What happens when two parts of your life seem to be at odds?

In Realtionship on August 4, 2009 at 6:49 am

For a time my professional coaching and my writing each seemed to ask me to choose it to the exclusion of the other. I would go back and forth, stealing time from one to serve the other, always feeling I was somehow being unfaithful, as though I had to sneak out on one part myself and meet in secret with another part of myself. Crazy! I know. But there you have it.

I thought I’d got that pretty much worked out some time ago, but something similar cropped up when I started this blog. There seemed to be a split between this blog and a novella I was writing. Both were competing for my time and attention. They were becoming adversaries.

So I took the matter up in my journal and wrote a dialogue between Blog and Novella. It went something like this:

B: “I’m professional.”

N: “Are you suggesting that I’m not?”

B: “Not at all. But I notice that I’m out there with 118 hits and 4 comments, and you seem to be some sort of secret.”

N: “In a way I am secret. I’m interior, intimate, and complex ….”

B: “Relationship is all of those things.”

N: “Yes, but you take the larger view. You’re outside, defining, intellectualizing, and I’m way inside the mind and heart—image and sensation—the body.”

B: “It’s my job to be public.”

N: “And it’s my job to be private, to draw awareness to the light in that Japanese Maple over there, the quality of stillness here in the garden ….”

B: “What’s your point?”

N: “What do you mean by point? Why does everything have to have a point? I’m simply looking, noticing, appreciating ….”

B: “I have nothing against that, but I need a sense of why I should care ….”

N: “You don’t care about the light at sundown in a Japanese Maple?”

B: “I didn’t say that. I said what my job was and asked you what yours was. I’m sorry if I didn’t make myself clear.”

N: “My job? Do I have a job?”

B: “Maybe purpose is a better word. What’s your purpose?”

N: “To make you aware. To get you to feel.”

B: “Forgive me for asking, but why is that important?”

N: “Everything of any importance proceeds from that.”

B: “A viewpoint. An opinion. I see what you’re getting at. My job is to provoke thought that goes in a direction. For example this morning I woke up thinking about khidr, a desert guide in Sufi stories, and how he may be an image of the “relationship itself,” I was talking about last week. Khidr appears to those who are lost and asks that we follow him without question. But in relationship … I don’t know. I like the questioning. I think it’s important.”

N: “I do too. I question everything—the established order, the old aesthetics, the novella form itself, my own heart and mind ….”

“So what’s my point,” you ask? What did I learn? Well, it was interesting to see how these two parts of my life come into alignment through conversation. They were willing to talk and be respectful of one another. They were willing to listen. They have some common ground. They both feel that questioning is important. And something about each one’s role is important here. That they both have an important function.

Honoring that, they have a better chance of letting each other be and get on with their work.

I’ll keep you posted.

  1. When I asked an intuitive about the ‘apparently opposing’ energies in my astrological chart she suggested I just notice which one was wanting to lead the dance at that moment (my words), and accept that both would be expressing themselves in either case, just differently. Reading your post was a great reminder of wholeness, and how much our verbal world often wants to segregate the parts of ourselves. In your case, the dialogue seems to have returned you, and me the reader, to a more unified, and larger understanding. thanks

  2. ADeP,

    This is a masterful posting – lighthearted and serious, and so useful. Thank you for your great work. Mark

  3. A, thank you so much for alerting me to your blog dialogue between B & N. It’s a masterpiece. And, you’re such a clear and wonderful writer. What really rings for me is the essential nature of inside/outside. In Integrated Kabbalistic Healing work we think of them as “nesting opposites.” Neither really exists without the other. And, then, of course, from a gestalt perspective the possibility of truly meeting at the contact boundary where the core of our meeting means a shift in the boundary that comes from our ability to influence, and thus a shift within us. I deeply appreciate the heart-mind wisdom you’re sharing with the world.

  4. Thank you so very much for sharing your work. I struggle with my oppositional aspects. Why have I not thought about dialogue? I think to have it with pain, soreness…I ask this of my clients. Thank you for the sharing the voices and the process. I also like that being allowed to comment is a privilege not a right. Huntyr and I recently had a similar discussion, about ‘owning’.

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