more on Polarities…

December 11th, 2009

If you missed my last entry on Navigating Doula Polarities, let me bring you up to speed on my current thinking, vis-à-vis managing the sometimes seemingly ridiculous paradoxes, conundrums and ambiguities of life. I think you know what I’m referring to. For instance… on the one hand, we want to preserve our core values, hold onto those traditions and rituals that bring a smile to our face and joy to our heart. That bind our family together. The healthy habits that make it easy to love our loved ones.

On the other hand, with the world changing faster and faster by the second, roles changing, expectations forever evolving of who we are and what we are required to do to merely make it through the day, we’re encouraged, even provoked into changing at a rapidly increasing pace. Stand still, and get run over.

Change with the times. Evolve.

Stay the course. Be true to ourselves.

Both are true, at different points in time. Knowing when to pick one over the other is part of the art of living. Being conscious and present enough, in each moment of time, to know, based on what is actually true right now (not allowing ourselves to be swayed by our expectations, our biases, our assumptions).

Preserve the core. Or. Adapt and grow.

Just one of the many polarities to be navigated.

Other polarities you might be familiar with…

Work/Play. Act/Reflect. Introversion/extraversion. Me/We.

All polarities. All examples of where, if you spend too much time on one end, or the other, you feel imbalanced, out of whack, off kilter.

Too much time by myself and I begin to feel isolated, alone. Too much time with others and I’m drained, exhausted, overwhelmed (is it just me or do the holidays tend to be exhausting for mostly this reason?).

And that’s why, after being a student of human and organizational psychology for most of my adult life, and more recently in the past decade a fan of Polarity Management, I have come to appreciate that we really can’t so much manage polarities as navigate them. Polarity management implies that we can plan for, control, and direct the course of the polarities. I propose that in most cases it’s really a matter of reading what’s appropriate for that specific moment in time and adjusting our balance accordingly.
Not dissimilar to riding a wave (if you’re surfing), sailing in a storm, or skiing down a steep mountain in the midst of a white out. You need to make decisions based on what’s happening in real-time. Split second stuff. The ultimate Be Here Now. And, when we actually do that, navigate the hills and valleys of whatever life is hurls our way… what a rush! In the zone. At the top of our game.

With a little proactive training (meditation, regular exercise, yoga, whatever type of mindfulness training works) , I suggest that we can spend more of our time there, in our zone, riding that wave; whatever life throws us.

Life’s short. Why not ride it in style.