August 8, 2013

Places of Rich Tension

My friend Ronan recently shared an interesting life tension: freedom in knowing she can switch jobs versus distraction in searching for the next best thing. Life is filled with rich tensions. The specifics are different for each of us, but the tension is the same--it's a fine line to walk, leaning heavily in either direction takes us off course. Really, it's a place to pay attention. Inevitably we'll lean and fall. But if we're aware, we get up and start again. We need the tension to keep us on the path--that's what keeps life interesting. So it's rich; it's juicy. Yet if we're not mindful, we can lose ourselves.

Ronan's observation intrigued me. It prompted me to see rich tensions in my life:
Wanting to help versus wanting to control;
Connecting with others versus feeling over-stimulated;
Creative flow versus get-this-all-done-now;
Discipline versus rigidity;
Feeling difficult emotions versus distraction from these emotions;
Long-term goals versus short-term results;
Giving to others versus regular self-care.

I use the word "versus," yet I'm not sure that's appropriate. Sometimes there's a direct conflict, but mostly there's a grayness. These things exist together. The tension between them makes the journey interesting. And the back-and-forth keeps me fresh. The richness comes from viewing the transition. When does my creative flow morph into get-things-done mode? If I can catch this (even once it's too late), then I can make a change. And I've learned something important. The more I notice, the more I walk the middle path.

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