Sunday, 31 July 2016
Living in the Grey
Life isn't binary. It isn't black and white. It's fractal. It's grey. It's ambiguous. It's messy.
Yet we seem to be living in an age where everything is polarised, where choice is limited to extremes and where navigation through, amongst and between those opposites feels confusing and overwhelming.
But that's where most of us live, doing the best we can with the information and the resources that we have available to us, while being harangued, cajoled, bullied or, at best, encouraged to conform to one way of being or another.
Sometimes those imperatives are external, imposed on us, and sometimes they are internal, self-imposed. Much of the time, they seem to be at war with each other. And therein lies the cost we pay.
It may not be obvious or apparent at the time. If you try to live by a set of values and beliefs, try to do the right things by and for everyone and everything for and to whom you feel a responsibility, when you 'push through', those costs get stored up and come home to roost later - in our physical and/or mental health, in our spiritual wellbeing and/or in our relationships.
Perhaps that's where the concept of a work/life balance originated. The idea that we could reconcile those conflicting demands for a fulfilling and meaningful means of earning enough to balance our own physical, spiritual and emotional needs against, and meet, the same needs of our dependent or obligated others. The hope that we can find equilibrium in the ambiguity between.
But it's something to which we tend only to pay lip service. The reality is that few of us think we have the choice to behave differently, to decline the divided path, but to travel lightly and bridge them, until it's too late, the damage is done. And for some, there is no way back.
I have learned much in the last 14 months. I am not playing binary any more. Look for me in the messy, grey spaces instead.