I’m reading the new book from Danielle LePorte, “White Hot Truth”. It’s super good and has really provoked some thoughts for me. In it, there is a chapter on how wisdom happens paradoxically. She refers to it as “Rock your paradox”. I had to look up some definitions just to fully wrap my head around it….
Paradox: A seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or position that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true. Synonyms: inconsistency, contradiction, incongruity.
Well then! This seems like something that happens for me on a daily basis!!!
Danielle talks about getting curious. If we’re not questioning, we’re not growing. “Questioning is the bloodstream of your own spirituality. The more curious you are about how life works, the more present you will be in your life.”
We ALL have things we used to believe were true that when we think about them now they seem ridiculous! I used to think that when I sat for long periods of time that I could physically feel my butt getting bigger – for real! Geez.
It takes a lot of courage to change our own beliefs, because to get curious about them will often change our lives. Questioning our self-limiting beliefs is really what coaching and therapy are all about.
Intellectually, I don’t believe that there is only one way of being in the world. I try to focus on what is TRUE for me versus right/wrong, good/bad. And truth is not absolute or fixed because we are all viewing life through the lenses of our own experience. Even with this belief I hold, I find I can easily be pulled into feeling guilt or worry or shame when I think I might be doing that seems counter to what I’ve “preached”. I worry that others will think Well! That’s not what you’ve always said before! So being willing to look at yourself and be open to change will require some inner compassion when you come up against those who want things to stay the way they have always been.
The thing is, we grow in some areas and may be completely stuck in others. To be human is to be a contradiction. Most of the time, we just don’t own it, or even see it. We can be tough in some situations and melt in vulnerability in others. Professional or tough in business and then talk like a goof-ball when we see our dog. We are ALL these parts of ourselves – even the dark places. Yes, we all have dark places whether we own them or not.
I decided to check out a few other sages on the topic of pardox to see what they had to offer…
So here is what this look at paradox and how it is ties to wisdom says to me… Changing your mind, your beliefs, and your view on the world doesn’t make you a hypocrite. It makes you a human who is growing, getting curious, is open to questioning your own stance and not thinking you have it all figured out. Being Authentic means you will be a paradox. As Danielle suggests, we must
-Be open hearted AND have strong boundaries
-Be understanding AND don’t take any crap.
-Have strong preferences AND be easy to please.
and this one below is my personal favorite!
To realize we’re not “wrong” for breaking our own “rules” sometimes, will lift our guilt, set us free and make us more available to love others as well as ourselves. A black & white world seems cleaner and more straight forward, yet that’s not what we live in. To try and make it that way can certainly end up making us more controlling, judgmental, and blaming and it will stunt our own growth and shrink our world by creating divisiveness and superiority.
If my overall mission in life is to increase my capacity for joy and love (both giving it and receiving it), then I’m going to have to get curious and question things that are proclaimed “right or wrong good or bad” and even EMBRACE my own contradictions. “The truth is never black & white – it’s encompassing, It’s BOTH.”
Wisdom: the ability to apply relevant knowledge in an insightful way, especially to different situations from that in which the knowledge was gained. Wisdom is the ability to learn from change.
We humans just don’t always make sense! We might believe something wholeheartedly today and learn something that causes us to do a 180 degree turn tomorrow. That does not make us “bad” or “wrong”, it means we are evolving, changing, growing.
Danielle and many other wise sages say the same thing… transformation begins with the radical acceptance of what is. That is indeed a sacred paradox. Self-love, self-acceptance – as you are RIGHT THIS MINUTE is the key to change. Wow. This changes everything... and nothing at all.
Sandy Edie Hansen
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