Balance in all Things

Balance in all Things

With the new year just begun, I thought it might be timely to revisit a short post that originally appeared in Spiritual Wisdom Magazine back in August 2013.  What better time to start ensuring you have enough balance between the things in your life than now?

About 20 years ago when I studied Nursing one of the first definitions we learnt was “homeostasis”: the tendency of a system, especially the physiological system of higher animals, to maintain internal stability, owing to the coordinated response of its parts to any situation or stimulus that would tend to disturb its normal condition or function.

We were taught that this is what the human body always strives for, and as nurses it was our duty to facilitate that.  Even more so, it was important not just to facilitate a physical tendency towards balance but also to do our best to help facilitate mental, spiritual and emotional homeostasis as well.




I never ended up qualifying as a registered nurse – my daughter needed me more than nursing did, but that definition is something that has always stayed with me because it spoke to my inner core as truth.  In my past I’ve spent a lot of time managing medical practices for various doctors – every type of medical practitioner from GP’s to Neurologists to Cardiologists to Hepatobiliary Surgeons.  This means that I’ve spent a lot of time talking to and providing support for all sorts of people – many of whom have had life threatening health issues to come to terms with.

I’ve seen people who were incredibly sick leave whether they survived or not to “chance”, “the whim of the Gods”, or some other force that they believed in and they survived in spite of any other treatment.  I’ve seen people who have had every known treatment available, including medical trials that were experimental and still lost their fight against whatever medical problem plagued them.  I’ve seen people express their wish to have time to try alternative medicine and more healthy living before coming back for major surgery which was unsuccessful and others who have triumphed using the same approach.

I’ve also run my own Hypnotherapy practice which included the provision of prenatal HypnoBirthing classes.  The same sort of principles applied – those who came to me and were doing everything they possibly could for a gentle, relaxing, fear-free homebirth sometimes had the toughest of times, while those who came absolutely terrified at the thought of labour had the easiest and calmest of births.

I guess what I’ve learnt from all of this is that sometimes, that in spite of living the purest life you possibly can, exercising and eating right and practising mindfulness, meditation and other life-promoting modalities doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll successfully stave off a severe health problem.  Of course it stacks the odds in your favour, but there’s never any guarantee.  How then, do we get through such a thing?

 “Homeostasis: the tendency of a system, especially the physiological system of higher animals, to maintain internal stability, owing to the coordinated response of its parts to any situation or stimulus that would tend to disturb its normal condition or function. “

Attempting to restore balance and live as healthfully as you can may well assist longevity and remaining healthy for as long as possible, but in the long run it may be more about striking a balance in terms of your approach to life – whether it’s doing the usual day-to-day stuff when you’re perfectly fit and healthy but making sure you include time for play and spending time with those you love, or whether it’s weighing up quality of life compared to mere existence while being pumped full of drugs and waiting for the inevitable.  What might matter more in the long run, however is how well we can maintain attitudinal homeostasis.  Today, find time to check the balance in your life and tweak anything which is preventing you from achieving it – physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.  The quality of your life depends on it.

First seen in Spiritual Wisdom Magazine August 2013 - Reprinted with Permission


  1. Shan, this is wonderful! And such a great way to start a new year, as you said.

    I recently had a neuro-muscular therapy treatment that re-balanced me. The funny thing is, we can normalise an unblanaced state so easily over time that sometimes until you’re re-balanced, you don’t know you were out of whack! That’s what happened after my treatment – I felt the balance return, and realised I had been living with the ‘distortion’ in my skeletal system so that I had made small changes to accommodate it over a number of years. Then perhaps health problems would have risen based on the changes and accommodations without my even being aware that all I sought was balance. Hah. So, being out of balance is one very loud way our body/mind/spirit lets us know what it wants – a return to homeostasis. 🙂

  2. I love this post, what a great reminder for the need for balance, on all levels, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. It is so easy to get caught up in just keeping one part of the whole in balance .. love the definition of homeostasis too, great informative post x

  3. Shan, Oh thanks for sharing this one. I completely get it, the balance I can achieve in my attitude is just as important (if not more so) than the balance I rock with my physical health. Oh yes, it’s always true, isn’t it, that it’s the physical, the emotional, the mental and spiritual? Hooray for supporting each other in this many-faceted journey!

    Love and appreciation for you!

