Monday, June 6, 2011

My contradictions

A warrior does not try to be coherent; he has learned to live with his contradictions. Paul Coehlo, Warrior of the Light, A Manual
I am learning. Learning to live with my contradictions and without them.

I am learning. I am a contradiction and I am not a contradiction.

Logically speaking, I am a Tautology.

Learning that my contradictions are who I am even when I am being something else.

Which is a relief. Given that I've spent a great deal of my life pushing against the contradictions of my world. Thinking I needed to conform, to find the logic in everything, to go the 'straight' and avoid the wideness of my existence.

I am learning to live with contradictions at the heart of who I am.

I love peanut butter. Dislike peanut brittle.

I love tomatoes. Dislike ketchup.

I love music. Dislike acid rock.

I can live with all of that.

What I can't live with -- which is a contradiction in itself because I am living with it in my world -- is unkindness. Cruelty. War. Poverty. Abuse. Drugs.

My world is a contradiction of what I can't live with even when I am.

I am learning to live in my contradictory world.

I work in a homeless shelter. People always ask, "Oh, isn't that depressing?" "Doesn't it stress you out?"

It only depresses or stresses me when I try to 'change' it. When I try to make it something it isn't by working hard on changing someone's circumstances without engaging them in the change.

It is only depressing when I tell myself 'It is wrong'. It is neither right nor wrong. It simply is.

To change it. To affect it. To impact it, I must give up my 'right and wrong' thinking, and move into that place where I accept it is what it is today. And, until embrace the truth of what we are doing to each other, what we are doing in and to our world, it will always be some form of what it is today. Doesn't mean it will be this way always and forever. It simply means that until we, each and everyone of us, awaken to our magnificence, our beauty, and our contradictions, and stop killing each other, stop hurting one another, it will be what it is, as it is today.

Take the man who finds it hard to believe that if we can 'fix it' if we just give everyone a hot meal, a shower, a haircut and clean clothes. They'll go out and find a job and everything will be 'fixed' and homelessness will end.

He is a millionaire. Sure, many years ago he had nothing. Pulled himself up by the bootstraps, made his way in the world on his own grit and determination.

He built his wealth today, his way.

Long ago he had something to prove. Something to say about who he was. He wasn't born into poverty. Violence. Drugs. Alcohol. Abuse didn't play a role in his early childhood.

He was taught that hard work brought its own rewards. And he was told he'd never amount to anything.

Now that was a challenge worth taking on.

And so he did.

He worked hard. All his life. He worked hard to put food on his table. To take care of his family. To build a business. He worked hard and is now reaping the rewards of his hard work with travel and adventure and everything money can buy.

Except for one thing. One very vital thing.

He doesn't love himself.

He doesn't really love his wife, either. Oh sure. They've been together many years, but he's accepted the fact they do not love each other as lover's do. They love each other as partners in a business called, 'the family'. They stay together because... And they're free to have other 'adventures in love', as long as they don't rock the boat of the adventure called 'the marriage'. Vows can be broken. Just not ties.

I don't know the because of why they do what they do. I don't know the because of why the clients we serve do what they do. I only know what they do. I only know the contradictions.

A man who is generous with his money. Seldom gives his time.

A man who is generous with his advice. As long as you're willing to take it.

A man who supports many charities, as long as they conform to his view of the world.

A man of contradictions.

Intelligent. Kind. Miserly. Giving. Funny. Well-read. Narrow-minded. Well-spoken. A man of few words.

We are all like this man. In one breath, light and laughter. In another breath, sadness and sorrow.

In one glance we see the wide-open spaces, the complexity and the vastness of life unfolding before us.

In the next, we see dead-end alleys and impossibly steep canyon walls blocking the light from getting in. We fall into the trap of believing the canyon is the only place to walk and never attempt to scale the heights and feel the breath of light above.

It is in learning to live with these contradictions that we learn to live free.

Because in acknowledging my light embraces dark, I learn that darkness embraces my light.

My job is not to make sense of the darkness, but rather, to live fearlessly in the light of my truth appearing false when I turn my eyes away from the gift of my brilliance.

I am living my contradictions and learning to be less coherent in my actions!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I love your new phrase 'I don't know the because of why'

I like it, will use (borrow) it

you are not a contradiction

you are you

you are Louise, and in that you are 100% the genuine article - a bit like elements of many people and not exactly like anyone

put yourself on display, every day you do, in a gallery called earth you hang on all our walls to see a spectacular beautiful original Leonardo could never have imagined or created


p.s. as for the deep-pocketed mess of a fellow you described, let him be as useful as he can be, and then let him be to find his own way, as you have found yours