“Only the paradox comes anywhere near to comprehending the fullness of life.” -Carl Jung
I heard this quote while listening to yet another one of Brene Brown’s incredible books, “Braving the Wilderness.” I’ve been a huge fan of her work for a long time, and I must say, she hit another one right out of the park. Listen to it. Read it. Well worth your time.
My blog turns 2 years old today! I’ve focused on a few different themes since day one. “Just start” was my very first post. Last year I wanted to keep showing up for myself. This calendar year, I’m concentrating on simplicity and exploration. As this decade (!!!) draws to a close and as yet another year quickly approaches, I’ve reflected on what I want my next focus to be. And I decided: balance.
The older I get, the more I’m starting to realize that humans are capable of both complexity and simplicity. We can feel multiple emotions simultaneously. We can see different trains of thought and believe that varying ideas can all be valid. We don’t necessarily have to choose. One of the most impactful lessons I learned during a weekend with Mari Andrew at 1440 Multiversity was that when we reach a paradox, we reach the truth.
I want to share the following examples of combinations of feelings I’ve experienced. I previously would “should” myself into choosing one end of the spectrum, but I have since accepted that it is okay to feel a mixed bag of seemingly opposite emotions at the same time. The more honest I am with myself, the more I recognize that my truth often does show up in a dual/mixed/dynamic nature.
- Ease and effort. The harder I work, the easier my life becomes. The easier my life becomes, the less effort I need to exert to maintain my life.
- Energized and exhausted. I’m passionate about a lot of things, so I spend quite a bit of time and money on different hobbies. I very often catch myself feeling both energized and exhausted at the same time. It’s very confusing for my body!
- Joy and jealousy. How many times have you texted/commented/said, “I’m so happy for you!!!,” and also felt the tender ache of jealousy? I genuinely feel thrilled for my friends and deeply share in their joy when they share big and good news with me. I used to “should” myself for also feeling jealous, but I’ve accepted that this is okay. It just indicates that I value what they have, I support them in their journey, and I eagerly await the day that I get to experience my own version of that event in my life.
- Lonely and liberated. Being single has infinite pros and cons, and I’ve gotten to see both in this last… wow, 1.5 years! I love getting to do whatever I want, whenever I want, for as long/short as I want, without having to consider anyone else. I have become my own best friend/love of my life and I thoroughly enjoy my own company. And yet, it can admittedly get lonely flying solo. I used to feel like I had to choose one or the other in my approach to being single, but have now accepted that I am allowed to feel both. Liberating independence and lonesome solitude… two sides, same beautiful coin.
- Nervous and excited. (Couldn’t keep up the alliteration with this one, LOL.) This delicious concoction always signifies that I am stretching my comfort zone and mindfully growing myself. To be completely honest, I feel a little nervous as I head into the final cut of tryouts for my local search and rescue team. I also feel grateful for the opportunity, unsure of what exactly duty will ask of me, and VERY excited to see it all unfold. Talk about yummy butterflies in my stomach!!!
- Desire and gratitude. This is probably the most challenging combination for me. I have strong and hopeful desires about my future; I trust that they are making themselves apparent in due time. I also feel immense gratitude for my past/present, and that I have the capacity to imagine and dream about my future. Patience while waiting is a virtue, and one in which I have much room to improve.
The thing about balance is that you don’t notice it when you are aligned, but your body quickly recognizes and responds the moment you become off balance. Riding a bike, skateboarding, and backpacking have all required my balance. I’m always fascinated and amazed at my body when I become slightly off balance: my eyes widen immediately, my heart starts racing just enough to notice, and my muscles swiftly adjust to get me back on track. Physical balance is incredible. Emotional balance is equally important and just as, if not more, magical.
In all those activities I enjoy, it is easier to stay balanced when in motion, rather than when standing still. I’m realizing that movement is a key to life and emotional balance: don’t let yourself stay stuck in one emotion. Don’t allow yourself to become stagnant, immobile, inflexible. Dance with life. Play with life. Let life and emotion flow through you. Move gracefully, and you will keep finding your new balance.