Oh, how I love me my Chicago Tribune! I excitedly read it every morning and actually feel a wee bit unhinged if for some reason, like the other morning, it is not waiting on my lawn upon my morning shuffle to the front door.
Often, on weekend mornings especially, I excitedly (and quite loudly according to my family) extrapolate on articles in the paper. My excitement and vehemence typically come not from a "Can you believe what this bastard wrote" kinda vibe but rather from a "Holy Moly, I perceived an issue in this way and now I see more" vibe.
While many may see the news as a downer that leaves them feeling overwhelmed or saddened, I have trained myself (not always, but more so than not) instead to search out the opportunities for an expansion of my perspective and to celebrate the news as a means to see aspects of life from a different vantage point than is my norm.
Ironically, it is often the paradoxes and the contradictions of the human condition exposed in a newspaper article that satisfy me the most. I actually enJOY seeking out the dichotomies of a story because I have come to know life as one giant and blessed dichotomy—two seemingly opposite truths that share the same space, simultaneously—made up of many smaller dichotomies. Rather than resisting these paradoxes as so many individuals tend to do, perhaps accepting and embracing them as a necessary aspect of occupying (temporarily and purposefully) the space/time continuum is a more empowering, peaceful choice.
Examples: We are Separate AND We are One, Everything Matters AND Nothing Matters, Catastrophe is Devastating AND Catastrophe is Expansive, We are Sinners AND We are Saints, Life is Simple AND Life is Hard, There is Death AND There is No-Death
When life is focused upon closely AND viewed from a very large perspective, simultaneously, we can become awash in peace and deepened understanding. Interestingly, to get back to the topic of the news, my newspaper for the past twenty years, at first unknowingly and now quite consciously, has been a daily study in acquiring this peace in the paradox which represents much of the inner work of my spiritual path.
Some may feel that moving more towards neutrality and equanimity may elicit a dullness, but that has not been my experience. Two of my Soul to Soul Circles in the past week have been discussing this very thing, and I recently responded with a follow-up email to both:
"Most of us live our lives according to high surges and low drops (opening and closing of our natural, divine energetic flow through the heart) created from outer events. Once we begin to awaken to who we really are (and to whom others really are) the fluctuation is not as dramatic or frequent. This neutrality is not at all similar to dullness. It is actually quite the opposite—a vibrant aliveness, a peaceful presence, an active stillness, an inherent gratitude, a sacred awe–almost indescribable in a linear way. From my perspective, there is no high known by the egoic self that can "top" it.
This doesn't mean that we would not allow ourselves the silliness of jumping up and down on a bleacher, laughing out loud, and screaming "Booya Baby." Paradoxically, silliness and spontaneity—in an almost childlike, yet totally conscious way—EXPAND as we allow ourselves to be more vulnerable, and, in turn, liberate our soul. The expansive aspect is that underneath, above and surrounding the enthusiasm, there is a steady, sustained, contented well-being that remains no matter what the outcome or outer circumstance.
The same would be true of the "sad" experience. We may still cry and moan and release, but all the while, we recognize that our total well-being is not threatened. So, in short, once the channels are open and firing on all cylinders, there is a heightened, steady awareness that permeates our earthly perspective."
It has been a month since I wrote a blog, and I realize that perhaps I digress. Back to the newspaper, ONCE AGAIN...
On Sunday I read an article titled, "Nation's Feminists Divided on First Lady's Choices" written by Lonnae O'Neal Parker that blew me away for its capacity to literally shatter an old perspective to now include something new. The article was about the fact that some white feminists have criticized Michelle Obama for calling herself "Mom in Chief" and focusing on growing veggies and exercise rather than using her former career orientation to set an example for women. The article goes on to share that many African-American women feel that Michelle Obama's self-designation as essentially a stay-at-home mom was a sign of progress. Paradox...BOOM!
The perspective opener came as the article went on to detail the truth that for most of our American democracy, many black women have had to work outside of the home, often caring for children other than their own and cleaning another's home. Michelle Obama, as a new shining example that an African-American woman CAN stay home, is actually a longed for and valued accomplishment. While many white women have been involved in the "Mommy Wars" debate, we often totally missed the truth that it was an honor to be able to debate the topic at all.
For some reason, this revelation really excited me as it cracked open, widened and included a previously not considered perspective. The paradox of it all made me want to scream, "Hell, Yes!"
Not sure how to end this one, so I'll just end it here by saying despite all of the dichotomies, contradictions and paradoxes that can be found in our newspapers and all around us, relax and feel gratitude for this messy LIFE...
Warmth and LOVE,