men that I’ve met have absolutely no sense of how to relate to women. Arranged marriages are still fairly common in this part of the world. Many of the single men and women I’ve gotten to know along the way were still waiting for their parents to select a life partner for them.

All men and women have both masculine and feminine attributes. Men who fail to develop their inner feminine are often lacking in sensitivity and that may prevent them from developing their capacity for compassion, empathy and intuition. Women who are not in touch with their inner masculine are less likely to develop the strength needed to fully assert themselves and stand on their own. Men who fail to develop their inner feminine and women who lack their inner masculine attributes are seriously out of balance. Spending time with friends of the opposite gender helps us to develop a healthy balance of internal masculine and feminine attributes.

Single men and women sometimes fall into a state of desperation in their search for love. Our state of desperation throws us way out of balance and that decreases our chances of finding the love that we truly need and desire.

I went through some very difficult periods of time when I wasn’t connecting with anyone on a romantic level. Having platonic girlfriends to spend time with made such a huge difference. Having these women in my life helped to alleviate the painful feelings of aloneness. The nurturance I received through our friendship helped to balance me energetically and emotionally. Having a grounded presence made it much easier for me to connect when I did meet someone that I truly resonated with.

There’s a huge disconnect between men and women. We’ve learned from a very early age to disconnect from our feelings and physical bodies and that causes us to shut down or disconnect from parts of ourselves. The disconnect between the genders is a reflection of how disconnected we have become from ourselves.

We have all heard the adage that says love is blind. Highly charged feelings and the accompanying projections experienced when we fall in love blind us in such a way that it that prevent us from seeing the object of our desire for who they truly are. Most of us have been hurt or taken advantage of somewhere along the way. We’ve become angry, frustrated, and fearful and feel suspicious of one other. Pain and trauma held within keeps us locked into a holding pattern that causes us to attract similar partners and reenact the same kinds of dramas.

We barely understand ourselves, let alone another human being. Men and women often feel as though they were relating to someone from a different species or another planet all together when they attempt to relate to a person from the opposite gender. Platonic friendships help to bridge the gender gap by creating a more neutral environment that can at times be more conducive for learning to relate to the other half of the human species. Being connected to people of the opposite gender will then begin to feel more like a normal and natural everyday occurrence.

Men often fall into the trap of getting hung up on a woman’s physical appearance and that prevents them from seeing a woman for who she truly is as an individual. Spending time with platonic women friends has helped me to get a better sense of the women I encounter along the way. I have a better sense of when a woman is being genuine. I can tell if she’s caring and compassionate, honest, sincere and if she comes from a place of integrity.

We all need to learn how to be a friend before we can ever become a good companion. My platonic girlfriends often open up to share what’s going on in their lives. I emphasize with their hurts, fears and disappointments. Gaining an understanding of what my friends have gone through in their lives and how they feel helps me avoid some of the pitfalls and mistakes that guys often make that damage relationships. It also helps me to develop the understanding and empathy that enables me to be a more caring and compassionate friend, romantic partner and possibly future husband.

©Copyright 2013 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. To learn more or to schedule a private session call (913) 927-4281