Ebb and Flow

It is, perhaps, the Tao of Gemini, the Fate of Twins, the Destiny of Castor and Pollux, or Cain and Abel, Fred and George… that as one rises, the other falls, and within oneself, the rise and fall is constant.

Or perhaps it is yin and yang, thesis/antithesis, Shin and Bet, fire and water, heaven and earth… Duality seems an inextricable part of our universe: Even our bodies bifurcate into left and right, two hands, two feet, two ears, two eyes, two lungs holding our breath (which is, in Kabbalah, the force that passes between fire and water, the Aleph between Shin and Bet, and yet, inside us, even the lungs are broken in two).

For me, at least, the rise and fall seems a symptom of chronic depression: Even while treated and generally manageable, sometimes the cup overflows and it is not abundance but tears that pour down the edges and flood where it stands. Alas. Such is fate.

But what to do with fate? Is the last duality only action and inaction?

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I hate it when you’re right

I slept anxiously last night. The snow began falling before I’d left work, and by the time I stepped out to get my haircut, the roads were disastrous (thankfully, I only have to walk across the street). By nightfall, already a few dozen schools had closed.

So I tossed and I turned and every thirty minutes I opened my phone, checking the time in case I’d overslept, and then checking the school closings: the number steadily grew and grew and grew until, at 7 o’clock, I could wait for it to be called no longer: I was going to work today. So I got dressed (my poor little puppy crying as I did so, because she always knows when I’m going to leave), and then met the bus.

Surprisingly, the buses were on time. That, however, was the only surprise.

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Never Enough

Remember when I posted about reading that book about vulnerability? I stopped reading it the next day. Yup. You read that right: It was too much and I gave up.

Well, at least for a little while. I needed time to mull over what I had read and let it sink in. If I want to attain lifelong growth from reading this book, I can’t read it in one sitting and expect my life to change immediately. No, it takes more time than that.

So after that first excursion, I decided that two of the nonfiction books I’m reading this year I’m going to read often in small bursts: First is the Sefer Yetzirah, which I’ve been reading one verse at a time, because unpacking each verse when it’s literally steeped in thousands of years of mystical philosophy demands a slow yet attentive reading schedule, and second is Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly. The vulnerability book.

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A Shot of Stress

As part of my Year of Re-creation, I’m embarking on a journey to reclaim stress and change how I respond to it at a physiological level. This sounds like a daunting task–I mean, seriously, changing physiology?–but it’s actually an application of the age-old adage “mind over matter”: By adopting a new stress mindset, my body will learn to react to stress in a new, more empowering manner.

So if this isn’t alchemy, I don’t know what is.

But magic or not, the first step begins now.

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Acceptance

One year ago I packed my bags and left. I met two friends by the library and we began our drive to the North Carolina LGBTQI Leadership Retreat. We listened to the Pitch Perfect soundtrack as we drove in to Efland. I don’t remember what we spoke about, but I know I didn’t mention anything that had happened the last week.

I wanted to enjoy this weekend. For one moment I wanted to set aside all the anger and fear and self-loathing and just have a good time. On Monday the healthy relationships group would begin. Maybe a week or two later I’d have my first individual session. I’d already deleted my apps. I wanted to take a break from it all. To just forget for a moment.

But who was I kidding? That wasn’t going to happen.

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America

I’ve mentioned more than I probably realize that lately I’ve felt remarkably lost. The irony is I’ve gone to a number of workshops, meetings, and speeches that have all talked about direction–and yet, at the moment, I feel very much like the zero vector: I have no direction and practically no dimension either.

If you’ve taken calculus or linear algebra, you can appreciate that.

If you haven’t–or even if you have–it’s only the starting point. There is much to follow, and much to learn from–and although it begins casually on campus, it ends with the words of America.

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