  4. Thank you Shan.
    I opened True Balance International in 2006 to teach exactly what I needed to learn! Work-Life-Balance. Over the years I’ve learned that this treasured balance is the dance of life. A loyal dance of communion with our mind, body and soul. Blessings to you! – Shann

  5. Hi Shan,

    I, too, often look at the world and life through the homeostasis lens. This most strongly came to me while working with children with “behavioral challenges” (which could be viewed as dramatic efforts to move to homeostasis). It seems that there is a movement afoot to ditch the conventional view of balance – e.g., work/life balance – and incorporate other dimensions like play and joy. Kudos for being a part of that!

  6. Thank you Shan,
    loved your insight on the balance we all strive for. Appreciating and always adjusting what is and what isn’t working for us. Love, Alenka

  7. Jenny, you are SO right! I think it’s like that with everything. Stuff happens so gradually that you don’t realise you’re out of whack physically, mentally, spiritually. Then one day you wake up and wonder why you’re so achey, your scales give you a fright or you feel isolated and cut off from your self belief or your spiritual practices don’t seem to mean as much as they used to. I’m not sure who first coined the definition of entropy as order tending to degenerate into disorder, but it kind of feels like that to me when I’m unbalanced – one thing affects the other, particularly in terms of mindset.

    Glad your neuromuscular therapy was helpful. Thank you for your thoughts xx

  8. Heather and Sue, it truly is balance in all things, isn’t it? I tend to be pretty good in terms of the mental, emotional, spiritual stuff. It’s the physical side that I find challenging. I’m fortunate in that my health is great, but I spend way too long in front of the computer with not enough movement and as I get older my body really feels it, so 2014 is the year of movement for me. So far I’m rocking it and loving the consequences. May you both feel balance in all that you do xxx

  9. Shann, I love your comment about opening True Balance International in order to teach what you had to learn. It’s the same with everything in this life, isn’t it? More and more I’ve come to realise that the stuff I put out to others is the stuff I need to work on most myself. There’s such joy in travelling the path together! What a beautiful idea – to devote your life’s work to the dance of balance – I love how you word it. Thank you for commenting xx

  10. Crystal, I love the concept of viewing behavioural challenges as a dramatic move to homeostasis. It’s a vital thing to keep in mind when communicating with others who behave “differently” that we all just want the same thing – some of us are more equipped than others to get our needs met in a more socially acceptable manner. Play and joy have been neglected for far too long and loving one’s whole life, including work is vital to feeling fulfilled and happy. Obviously I’m preaching to the converted though. Thank you for the kudos, but also for your thoughts. I love it when people comment – it sparks of at least 50,000 other tangents to go off on! xx

  11. Alenka, thank you for your comment. It’s definitely a constant adjusting of everything for balance, isn’t it? A lot of fun when it’s working though 🙂

  12. This is a lovely reminder, Shan. Too often, we see things as individual, isolated symptoms. Being able to zoom out and see ourselves in terms of how we are flowing in our bodies, in our relationships, and in the world as a whole – this is true self-awareness. Such a discovery can yield some surprising results.

    I don’t think we must achieve homeostasis. I think it already achieves itself. Everything we do has a reaction. We CAN control what that reaction is.

    For example, I’ve found that my back hurts when I suppress my anger – a link I never would have thought to make. And why does the knot grow? It’s my body trying to balance itself! So it balances by growing a knot to make up for unexpressed emotion.

    There are so many things like this that still shock me. Since my spiritual awakening, I have become sick only once, with meningitis. I got sick when I relapsed into old patterns of thought. In the hospital, I learned my lesson for good. I’ve never even had a cold since.

    I seem to have written you a novel. If you’re still reading, thank you for the wonderful post. If you’re not, thank you anyway 😉

  13. Exactly Vironika – that was the point of my article. The body strives to maintain homeostasis naturally. We can enhance that tendency by making sure we choose how we react to stimuli in our environment.

    Isn’t it interesting how our approaches to life manifest as symptoms in the body? It shouldn’t really be surprising, I suppose. No one gives a second thought to being on the receiving end of a headache when subjected to a whole heap of stress, but a lot of people don’t believe in other emotions and attitudes resulting in physical manifestation.

    Thank you for your most welcome thoughts. I thoroughly enjoyed reading them 🙂

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