The best laid plans …

What do we do when our best laid plans go awry? I’m in the process of finding out. In the run-up to closing my psychotherapy practiced, I had a clear plan for how I would spend my time in “retirement.” I’ve had a taste of doing workshops in distant cities, and I wanted more of that. I would apply to conferences around the world, and several times a year present what I’d gleaned…

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Work/Life Imbalance, Part II

Step 2. Assess the Situation In two previous posts (here and here), I laid out the basic theory of the Art of Balance system. But theory is of no use without practice. This is the second of a series of posts that steps through the six stages of recovering and maintaining balance through the example of a common UnBalancer: Work/Life Imbalance Balancer takes a time out. To minimize further damage, Balancer stops what we’re doing…

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Work/Life Imbalance, Part I

In my last two posts, I laid out the basic theory of the Art of Balance system. But theory is of no use without practice. In the next several posts, let’s step through the six stages of recovering and maintaining balance through the example of a common UnBalancer. Work/Life Imbalance 1. Detect. Balancer notices when we’re starting to tip or have gone down for the count. Let’s say that recently, there’s been a…

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How to Triumph Over the Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune, Part II

In the last post, I talked about the six steps people go through as they work through a significant life issue: Detect, Assess, Plan, Restore, Integrate, Monitor/Maintain. Think of these steps as the plot of the Battle for Balance story, an epic struggle in the age-old tradition of the Hero’s Journey. Hero’s Journey stories, whether they are mythological epics like the Odyssey or contemporary ones like Star Wars, all have a similar structure.…

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How to Triumph Over the Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune

To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?  – Hamlet,  Act III, Scene I In my work with clients over the past two decades, I’ve learned a thing or three about how to help people “take arms” against whatever “sea of troubles”…

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Art of Balance Basic Training: Your Gift!

And now (drum roll) . . . The Art of Balance Basic Training course is live, and your enrollment in it is free! Thanks for hanging in with me, loyal readers. If you’ve watched the YouTube videos, you’ve already seen part of the course, but now you can get lifetime access at no cost. You can sign up here: Art of Balance Basic Training: Stay Sane in an Insane WorldArt of Balance Basic…

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What Brings You Here Today?

One of the classic questions therapists are taught to ask clients, when they show up for their first session, is “What brings you here today?” I’ve asked this question thousands of time over the course of my career, and not only during first sessions. This question is useful any time during the coaching or counseling process because it prompts people to check in with themselves and see how to use the session to…

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Videos: Follow Your Yellow Brick Road

In the previous posts, you’ve gotten a peek at of the scope of the Art of Balance courses, learned some of the basic theory, and had a chance to try out a couple of the Quick Wins. The next video in this sequence is actually a pair of videos. It’s a demonstration of one of the most useful questions I’ve learned as a therapist. It’s called the Miracle Question, and it goes like…

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Video: A Mini Lesson in Mini Self-Care

For most of us, the best place to start rebalancing is with what we already know. Whether UnBalancer has knocked us down with a sudden blow, worn us down with stress, or beaten us down with our demons, taking an inventory of tactics and activities that have helped us before, and then incorporating them back into our routine, is easier, quicker, and usually more efficient than learning entirely new strategies. “But how can…

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Video: What to Do When Things Fall Apart

You’ve met the “characters” in the Art of Balance system – your internal Balancer and ReBalancer. Now here’s how they work together when your life balance starts to tip in the wrong direction. For a quick guide to using the Art of Balance system to regain your equilibrium, click here or on the thumbnail below. See you in the next video – David Copyright 2021, David J. Bookbinder  Books: The Art of Balance: Staying…

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Video: The Cast of Characters, Part II

If UnBalancer is your nemesis, it is matched by two allies I call Balancer and ReBalancer. Balancer operates in the background and is the part of you that deals with ordinary and routine stress. It includes the skills you’ve learned and the habits you practice that keep your psychological and emotional immune systems running smoothly. Balancer keeps us sane and balanced most of the time, and for the most part holds UnBalancer at…

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Video: The Cast of Characters, Part I

The Art of Balance courses teach you how to manage stress, build resilience, and to restore and maintain life balance. But they also tell a story. You are the protagonist of this tale, an epic battle not only for balance but literally for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The villain in this story is the nefarious UnBalancer. UnBalancer is all the forces that can throw us off track, get us down,…

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Video: We’re Whole, But Also the Sum of Our Parts

This brief video introduces one of the two fundamental concepts of the Art of Balance System: the idea of “parts.” I’m sure that at some point in your life you’ve said something like, “A part of me feels this way, but another part feels that way.” That’s not just a figure of speech. Although we are all whole, integrated beings, we are also a collection of parts, and at any given time one part,…

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Video: A Three-Breath, One-Minute Meditation

Here’s a “Quick Win” from the upcoming course Art of Balance Basic Training A “Quick Win,” in online course lingo, is a self-contained bit of learning you can immediately benefit from, independent of the rest of the course. The Art of Balance courses intersperse related Quick Wins with the theory and strategies of the Art of Balance System. In this four-minute video lecture, you can learn to do a one-minute meditation I first…

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An Apology… and a Gift

Okay, first the apology. It’s been months since I last posted here, and I’m sorry about that. I thought I could juggle working as a therapist, posting regularly, and completing a large project (more on that in a minute), but I was wrong. As with physical juggling — where even the experts have been unable to teach me to keep three balls in the air — I can juggle only two major activities…

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TL;DR: Do’s and Don’ts for Navigating a Global Crisis

I’ve been working on a detailed article about how the Art of Balance system applies to the current global crisis, and how to use it to navigate your way back to balance. In the meantime, I’ve also been keeping track of what’s been helping my clients, neighbors, friends, and family members — and also what hasn’t been so helpful. So, without further ado, I bring you this list of Pandemic Do’s and Don’ts.…

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White and Orange Daffodil I

How do Buddhists deal with the pandemic?

Much of what I’ve learned — and teach — about life balance comes from what I’ve gleaned from Buddhist teachers. In one of the magazines I subscribe to, Lion’s Roar, I  came upon this collection of recent teachings on dealing with the pandemic. If you’re already familiar with Buddhism, much of this will be familiar, too. If not, I hope you’ll find it helpful, both for its immediate content and as an introduction to…

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The Art of Balance in a Global Crisis: Part I, Origins

The scenario: UnBalancer sweeps the globe. It begins in the wild, unbalancing a tiny creature that’s captured, taken to a live market in China, and slaughtered. From one vendor’s cart, it scurries around the market, dividing rapidly, like tiny UnBalancer rats and fleas. Buyers, unaware, take it home and UnBalancer enslaves them to its will. Swiftly and relentlessly, UnBalancer spreads. Throughout the world it appears, emulating scenes from scary movies and silly pop…

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The Cast of Characters: UnBalancer

What makes things go out of balance? Things get unbalanced when there’s a design flaw, when something breaks, or when unequal forces press on an object. Imbalance usually gets worse over time, gradually compromising the whole structure. An unbalanced tire rattles the car. A leak in a roof leads to a ceiling falling in. When winds vibrated the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington state, the whole structure danced briefly and then catastrophically collapsed.…

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Balanced, UnBalanced, and the World’s Shortest Play

We’re whole people, but we’re also a collection of parts. When we say, “A part of me feels this way, and another part feels that way,” it’s not just a metaphor. Here’s another free installment from my forthcoming course, Mastering the Art of Balance: Stay Sane in an Insane World.  In this video, you’ll see how the three parts that are at the heart of the Art of Balance system – Balancer, UnBalancer, and…

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