This "Wild & Precious Life"
During these last few months, when I was being still and dropping down deep, I found myself breathing to the mantra of “I am here.” Then my thoughts wandered, as they generally do, and I wondered “where is here?” Right now, I’m living in the midst of the unknown, feeling unmoored and at the same time I’m living in the complete familiarity of my home and experiencing the very familiar shortening of the days and cooling of the nights as we head toward winter in Minnesota. This is a different kind of “here” than I’ve experienced before, and yet, it is in many ways how the world has always been, I just didn’t notice it. With the literal uproar in the biological, natural, social and political arenas, it’s a lot clearer to me that I am in the midst of uncertainty. I don’t know what is coming next and my usual ways of predicting and, let’s face it, controlling or at least trying to control are not working so well right now! I’m struck by the “both/andness” of it – both known and unknowable, both familiar and unprecedented.
So many both/ands for me in this “here” – just a few that I’ve noticed lately: possibility and stuckness, inspired and indifferent, slow and fast, peaceful and chaotic, energized and exhausted, connected and isolated, growth and loss, together and apart, easy and hard, laughter and tears, everything and nothing. I find myself seeing both/ands in almost everything I do and almost everywhere I go.
I’m wondering what it is to truly live into these both/ands rather than looking for the either/or solutions. I know for sure there is a messiness to it, nothing is tied up in a nice bow right now. This is where I get uncomfortable – and I like to get to work cleaning up the messes rather than living into and moving with them. At the same time there is an ease to flowing with what is rather than figuring out what is supposed to be – I believe this is where we can find acceptance with engagement. As my pastor Meta Herrick-Carlson put it, “with paradox [or both/andness] we don’t have to wrap our heads around it, we have to open our hearts to it.” My knowing says it’s about seeing the path forward by noticing and opening my heart to the both/and of space and obstacles – seeing not just the boulders on the path but also the path between and around them. And that’s exactly where I am, holding all of these both/ands for myself, which is messy, and hard, and full and real. Channeling Dr. Seuss, I am here, where is here, here is where I am. Here is grounded in me and you and the both/and of what is. Where are you right now? I’d love to connect and hear about your “here.”
Caroline Cochran, PhD is a Certified Presence-Based® Coach and a Leadership Development Consultant with over 25 years of experience.