“There are no mistakes in your life…only learning opportunities.” – King Ayles, author
“…I just don’t know what’s next. What am I supposed to do?”
Madeline was a middle age, successful member of the military establishment. She had two grown children and a spouse who, like her, was approaching retirement.
But, Madeline was approaching her pending retirement with mixed feelings. She said her life seemed so secure. She has a pretty good pension, a paid up mortgage, a stable relationship with her partner, and no significant health concerns beyond her life-long struggle with depression.
After our preliminary get acquainted discussion, she said to me, “It’s like I just don’t know what’s next. What am I supposed to do? I have been using the kids and my work to keep me focused, so I wouldn’t succumb to the ‘black cloud’ of depressing. The kids are on their own now, and my military career is winding down…what am I supposed to do now to keep from depressing myself?”
“…anytime you look for a one-sided experience in your life, you are creating self-sabotage…”
“Madeline,” I asked, “What has been your approach to life up until now?”
“Ken, I have always been looking for the positive side of my life…the joy part…the happiness part…the pleasure part!” she replied.
“So, you have been surviving, one day to the next, hoping something good or joyful or pleasurable will happen to you? Is that correct, Madeline?”
“Yes…that’s about it! When the kids were around, it seemed easier to cope and there was always my work to distract me, as well.”
“Madeline, that’s a great recipe for depression…in fact, in my experience, it will assure you of depressive episodes!” I said.
Madeline looked aghast! Her mouth dropped open for a second, then she recovered from her surprise, and said, “Ken, everyone tells me to be more positive…to be glad the kids are doing fine on their own…to be happy I am going to retire soon with a nice pension…to be joyful my marriage is still working, and so on! Are you saying that’s how I create my depressive moods?”
“Madeline, anytime you look for a one-sided experience in your life you are creating self-sabotage. Nature does not allow humans to experience a one-sided perception!”
“The universe is built on a plan the profound symmetry of which is somehow present in the inner structure of our intellect.” – Paul Valery, poet
“…at every second of your past, there was both pleasure and pain…”
“That’s kind of interesting to me, but can you give me an example, Ken?”
“Love to Madeline…as a mother, is it true parenting was only joyful or was it both happy and sad, equally?”
“Well, I have no regrets about being a Mom, but there were some real challenging times…that’s for sure…like when one of our kids got busted for ‘possession’ and the other had the car accident” she replied.
“And Madeline, in your military career…was it only good times or were there equally, some bad times, as well?”
“Yes, I can see where you’re going with this…they were both present in my job too! But, the good times were really good for me, Ken!” she said enthusiastically.
“I’m sure they were…but weren’t the bad times, really bad as well?” I countered.
“Yes, that’s true also…especially when I think of some of my postings, and a couple of my commanding officers.” she responded.
“But what’s especially important to notice as well is this duality law of nature doesn’t just apply across your past memories. Madeline, it also applies at every second in your past. At every second of your personal history, there was, both pleasure and pain or support and challenge, simultaneously and equally.”
“Man maintains his balance, poise, and sense of security only as he is moving forward.” – Maxwell Maltz, scientist
“…I have been creating my own depression by only noticing one side of that moment in time…”
“Are you saying there is a balance in my life at all times, in my past, Ken?”
“Yes Madeline, I am saying exactly that! And, when you notice this balance, when you notice this symmetry and its synchronicity in that moment, it changes how you feel about you and your world.”
“So, I have been creating my own depression by only noticing one side of that moment in time…is that it?”
“Yes Madeline…and while we all use this one sided thinking…the wise ones, the aware ones, seek the other side, to create a balanced perception of life.”
“Ken, it kind of makes sense but I’m skeptical. Can I be more specific by using an example from my own past?” she asked.
“Sure! What event comes to mind which you have only been seeing as one sided, and depressing yourself about?” I replied.
“…what else was going on simultaneously…”
“Ken, it’s a really old one, but very important to me! It was early in my career, the kids were still smal,l and I got a posting with a CO, commanding officer, who was a blatant sexist. He still thought women shouldn’t be allowed in the military. And he made my life misery for two entire years.”
“What was the worst moment of those two years with him, Madeline?”
“I remember it very clearly…I was submitting the annual equipment inventory report to him in his office. He looked at it, scowled, and then said, it was a good job I was cute because otherwise, he wouldn’t have accepted it from me!” she said, reliving the entire experience all over again, the intense emotions erupting on her face.
“At that second, what did you do Madeline?” I asked her.
“I was so angry, so humiliated, and so frustrated…I had spend days and days on that report to make sure it was accurate!” she replied her face blossoming an even deeper red.
“But, what did you actually do at that second, Madeline?” I asked, pushing her to go deeper into this memory.
“I just lost it Ken. I asked him what was the matter with my report. He told me it was supposed to be in triplicate and signed off by another of my colleagues. I then pointed to the last page where it was signed off, and told him, the other two copies were already in his mail box waiting for his signature.”
“The most general law in nature is equity-the principle of balance and symmetry which guides the growth of forms along the lines of the greatest structural efficiency.” – Herbert Read, poet
“…you said you lost it, but, it sounds like you found something else, instead.”
“So, Madeline, while you were feeling so angry, humiliated and frustrated; what else was going on simultaneously that was pleasurable to you?”
“I don’t know… I was so busy noticing my anger…I guess I didn’t see the other side!”
“Madeline, you said you lost it, but, it sounds like you found something else instead, …you found yourself and your values. It looks, to me, like you found and honoured your own spirit, you found and demonstrated your self confidence, you found and clarified your competent role with your CO, you found and demonstrated your self worth, you found and set a clearer boundary in your relationship to your supervisor, and you found a way to protect your health by managing the stress of challenging your boss. Do those also ring true, for that event?”
“Well…yes they do! But, I never would have thought of those things before, Ken.”
“But, now Madeline, you know they are there and so will start looking for them everywhere. Your are wiser because you’re more aware of a natural law which applies to all of our lives. And, knowing it, and using it, will enable you to create more emotional balance in your life from now on.”
“As I think about what you are saying…Ken, there are so many memories I need to review from this new, dualistic perspective!” she said.
“And, as you do that learning, you will notice you feel more centred, more clear headed, and more certain about your future!” I added.
“I may need some help with that part…to find the most important ones to do first!”
“It would be my privilege to assist you. And remember, to find the most important ones, just track them by your emotional state…the more upset you were at any moment…the more important it is to find the duality of that memory moment!”
“Can we begin right now?”
“We sure can Madeline!”
As Madeline cleaned out her one sided memories lingering in her past, she found her moods stabilized and her energy grew. She eventually finished her military career and started her own small business.
“Depressing oneself buys important time for self reflection and growth.” – King Ayles, author
Until Next time…
So, remember, this duality law applies to your life. Go and apply it to your own emotional past, so you can move toward more balance, energy and direction in your life. Our depressing helps us learn to grow and sustain ourselves at important moments in life…learn to uncover their two sides so you can move past them by honouring their duality.
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Namaste, (I salute the grandly organized design of the universe, manifested in you!)