Thursday I was affected by a fire while doing my laundry. And while frustrated, it also made me grateful.
Lil’ Kim rapped about Money, Power, and Respect being the Key to Life. I think the key really is navigating through life’s paradoxes being only narrow-minded to the authenticity of our journey and not labelings for ourselves and others. Paradox, contrast, dichotomy, these things seem dissimilar but really are intrinsically connected, like a tapestry in our lives. Consider: when a cup of tea is stirred, the leaves are more in the center of the cup, even though the centrifugal force pushes the leaves outward. For one person to benefit, many have to change their behavior and may in fact not receive any benefit for that change. Black holes exist yet that goes against the belief information can’t be destroyed. Dolphins can swim at high speeds and yet have small muscle mass. Strength through weakness as it is referenced in the Bible. Opposite charges attract. And just for mental giggles, what if Pinocchio said his nose would grow? Would this have been a lie? Simply, paradoxes are seemingly contradictory ideas, statements or actions. I think because the awkward, unknown and uncomfortable is, well, uncomfortable we as humans take great strides in placing labels to define, to be comfortable. Almost like, “…you’re labeled, you’re figured out, I feel safe because you’re conquered. I can now move on.” We are not the same nor should we strive to be and when the natural dissonance resonates from our beautifully unique selves, instead of leaning into it to harmonize, for some it’s seen as a threat and the music of contrast and learning is halted by methods including berating and disqualifying. Tension, friction, these are things that are catalysts in bringing about beauty. Keats spoke of Truth Beauty, yet truth can at times feel harsh. My friends, life indeed is paradoxical.
For a long time, I thought I was cursed. While some people looked at me and saw beauty, I saw only problems and pain. Relationships I ran to, out of dysfunctional habits started to tighten around me like a vice, strangling that present knowledge and desire for comfort, with the shadows within whispering, “There has to be more. Hold out for more…” At some point, we must all do away with the pains, hurts, and problems passed onto us from others. The challenge though, if you don’t understand how those problems have affected you, that they exist or even how they’ve originated, how does one move forward? I think this is one of the key reasons we need to lean into things, not avoid them and have compassion for others. Maybe because I grew up with individuals who refused to address issues head on, that in turn birthed in me an all in attitude when I realize the problem and working towards solutions. I love swimming and noticed when people get in the water, they all have a different way of acclimating to the water temperature. Some put their toes in and then little by little the rest of their body follows. Me? I jump in, total submersion, instantly. I figure, let it shock me immediately and then the shock of it wears off allowing me to swim sooner. This “jump and all-in” attitude work for a lot of things. And sometimes, the dip a toe in approach has its merits. Ignoring the pool, thus problem for the sake of this metaphor does not help solve problems. Realizing we have to both be ready for action and at times, a slower approach, even stillness, is balance.
I love the freedom and relaxed nature of people during the Summer but hate being hot. And I love the coziness and layering of Winter but hate being extremely cold. Autumn is my favorite season, temperature and the boldness of color, and yet the leaves burst of beautiful color signals they are dying. I have been beautiful all along, despite issues and this isn’t specifically just outer appearances, but my whole countenance, even when I didn’t know it. It doesn’t mean I don’t have work to do on myself or be perfect now. We all have work to do, but realize answers and blessings come in so many ways, not only the way I want is so freeing! I don’t like to be placed in a box so shouldn’t my expectations for myself be broadened as well? My former mess and my healing journey are becoming my message. Work hard and have fun! And while not always polished, it is always beautiful. As are you.