Friction of Opposites

Life is created by the friction of opposites. Egg, sperm; proton, electron; sunlight, water. Most of us are aware of these opposing forces, but aren’t that comfortable with the idea of friction. We prefer love over fear; joy over sorrow, peace over violence.

Have you ever witnessed a woman giving birth? She is usually not in a state of peace and joy. There is often screaming pain, agony, and a violence inherent in the process of new beginnings.

Yet, how often do we try to find a way to live that only includes peace, happiness, and joy? We don’t have the luxury of living only on the light side of the spectrum. Life emerges from the dark. There is no escape from this fact. In order to live life fully, we must face the darkness. Our darkness. The place inside that scares us.

The S-curve in the center of the yin-yang symbol represents the ever-changing dynamic flow between the positive and negative forces. This represents harmony. I don’t see harmony as a static, stoic state where these forces are balanced as if one is tip-toeing on a tight rope trying to maintain control, but where the life forces are ever calling us to expand to encompass them all. Equanimity might be a better word. I like to think of balance or equanimity as being able to wear the entire spectrum of life’s experiences loosely. If I’m happy I can be fully happy until the happy mood passes. As well, if I am sad, I can fully grieve and cry until the mood passes. There is nothing static about it. It is dynamic and full.

I met with someone earlier this week who told me, “We’ve done everything right. We’re good people. We live good lives. We help others. Why can’t we be blessed with a child?” I immediately felt the heartache of this common misunderstanding: that if we live according to the rules of our church and society, we should be rewarded.

Yet life does not endow itself only to the good. Life comes through the courageous spirit. It does not sit around waiting to come through the faint of heart do-gooders. The earth is more fertile and brings forth bounty even more fiercely after a forest fire or flood.

I watch women step out of the conditioned rules of their upbringing in order to transform their lives into their highest expression possible. Believe me, this is not a sweet little process of positive affirmations. It often involves heart wrenching realizations and snot slinging cry sessions. But in the end there is stillness. There is the dynamic interplay of the positive, ready to take over when the negative has been faced. Life embraces the full spectrum of the living.