Today I decided that a good way, for now, to begin to reconstruct a spiritual connection is Thorn’s new venture, Fiat LVX. If you’re not sure what that is, there’s information on her website. Is anyone else progressing through this?
The basic concept/structure is that “each month comes in two parts: a theory video and practice prompt, then a meditation video and second practice prompt. A discussion forum ties the pieces together.” And so today I began with the first theory video and practice prompt, which is to consider areas in which I think of things in terms of either/or and how to change that to thinking in terms of both/and.
I find this to be both a big picture and little picture issue for me. (HA! I totally framed that in both/and language!) There are big picture things like “depressed or content” and “busy or still” and a plethora of other things. I found myself, though, thinking about my daily decision-making processes. For example, I either have time to be a student/employee or I have time to have a robust spiritual life. I am either practicing my spirituality or I am not. These examples have a physical component of time or action. In many other places, I’m okay with both/and, such as defining my spiritual or political beliefs or in human communication. I have adopted a quote, in fact, that sort of describes this:
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Of course, no sooner do I type this than do I think of my marriage, which has either/or thinking plastered all over it. Either I do the work or Jeff does. Either I suppress certain needs or I leave the relationship. Either I stick with the traditional construct of marriage (both as defined by culture and as defined by our personal history) or I move forward into something that works. Eh, maybe that’s action-oriented as well, but there are definitely components of belief-oriented things too.
I’m going to stop here and own some anxiety that’s coming up for me quite literally in my body as I type about this. My chest is tightening and I’m feeling irritated by the hub bub that’s going on around me (which reminds me that I haven’t done a great job of creating personal space for myself in a good long time).
I could take this question back to a place where I have distance or I can struggle with the both/and and try to find the distance without losing the feeling. That’s really hard for me. I could ask for feedback from my friends, but have found in the past that sometimes feedback is hard when it comes from a familiar source, for various reasons.
Anyhoo, back to the point. I find either/or thinking to be so pervasive that it’s hard to imagine changing it. Having said that, it seems like a good idea to maybe come up with some kind of memory key to remember the third road, the both/and. I would also like to honor that there is a time and a place for either/or thinking. I’d just like for it to be a more intentional choice and less a cultural, binary automatic response.