Paradoxes and Polarities

Moonset, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, Loveland, CO January 2020.
Photo by Karen Cornell, DVM, PhD, DACVS

NaBloPoMo 2020 – Today’s Lesson

The last NaBlo of 2020, hallelujah!  I do this for myself, but the views, likes, and comments are rewarding—so thank you all!

Every cloud has a silver lining; every light casts a shadow.

What paradoxes did you experience in 2020?  Here are mine:

  • Unearned vacation
  • Survivor’s guilt
  • Loss of control/autonomy of schedule
  • Loss of social activities/tightening of social bonds
  • Attention toward global humanitarian issues/Focus on intimate relationships
  • Disruption of usual routines/Return to fundamental patterns
  • Things are so bad/So much potential for good

Now some polarities I managed… What were yours?

  • Fear/Acceptance?  Curiosity?  Courage?
  • Self-care/Care for others
  • Doom scroll/Tune it all out
  • There’s nothing I can do, not my problem/I must do everything I can to help, it’s all up to me
  • I belong to this tribe/I reject this tribe
  • Think it through/Take action
  • Burn down the Patriarchy NOW/Culture change happens slowly
  • Intrinsic calling/Extrinsic conformity
  • I’m Awesome!/I will never be good enough
  • Inner peace/Outrage
  • Make sweeping delcarations/Qualify every statement

Wow.  That’s kind of a lot, and pretty complex.  And yet it’s so simple, so Zen

Life is an exercise in holding space—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally—for all that feels like contradiction.  We are here to reconcile it all, to dig it up in order to smooth it out, to make peace in the morass, to turn manure into fertilizer.  The flexibility to hold mutually divergent ideas at the same time, and to move fluidly from one pole to its opposite and back again in dynamic balance—this is my most valuable lesson from this year.

In April I wrote about the best thing that could happen from this pandemic:  Connection.  It’s already happening, and I’m so grateful.  I’m also inspired, empowered, and ambitious for more. 

Can’t wait for 2021.

Do What You Can

NaBloPoMo 2020 – Today’s Lesson

I thank my friend for re-introducing me to Dax Shepard’s podcast, Armchair Expert.  He conducts long form interviews with people who dig into important topics, but with some lightheartednesss. 

Jon Bon Jovi appeared on Episode 251 this fall. I’m reminded why I so admire this pop culture icon, philanthropist, and all around good human. From 44:24 they discuss his new album, 2020. As a rock star also known for his strong give-back ethos, he discusses the risk he takes by making a topical album in a year of remarkable political turmoil. He describes his perspective as a witness to history with an opinion, but without taking sides. He addresses gun violence from the perspective of how it feels for those affected, without stepping in the fray of “guns are bad” or “they’re coming for our guns.” He acknowledges the reality of white privilege, without shaming anyone for it. He recognizes how simply trying to open a conversation may alienate some. He owns his positions and convictions, and earnestly invites discourse from any other perspective. This is what I admire and aspire to myself—to engage by coming alongside rather than coming at.

Do What You Can” is my new favorite rock anthem.  It’s an uplifting balm for all we’re going through, and reminds us that we can be okay, if we stick together: 

Although I’ll keep my social distance
What this world needs is a hug
Until we find the vaccination
There’s no substitute for love
So love yourself and love your family
Love your neighbor and your friend
Ain’t it time we loved the stranger
They’re just a friend you ain’t met yet

What risks are we each willing to take, to make our world better?

Energy, Pheromones, and Grief

NaBloPoMo 2020 —  Today’s Lesson

Whoa Nellie, this week kinda crushed me.  Thank goodness for weekends—time to slow down, take a breath, and recharge.

I have a theory about Zoom fatigue; wondering if it resonates with anyone?  Maybe someone has some physical evidence to share?  It’s about quantum energy and our olfactory senses.

I actually really love Zoom.  After years of running webinars, I’m used to inhabiting a little box next to a PowerPoint, and I love seeing family, friends and colleagues from all across the country and around the world, all at the same time.  And all the better if we’re learning or communing around core values and shared goals!  With good internet we get real time visual and audio cues, and even see bits of each other’s natural habitats.  So what’s missing feels less concrete, harder to describe.

A couple friends and I posit that it’s something around energy.  A resonance ensues when people gather, negotiated in the quantum space, intangible yet palpable.  In harmonic physical presence we find ourselves synergistically lifted, nourished, and bonded.  I think pheromones must also play a role.  We fancy ourselves so evolved, but our primitive brains still drive us, or at least have a hand on the wheel.  When we cannot connect by vibe and smell, I bet we lose more than we know—and it hurts.

I have no evidence for these claims, and it doesn’t really matter if I’m right.  I think we’re all feeling the disconnect more intensely now, eight months into an indefinite and now worsening pandemic. It helps to acknowledge the sadness, the grief.  

I understand why so many plan to gather for the holidays.  Maybe it’s an impossible balance.  I wonder what we’ll regret most in the end?