I was inspired by what Cheryl Strayed wrote in her newsletter today, from Wyoming on a snowy May Day! (*Sigh* spring snow storms—glad to be done with that!). She writes:
“Every time I hear about something being more than one thing—which is a lot of times—I try to uncover the hidden layers and connections and discreet meanings among and between them…Writing has always felt that way to me—two seemingly opposite things. Agony and joy, every damn day. Like flowers and snow. Like May Day and mayday. Like the ship is going down and yet still we bloom.”May Day/mayday, Cheryl Strayed
Like Cheryl, I find that life keeps teaching me about these paradoxes—two things that shouldn’t go together but certainly do. Two things that should contradict each other, but both are true. It’s as if life keeps saying to me Yes, AND….
- Yes, I enjoy Disneyland AND it makes me anxious.
- Yes, I love playing cars with my 3-year-old on the floor AND it bores me to tears.
- Yes, I appreciate a clean, well-organized home AND my house is frequently a mess.
- Yes, writing liberates my soul AND somedays it’s an intense struggle to get anything on the page.
- Yes, dating in your mid-30s is excruciating AND it’s exhilarating.
- Yes, I want to take care of my body AND I eat junk food.
- Yes, I love and appreciate the religion I was raised in AND I can find my own way to live it.
- Yes, I have a body that grows cancerous tumors AND does a great job at almost everything else.
- Yes, I have a deep intention to do good AND some days I suck at it.
- Yes, I believe in and practice evidence-based medicine AND I believe there are things that science can’t explain or fix.
Joseph Campbell warns, “The pairs of opposites (being and not being, life and death, beauty and ugliness, good and evil and all he other polarities that bind the faculties to hope and fear, and link the organs of action to deeds of defense and acquisition) are the clashing rocks that crush the traveler but between which the heroes always pass,” (The Hero With A Thousand Faces, pg. 73)
Clashing rocks crush the traveler who can only see things in black and white. So be your own damn hero. Sail through the clashing rocks. Hold all the things. Namaste.