the water we swim in

Recently, I was talking with a very dear and trusted friend and fellow coach about the inherent challenge in learning to hold two seemingly opposite sets of feelings about the same thing, person, situation or experience. Her response immediately provided a broader context for my growing awareness. She said, “It’s the water we swim in, right?” We are not necessarily shown that the “both and” is an ok place to be with anything. In fact, we are taught that the “either or” is the way forward.

After a brief pause, I realized just how profound her response was. Here we are, in this crazy time in our human history, seeking to find a way forward that is peaceful, loving and mutually supportive of all…and holding opposite feelings or perspectives is generally not what we are taught to realize as normal. Somehow we learn that we have to choose one feeling or the other feeling…as if the two, on balance cannot truly co-exist. Perhaps this isn’t as true for you as it has been for me…for my whole life! And perhaps it is also true that our collective reluctance to hear or see those who are different or hold different beliefs than we do may be rooted in this “either or” culture we live in and unconsciously perpetuate.

Full disclosure…my sun sign is Libra and I have a Libra stellium (Sun, Jupiter and Mars) in the 12th house. Yep…a LOT of Libra!! So, my tendency to live the extremes is well entrenched. Throwing the “baby out with the bath water” isn’t an uncommon way to describe the ways I can be extreme in my behavior and choices. Learning to moderate this part of my being –  slowing down or completely standing down, when I feel that overwhelming need to move quickly in one direction – has been an interesting process over these years. Many believe that we Librans are balanced by nature. Nope! We are learning balance!

“What is behind your eyes holds more power than what is in front of them.”

– Gary Zukav

What I have found to be true with my habit of believing that I must choose one feeling or perspective over the other is that I begin to tell myself a story about my present situation or growing dilemma. It’s as if I force myself to choose one side of the apparent dilemma and create a story that is supposed to make the choice alright. Except it no longer works for me. I have begun to see and feel the discomfort and outright suffering that I have created for myself all of these years.

“Men are disturbed not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen.”

– Epictetus

If none of this is making sense, here is an example.

About a year ago, I relocated back to a place I left in 2016. I left rather quickly after the sale of my home. I had always wished to return and it took more than two years and an evacuation for a hurricane to facilitate my return. I had a home built. It was ready in four months. When I moved in, there were multiple issues which were completely unexpected – one was potentially life threatening. I was so grateful to be back in Virginia and I did NOT like my new home. I tried. I really tried to fall in love with it. It wasn’t happening. For months, I attempted to convince myself that it was fine. After all I was back in the place I wished to live and I further told myself I just needed to get over it. That wasn’t happening either. Late in the afternoon one day last Fall, I admitted out loud – I heard myself say it – that I was so very happy to be back here and the house just wasn’t where I wished to live. In that moment, I realized how the creation of a story had trapped me –  in a place within – in which I was miserable. More importantly, I became aware of the reality of choosing one side or the other side of a dilemma (“either or” thinking), over the realization that both can be true and can co-exist (“both and” perspective). Since that moment, I’ve opened my heart and mind to the possibility of moving again as soon as the right place become available or apparent.

A weight was lifted in that moment, too. A weight that I had placed on myself (and was quite good at doing for many, many years) was no longer there…and I lifted it myself!

The water we swim in can be dark and murky or it can be clearer and easier to navigate. As I have said many times, perspective is everything.

“The moment you change your perception, is the moment you rewrite the chemistry of your body.”

– Dr. Bruce H. Lipton

14 Comments on “the water we swim in

  1. Love this❣️ I am listening to Michael Singer’s Sounds True course – Living from a Place of Surrender. (Free with the Audible app)
    He churns things up as a way to get real in a scientific and straightforward way!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Val. I loved both of Singer’s books, and I saw a video some time ago introducing his Sounds True Course. He’s had quite the journey and I have really enjoyed him over the years. Much of what he shares is eye opening, for sure!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Your blog strikes as a bit different than others I read. You have seemed to put a lot of thought in your website design with some intriguing home page subtitles like “Drops of Wisdom”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for stopping by, and offering your kind comment and observation. I wish for this to be a place that visitors feel that it is accessible, warm and supportive.

      Like

  3. What beautiful insight, my friend. The idea that two concepts can coexist and that we can find common ground, at least in the moment, is huge. I believe it allows us more easily to pivot another way should circumstance dictate it. Beautifully said here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Eli. It’s not always easy…or readily apparent that two seeming opposites can be held together. It’s a powerful realization that we absolutely can be in that space rather than choosing one side or the other.

      Like

    • Hello James! I appreciate your comment. I have always been an optimist, even when things were tough in the exterior world. My interior world had been my greater challenge. What I know today is that people can and often do, find healing for themselves. I am gratefully one of those…and it is a process, never a completed task.

      Like

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