Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Shades of Grey

If you read a lot of articles on the internet, you will know that often there comes up an opinion about how you respond to something. Usually this is framed as an "either/or" proposition. You can either see a setback as a death, or see it as an opportunity. You can either grieve or dance, cry or laugh, choose to be happy or choose to be miserable.
I personally think that is completely messed up.
Thinking that you only have two options in any given situation is the black-and-white way to misery. It does not require you to think for yourself and allow yourself to feel the spectrum of human emotions and accept them with love.
I turn to  the wisdom of the Bible: to everything there is a season. Timing is a beautiful aspect that allows us to move with grace through all that happens.
From Ecclesiastes:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

As a divorced woman, I have heard plenty of "black and white." 
Things like "Just move on. Let go. Get past this."
The truth is, some days I have moved WAY on, and other days something brings up a sadness that must be worked through. There is not an easy black and white answer to the human heart.I came across this quote in my Behavioral Research Methods text that touches on this: "by definition, professionals on the edge of knowledge do NOT know what causes what. Scientists, however, are privileged to say so, whereas business executives, politicians, and judges, for example, sometimes make decisions in audacious ignorance while appearing certain and confident." Perhaps troubles are caused when we behave as judges and business executives with each other, rather than curious, humble scientists. 
There are always choices, and colors outside the black and white, hard and fast, rule-bound and rigid. Knowing when to pick up those colors and when to put them down, knowing when to give each color its time, requires that we have a sensitivity. Out of that intuition, we gain discernment and the ability to move through life with greater love for ourselves and compassion for others.
It is a great paradox. If you say " I choose love", and then hold yourself to such an impossible standard that you end up failing others and yourself, then you have not chosen love. You have chosen a strict moral code that is supposedly consistent with love. But choosing love often means looking outside of the black and white, right and wrong beliefs we stubbornly hold.
Living in color means accepting all the possibilities of life, and then applying your own good sense. There IS a time to grieve! There IS a time to dance! It doesn't have to be either/or. That is where your creativity resides....the playful and honest expression of what is real for you now.
Timing is important. The timing of letting your soul breathe through yet another cycle of get angry/ be sad/ let go. The timing of holding back a thought and then bringing it forth. The timing of giving support and then letting mistakes emerge. The timing of having your idea and letting it rest, then nurturing it completely.
Life is undoubtedly complicated. I think often people give advice out of their own discomfort with the suffering of another, and in essence tell them, "don't feel. you're mucking it up.". It is nurturing, however, to give the comfort of validation of their position, of their feelings, of their situation. 

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