As I stood looking out on my deck this morning, in the middle of a blizzard, I was reminded of the duality we live in every day. I was amazed at the physical transformation that occurred while I slept. The birds were fun to watch. They seemed to be playing in the winds, dancing on the snow and fueling themselves with lots of seed. The swirls of snow caused by the winds were mesmerizing; it was like watching one of those videos where artists create something right before your eyes. And, it had the power to cause serious damage, potentially life threatening in some areas. Good and evil, enjoyable for some and miserable for others. For some a time to be cozy with family and friends and frustrating for some who live alone.
Duality is a vast and deep subject. It is of the mind and of the physical state. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on its simplest form a state of two things existing in the same space. Duality impacts us on every level, our business, our personal lives and our relationships, most especially our relationship with ourselves. One example is the concept of Good and Evil or God and the Devil. Are they two separate things or are they two sides of the same coin? Another good example of this is the mind-body connection. In our culture, we focus on the mind and most of us do not pay attention to the wealth of information our bodies provide.
In our culture, we have been trained to respect our thoughts and the meaning the mind provides. We are not taught to listen to the other voice, the voice that comes from our intuition, our souls. That is the place of wisdom, the place where our true values live. So, when we use just our minds, we can often become confused, feel conflicted and get stuck in endless thought. It prevents us from making quick decisions, sound decisions or maybe even stops us dead in our tracks. By the same token if we focus totally on our intuition, we may be perceived as flighty, unrealistic, Pollyanna like. Another issue with making decisions only from our gut/intuition is that we may have a lot of false starts because we haven’t added fact and reality to the process.
The world we prefer to live in tends to be black and white. It sometimes seems so much easier that way. If only life was that simple yet we know that it’s not. If we go back to our blizzard metaphor, the snow is beautiful but inconvenient, but dangerous, but messy, but dirty, but fun to play in; the list can go on and on. Can you see how all these buts make things confusing and complicated? Can you see how each but generates a different feeling, how it can actually change your mood? Let’s now apply that to a business situation.
This is a true real life example. Let’s call this person Joe. Joe has had a successful business for several years. At one point, all of the marketing work he had done began to pay off. Business picked up in a consistent and sustained growth mode. One would think Joe would have been ecstatic, but he was not. He was overwhelmed. He was grateful, but felt incompetent. He was successful, but felt as though he was failing. He understood something needed to happen, but didn’t know what to do. Take a second and noticed how may “buts” were in the last two paragraphs. Each but represents good and bad, separate from one another. If you address only one it has an effect on the other, good or bad, who knows. Now, let’s look at what happens when we replace the word but with the word and, notice how it feels different.
Joe would have been ecstatic, and he was not. He was overwhelmed. He was grateful, and felt incompetent. He was successful, and felt as though he was failing. He understood something needed to happen, and didn’t know what to do. You see how these dualities exist together in the same space? When they exist together, it becomes possible to become curious and ask questions about what needs to happen next. For example, if you know something needs to happen but you don’t know what to do, where does that leave you…not knowing what to do. If you don’t know what to do and you know something needs to happen, it begs the question, what needs to happen. From there the door is now open to play with that question, to seek help from others. It’s no longer a dead end.
Your life and your business are not black and white; there is duality in thought and feeling every hour of your day. Would you rather be in circular thought, or would you rather be able to create another way of gaining clarity. If you choose the latter, I would suggest starting very simply by being aware of every time you say the word but and replace it with and. I’d live to hear how it works for you.