I never cease to be amazed at how we are always moving toward ourselves. How can we be “moving toward ourselves”, you might ask. Aren’t we already us? Yes, of course, and I believe, No, absolutely not. In Christian terms, one could say that the journey is becoming more like Christ. Does that make more sense? My point this morning is not to have a theological discussion, but rather to comment on the journey and how so many seemingly small things begin to come together and, if we are paying attention, there comes a point in time when they begin to converge and we can see the larger picture. It is kind of like taking varying pieces of paper in collage work and while the individual scraps don’t look like anything significant, when you stand back and behold a larger more significant image has been constructed out of the scraps.
Take for example the tiny scrap of a word, “but”. For me it has become a significant part of how I choose to articulate myself (more accurately it is the absence of those three little letters--b-u-t--from my vocabulary.) Several years ago my family was participating in some group work and the facilitator suggested that often when we use the word ‘but’, it seemingly negates everything that comes before it. For example, "I love you, BUT you really make me mad." The receiver of those words very likely only hears the second part. What if, however, you were to say, I love you AND you really make me mad? It’s both! See?
My next progression in this particular awakening came when I was in graduate school and I was introduced to the concept of both/and. It took awhile to sink in that this was in contrast with either/or. By working on my personal issues and having the privilege of facilitating dozens of people through their own work, I have been astounded by how ingrained we are with being good or bad and right or wrong. This way of thinking often clouds things so much that we simply can’t see what IS. Does it have to be one or the other? Perhaps it is neither and perhaps it is both. Usually it just IS.
For the purposes of this discussion , I refer back to my recent post which speaks of my paradoxical nature. ("I know God and God knows me AND I must continue to press on to see who God is and who I am.") Which leads me back to where I started here with the amazement at always moving toward ourselves. It’s the journey. Can you see it?
For quite some time now I have been drawn to the concept of paradox. Such as, how can I KNOW God and still be searching to find out who God is? It is both/and…that’s how ☺. So, a couple of weeks ago when I was at my birth chart reading and near the end, the astrologer said, “It is a good chart. It is a hard chart. Everything is BOTH.” I had to smile and say, “Of course” for in that moment I got to understand my personal journey just a bit more clearly. To me it brought more light onto my aversion to using the word “but”, my being drawn to the concept of “both/and” and my continued fascination and need to live with the idea of paradox. My life is good. It is hard. It is both!
Now the cool thing for me is that while I knew all of these ponderings have been stirring around inside me, it was through two comments on my last entry that today's post came into existence.
Tess wrote, “What really struck me about this post was your use of the word AND. "...fully engaged... AND I cherish my solitude." You didn't use the word 'but'... Perhaps part of your work is to continue showing others by your example that deep and enduring balance in life is a creative thing.”
And from Maureen: “entirely 'unique to you' words and thoughts AND words that speak to the searching longing discovering journey of so many of us...given that God desires us to know ourselves that we might know God i clap my hands loudly celebrating your questions and the answers you seek..i want to know more”
I was struck by Tess’ encouragement to share the example of “deep and enduring balance”. I must admit that terrifies me just a bit, AND something about it resonated deeply with my paradoxical nature ☺. We’ll see what happens. Also, Maureen’s connection to the journey and questions invites me to “want to know more” and share more.
So, what do you think? But? Both/and? Paradox? Moving toward ourselves? The floor is open...
lucy's chicks from the bermuda botanical gardens 6.08