Supporting Harmony in Relationships by Alexandra Johnson

At a recent gathering, two guests began a conversation that created a palpable tension in the room. I was asked what I thought, and saw the pull to present my opinion to the group. Then I remembered the principle of Firmness and Gentleness. If I spoke without forethought, there was the possibility of erring on the side of too much Firmness, increasing the polarization. If I stayed passive, the dialogue could likewise continue to be increasingly reactive. I placed my hand on the shoulder of one of my kids, who was standing next to me. I wished to have Firmness and Gentleness in my touch.

As I leaned, the interest in staying with both qualities brought me to the body. With body-mind connection, I looked at each person in the room. I saw that inherently, we all wanted the same thing—clarity, connection, and greater harmony. Rather than stating my opinion, I asked a few questions that I hoped would illustrate that we were all, actually, on the same page. I wished for my words, like my touch, to also have the quality of Firmness and Gentleness. This had a harmonizing effect on my body, mind and, feelings, and the conversation shifted from divisiveness to examining common goals.

Alexandra Johnson, MD, is an international instructor at the Breema Center. She has a private integrative medical practice at Greeting Health in Oakland, California. For more information about Alexandra’s upcoming classes visit

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