One of my clients, “Doug”, is a thirty year-old unmarried police officer. Doug is an only child from a small family. His primary pastime is physical exercise, and he has no hobbies, no close friends, and has very little contact with his dad, who lives far away.
At the age of twenty, Doug moved out of his mom’s house to be on his own; since then he has lived the life of a carefree bachelor, rolling through a revolving door of girlfriends, all of whom he cheated on.
Doug came to see me because his long-term girlfriend had recently left him, after she discovered he’d been unfaithful. He feels terribly sad, ashamed and guilty. He wants to get her back, but he has no idea how to go about it. To make matters worse, his ex-girlfriend, having heard of his previous escapades in relationships, is very unlikely to give him a second chance.
Now, Doug is not completely bad; he is a good-hearted person and possesses many fine qualities. He works hard, takes his profession seriously, and genuinely desires to help people. However, apart from his immaturity, one of his major problems is that his life is severely unbalanced.
In an effort to illustrate this, I shared one little factoid from the history of the Japanese samurai. The samurai were hired soldiers and assassins, members of the warrior class, who were dedicated to protecting their leaders. Unlike soldiers from many other cultures, their code of honor led them to live a balanced life in harmony with nature, combining spiritual pursuits and artistic disciplines with physical conditioning.
Their guiding principles required them to develop full control of mind and body. Even today, these same principles govern the various martial arts. In order to obtain such a high degree of self-control, samurai took part and became expert in fine arts, such as poetry, painting and pottery. An interesting contrast. One day, the samurai may assassinate someone; and the next day, sit quietly, painting a picture or writing a poem.
As we talked, Doug mentioned that in the past he had been interested in one particular art, and hadn’t done it in years – but he’d like to get back to it. The more we talked, the more ideas we came up with. Ideas about balancing his high-testosterone lifestyle with an activity that would focus his attention on beauty and peace. As we talked, his mood visibly lightened up, and it seemed he was on to something.
Doug’s story is not unusual. So many of us get caught up in a routine that blinds us to the many possibilities we could explore. We lose perspective and don’t see that our lives are out of balance. If this article stirs up something in you, and you’d like to get together to talk about it, please feel free to call 219-309-3928 for a no-cost consultation. I’d be honored to be of service.
Thanks for reading!