Both-And Thinking. This has been a constant discussion with my family, friends, and clients. As all of us feel the strain of shelter-in-place, trying to balance work and our newfound roles as homeschoolers, feeling isolated, feeling the anxiety that comes from uncertainty and unpredictability, this season feels hard. BUT, despite the dark cloud of COVID-19, we are also feeling the immense joy of more family time, a slower pace of life, family walks and the genuine excitement of finding toilet paper! Yes, as humans, we can feel BOTH emotions. We tend to think more dualistically, like good/bad, evil/pure, and black/white. The reality, however, is that life doesn’t work that way. It’s not either-or, as Richard Rohr identified, life is both-and. There is a vast chasm between black and white, good and bad, right and wrong; only once you’ve either lived long enough or experienced suffering, do you realize the vast shades and layers in between. While there are many benefits, Rohr explains that the “dualistic mind cannot process things like infinity, mystery, God, grace, suffering, sexuality, death, or love.”
Right now we are bombarded with messages of either joy or doomsday, hope or fear, peace or worry, and wins or losses. But, as I’ve learned and will continue to learn, life is BOTH-AND. I am BOTH deeply concerned about this terrible disease, AND I also have peace in my heart. I ache over the loneliness my kids feel, AND my heart is overwhelmed with joy by the unity we experience. I feel confined and restless AND content and happy. I am BOTH empty AND full. So, my dear friends, while we navigate these times, let us remember that we have the capacity to feel both. Our own experience proves the reality. So, what I tell myself and my children, almost on a daily basis, it’s okay to feel both.
One committed to processing truth, finding light in the darkness, savoring the simple, and living fully.