Honoring Your Whole Self

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~ by Sherry Jean Olander, licensed DEI Trainer & Consultant ~

If you are like most people, you may never have heard of Elemental Balance theory. You’re probably familiar with the concept of balance, but perhaps have only related it to your life in terms of work-life balance or balancing your checkbook! You may feel like balance is something you’re supposed to have – but what exactly is it, and how do you get it? The theory of Elemental Balance gives you a unique way to bring balance to your whole self as you observe and honor your body, mind, emotions, and spirit equally.

In my upcoming online workshop, you will get an introduction to this theory presented in a clear and useful way. Each week we will meet for one hour in a live video discussion where you can ask questions and participate in exercises to help expand your understanding of this theory and your self.

Here are some commonly asked questions:

When are the video meetings?

I wait to set the time for the live meeting until enough folks have signed up for the course. Then we schedule a time that works for everyone. All of these meetings are recorded for folks to watch later, as well.

How much time is required each week?

This course is designed for self-learning; there is no grading, so you can approach the material in whatever way works for you. In addition to the one-hour video meeting, there is curriculum to read and questions at the end of each unit to write about in the forum, if you like, as well as some suggested practices to help you work with each of your elements during the week. You can spend as little or as much time as you like. On average I’d say 3-5 hours a week is a good amount to allot.

What topics are covered?

The course is divided into six sections with two units each. Each unit has about a page of curriculum, some suggested practices and questions for your journal or the forum, and/or pdf handouts and worksheets. Here is a list of the units and a brief description:

  • Course Overview – How to navigate at Empathy Academy and suggested pace
  • Your Elemental Balance – What is Elemental Theory and a self-assessment quiz
  • Intelligence Redefined – Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.
  • Honoring Intellect – The Air element and exercises
  • Befriending Body – The Earth element and exercises
  • Practices – Further practices to engage with the Earth element
  • Welcoming Emotions – 4 Keys to Emotional Genius
  • The Four Families – Angers, Happinesses, Sadnesses, and Fears.
  • Visionary Spirit – The Fire element and exercises
  • Revisiting Your Elemental Balance – Reviewing and integrating
  • The Fifth Element – The synergy of the elements working together
  • Journey’s End – Check in and resources
Are there textbooks or required reading?

There are no required readings, although much of the information in the course comes from Karla McLaren’s work and her books: The Language of Emotions and Art of Empathy.

I also take information from the books 
The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson
 and Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner.

Elemental Balance Online teaches you to look at your whole self in a different way. By focusing, in turn, on your mind, body, emotions, and spirit, you can start to see sources of wisdom and value that you may never have acknowledged before. By learning to welcome all four elements of your humanity you can come to balance and honor your whole self.

Visit Empathy Academy for more information or to register!


Sherry J. Olander is a licensed DEI trainer and consultant. She believes that empathically honoring each person’s unique emotional experience of life is essential to helping them through their journey. Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Sherry offers trainings and consultations both locally and online.

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