A friend is moving across country. She is happy to move, and the house hunting is very challenging…and she is happy to move. Both are true. We can hold both. It’s not black or white, one thing or another. It’s both at the same time. And that’s OK!
We humans like things to be very clear-cut, we often think in terms of black or white, either/or. We wish everything would go smoothly all the time. We don’t like the ups and downs. But Life happens, and the way to navigate the rapids that will for sure come, is to be aware that we have a choice in how we respond. It’s not about stopping the waves, it’s about learning to surf them more easily.
Shakespeare said: “….for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. ….nothing is really good or bad in itself—it’s all what a person thinks about it.” This explains why some people look at a situation and see it as terrible; while others simply don’t think it’s a big deal. We see this in our society all the time.
What if we didn’t need to make it one way or the other? That sometimes the people we love are wonderful, and sometimes they disappoint us? Relationships are not meant to be perfect all the time, or necessarily easy….we are meant to learn about Love in relationships. Loving is not a done deal once we’re in a relationship; it’s an ongoing process. And everyone on all sides of a relationship always have something to learn about Love.
One of my favorite quotes about Love is from Anne Morrow Lindbergh in her book Gift from the Sea:
When you love someone you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now.
Jack Kornfield has a wonderful writing on opening to being in the moment with everything just as it is, embracing all of it. Here’s a piece of it; you can read the whole essay Stop the War Within:
With mindfulness and compassion we can let go of our battles and open our heart with kindness to things just as they are. Then we come to rest in the present moment. This is the beginning and the end of spiritual practice. Only in the present moment can we discover that which is timeless. Only here can we find the love that we seek. Love in the past is a memory, and love in the future is fantasy. Only in the reality of the present can we love, can we awaken, can we find peace and understanding and connect with ourselves and the world.
Tibetan Buddhist Surya Das writes:
The sublime peace of the Tao [is] something we can all experience by . . . coming into accord with how things actually are—what Tibetan Buddhists call the natural state. Rather than trying to build skyscrapers to reach heaven and bridges to cross the raging river of samsara (wandering the cycles of life) to reach the so-called other shore of nirvana, we could realize that it all flows right through us right now and there’s nowhere to go, nothing to get, and all is perfect as it is. This deep inner knowing has a lot to do with trust and letting be; there is nirvanic peace in things just as they are.
Holding some discomfort at the same time as holding some comfort is not easy. There is usually something going on that we like, as well as something we don’t. But if we can hold both, if we can hold all of it, embrace all of it, just as it is, then our heart is softened and eased, and our life is simplified. Then we can respond from and with Love – to all of it.