We live in a world of opposites – thick lines that separate good and bad, beauty and ugly, clean and dirty, kind and cruel, love and hate etc., etc., dichotomies that divide us and keep us in our compartments and will not let others come out of their compartments.
It gives us great security in putting someone in their little pigeon hole and always looking at them through the lens that we have created the hole for them. Often it gives us satisfaction when we determine that someone is more broken than us.
We tend to place our worth entirely on our tangible achievements don’t we not? Do we consider the efforts that we make in this process? Do we acknowledge the struggles we go through? How whole do we feel in this process or how broken do we think we are?
So, what is the boundary line between ‘broken’ and ‘whole’? Why do we have a need to live in the black and white world of opposites? What stops us from living on the line where black and white start to blend and a grey hue emerges?
In our desires to fix ourselves and/or others, do we constantly blow out our flame of worth? Is it possible for us to live in a world that is free of ‘attack’ and ‘defense’?
I think the images we create for ourselves and others as ‘this’ or the ‘other’ is the source of the problem. It is time we recognized that we are not this ‘OR’ that, but we are this ‘AND’ that.
How difficult is it to live a life of ‘AND’ but not an ‘OR’? When we put aside our fear of disappointments whether with ourselves or with others, we start to see as Poet Mark Nepo says that “The essence of who we are is independent of the web of relationship we need.” Our essence does not depend on our image of ourselves nor on the image that others create of us. The essence is not broken or whole, it just is.
How can we live with that realization – with that constant reminder that we are whole no matter what the circumstances and others are trying to tell us, that we are not just a cumulative result of our achievements?
How can we connect to what is eternal in us, a flame that carries us through thick and thin, the essence of who we are? How can we go beyond the need to prove our worth to ourselves and to others, beyond the dichotomies that gives us false hope and security?
Drawing on Mark Nepo’s words again – “Honest living can shift our quest for worth, from inscribing ourselves in history to releasing what is eternal by living a life of care.”
How can we release what is eternal? How can we live a life of care? Mark Nepo says “if we could only give in to gravity just a little, we would cross our inner boundary of fear and discover the endless world of being, buoyant enough to carry us through.”
He offers us to consider Rilke’s poem “The Swan”
This clumsy living that moves lumbering
As if in ropes through what is not done
Reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.
And to die, which is a letting go
Of the ground we stand on and cling to every day,
Is like the swan when he nervously lets himself down
Into the water, which receives him gaily
And which flows joyfully under
And after him, wave after wave,
While the swan, unmoving and marvelously calm,
Is pleased to be carried, each minute more fully grown,
More like a king, composed, farther and farther on.
Can we die to our voice of inadequacy, the voice of opposites? Can we die to a life of ‘OR’ and live a life of ‘AND’?
Can we live like a swan floating in the currents of life’s waters? Can we embrace the world of dichotomies instead of living in thick demarcations? Can we see ‘whole’ instead of ‘broken’?
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time
With Love and Respect