Sometimes...children's books are for adults.
Denying the hard stuff is always temporarily helpful. But eventually, if we want to life a full life, we need to welcome all parts of ourselves, because that's when we encounter true relief. That's when we feel a true sense of wholeness.
This book is about that.
Here are a few quotes:
More on the subject...
Lebanese-American poet-artist Kahlil Gibran writes (paints with words?) in a way that grabs my heart - so, I'd love to share this one too. It's almost the same sentiment. However ironic or paradoxical it might seem, we encounter joy when we brave the course of leaning into what's hard. If you're on this path - this poem is for you.
And last...here's a video that I love. Sometimes, when the light is really beautiful outside, I'll turn it on and take a walk in the park outside my home. And (like any true INFP) I'll feel very deep and sense meaning all around me. In those moments, it is as if every natural element...breeze through the trees, falling snow, fall leaves...everything vibrates with light and dark, comfort and discomfort, connection and disconnection, life and death. I think you know what I mean, do you ever have this experience?
Well - the concept that Watts wants us to f-eeeeee-l is that in all areas, we simply can't have one without the other...and, ultimately....we don't really want a one-or-the-other outcome anyway. We don't really want total control and we don't want total freedom...we want to inhabit a space where the scales tip back and forth.
Talking more about what he talks about (ha), he suggests that what we are, who we are, is intimately bound to the parts of us that claim "X is what I want" and "X is what I do NOT want..." So, there isn't just a part of me that wants this and a part of me that wants that, there's a third player... a witnessing presence that can be with both parts.
Feeling all three is totally natural and okay (and since this blog is tied to my therapy page - I'll say, it's typically feeeeeels relieving to listen to and accept all three). When we inhabit the witness, we can see how we shift back and forth. And suddenly it becomes very clear: "of course suffering happens when I reject one side...all parts need to be welcome...how could it be any way other than that?" (And then...because this is all a comedy...we forget this lesson an hour later and begin to strive for this and exile that...and then we learn the lesson again in the next hour...). And no matter how many times we forget, it's okay, and we deserve acceptance, and we're enough just as we are right now.
And (to keep going...), as far as our emotions are concerned, this means that hoping that comfort will (or should) win out over discomfort (or vice versa) simply isn't a possible scenario. One truth about emotion is that our experience will always...always... be a back-and-forth. And there really isn't anything wrong with embracing this concept. It's why letting go of holding onto one side (i.e. permitting yourself to shift) doesn't mean that you're not enough or that you haven't done enough. Acceptance of both doesn't mean that you're resigning or giving up. Letting go and relaxing back is just a part of what happens when you f.eeeeee.l-feel-feeeeeel that there are two valid sides. I hope it doesn't seem like I'm thinking that Watts means inaction - I think he wants us to soften up and realize that it's not so serious.
So, there we have it. I hope you enjoy the video.
Thanks for checking in to read,