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Center for Enlightened Leadership

The Importance of Balance: A 100-Day ExperimentóMentally, Physically, and Spiritually

  Bea Mah Holland

Bea Mah Holland
Founding Partner and Executive Coach

Despite being physically tired due to recent extensive travel, I’m feeling more in balance in my life that I ever have. I’m currently on the 83rd day of a 100-day Qi Gong program, which has the motivating aspect of returning you to Day One should you miss a day! Our instructor, Dr. MacNab, reports that three-quarters of the participants actually complete the full program but, due to the requirement that the 100 days be consecutive, many take two to three years to do so. I signed up for the 100-day program after a conversation with my primary care physician, when we explored ways for me to stay maximally healthy. She prescribed this program based on the profound benefits it had had for her other patients.

Early in the program, I realized that the 100-day structure could give me additional idiosyncratic benefits. Believing in the assumption that “structure drives behavior,” I decided to devote more attention to self-care in this delimited time period, beyond the obvious gains of the meditative and movement aspects of the program. I have given myself expanded permissions to take part in opportunities—travel, workshops, lectures—that I would previously have put off or ignored. I realize that I am indeed privileged in having the time and means to experiment with more conscious choices, knowing that I have access to more than my one-sixth-billionth of the earth’s resources.

My situation is that I am at the stage of life with grown children, my husband’s semi-retirement, and an increasing awareness of mortality due to serious health issues among my contemporaries. This has further heightened my appreciation for who I am and what I have, and encouraged me to make the most of it. These 100 days have invited me to be ruthlessly honest and make choices more congruent with my heart.

Mentally, I am using this time to read extensively and to attend lectures and workshops about the integration of East/West medicine, the nutritionist Walter Willet, the environmentalist Bill McKibben, and the director of the Centenarian Studies, Thomas Perls, among others.

Physically, in addition to the practice of Qi Gong, I am a Yoga student, and have a weekly personal training session. I have availed myself of nutritional counseling, vitamin and mineral analysis, and general education on diet and food sources. Recent renovations of our house—including a well-organized closet and a luxurious tub—have altered and contributed to a new balance and joy in my life.

Spiritually, in addition to Qi Gong, I am taking part in a movement and meditation program that extends over four weekends throughout the year. Participating at a program at Wellesley College, “Authoring Our Futures in an Unscripted Time,” has enabled me to further live the promises that I have made to myself. Our planned family travel to Egypt also integrates mind/body/spirit; I know that we’ll be mentally stimulated, physically enriched, and spiritually elevated through the unfamiliar contexts in which we’ll place ourselves, as well as our deepened familial bonds.

While far from perfect, I am pleased with making progress in developing balance in my life. I continue with the belief that because I am more conscious of the importance of balance and integration, my ability to serve others is enhanced. When I am taking care of myself and making choices healthy to me, there is an elevation in both the quality of my life and of those I touch.

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