To be honest, I can't even remember one example of the context where she used it, but it somehow managed to sink its hooks in my brain and now as the weeks have passed I still find myself coming back to this idea over and over again...
I used to be a very black and white thinker. Things were right or wrong, good or bad, you get the idea. In fact, I had a therapist once tell me, "Nicole, you have such a gleaming and polished version of right and wrong-it's practically sterling silver!" I'd be lying if I didn't admit that, at the time, I thought it was a compliment :)
And then I came into Eastern philosophy via traditional Chinese medicine... no, let me be more frank, I fell completely on my face, floundered for years and resurfaced within arm's reach of something that resembled the world as I knew it just enough that I grabbed on... Chinese medicine. And the more I learned and the more I lived with it, the more my world shifted and the more comfortable I got with gray. Until now, much of my life's work is all about embracing and helping others embrace the gray...
In holism, very few things are black and white. For example, for one person it is holistically healthiest to choose option A, while for the next option A is the exact opposite of what will make them feel balanced and healthier. A real life example might be choosing to do assisted reproductive treatments. In person A, that is the most "sane making" option, in person B that is the most "crazy making" option. Still more nebulous, is the idea that just because something is the "right answer" for someone right now, doesn't mean that all won't flip and the opposite might be true in another 6 months. Even in where we put our attention, what we value, where our choices come from, with our diverse situations, experiences, personalities... no two people come at the same situation from the exact same place.
So this idea of "both together at the same time, without blending" is something that I've felt both really connected to and conflicted by... Immediately it conjured visions of the T'ai qi symbol (you know, the yin and yang symbol with the black and white swirling in a circle).
Clearly, with yin and yang, they are both together at the same time without blending in this representation... like night and day, male and female, etc.
But what about in real life? What about say, trying for something very hard AND letting go... can they both be together at the same time without blending? It sort of makes my brain hurt. I know many wiser folks than me would say yes yes! But how do you do this?
I think for me the answer lies within the question. You have to be gray. You have to operate under the basic idea that just because one thing is present, it doesn't automatically negate or exclude the other, and visa versa, that you really don't have to choose at all, that there can be things that seem conflicting, but they aren't really, until you make them that way in your mind.
So, for me, the next time I feel like I need to get my act together and decide, do I want to be more "on the ball" "do more" "achieve more" etc. at the very same time I want to "stop sweating the small stuff," "let go" "enjoy doing less" I will try my best to remember that I can have them both together at the same time without blending and that I don't have to choose. And if that makes my mind feel like it's going to implode, well, I can always take a few deep breathes!
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