Contending With Duality
I have avoided writing on this topic for quite a while, for a multitude of reasons. The two biggest contributors are 1- I am unsure if it will properly translate in written form, and 2- I haven’t fully grasped it myself. But it seems that the only way I will continue to grow in understanding is to begin to jot down my thoughts.
So welcome to the conversation, an on-going dialogue about duality. This is the first of many posts as I grapple with this stage of life.
Life has looked so peculiar lately. An onslaught of undefined and deep feelings continue to float to the surface, some new, some old, lots unknown, and all embraced. Not in any particular order but I have felt confusion, clarity, frustration, happiness, exhaustion etc. Contention and duality though, have made a home for themselves. I have consistently found myself contending with duality.
To make sure we’re all on the same page, here’s what I mean. One definition of contention that resonates deeply with me is to dispute earnestly. And when I say duality I mean conflicting thoughts and/or actions. Recently, I have found myself in many disputes with me!
I feel like I am contending for the real me, which is so strange for me to say, because I have not struggled much in the area of identity. I have always been quite confident in who I am and what I have to offer. Though, looking back, some of that confidence was rooted in self-preservation, or was a defense mechanism, fueled by insecurity, to keep others out!
Let me paint you a word picture of where I see myself. I find myself on a bridge: the bridge of duality.
It’s on this bridge where the intersection of my thoughts began to emerge:
Who am I?
Who do I want to be?
What about who others think I should be?
These thoughts continue to swirl through my mind as I remain perched up on the bridge, looking all around, unsure how to answer these questions or where to go.
So, let’s talk more about this bridge. Being up in the air with nothing around me, is pretty uncomfortable, and a situation I would, as you can imagine, love to get out of. Here are the travel options before me: the foggy chasm below me, the dark forest in front of me, and the dimly lit, well-worn path behind me. I deeply desire to move, yet I only have enough strength to lay down and look up. That’s when clarity comes: in STILLNESS.
None of the aforementioned directions are the outright wrong choice, but they each carry their own set of challenges and dangers. This is where the contention and duality of it all begins to creep in again. I’m laying there, quietly, surveying my options, afraid to make the “wrong choice”. This moment of identity insecurity is causing me to brace for impact when the only thing coming my way is a light, cool, breeze. So I continue to lay on the bridge, grappling with insecurity, contending with duality, sure that someday soon I will have a direction. Until then, I’m okay with just the stillness.
Shauna Niequist so brilliantly said this on stillness, “The only way through the emptiness is stillness: staring at that deep wound unflinchingly. All you can do is show up in the stillness.”
I write this knowing there is no resolution, completely uncomfortable with the level of exposure I am showing. I write this fully in the middle, unsure what step I will take next.
Thank you for sitting with me on the bridge and taking part in this conversation.
Until next week!