Friday, September 10, 2010

Opposites Together

I’ve been watching the US Open Tennis Tournament for the past few weeks and am amazed at the talent, strength, and athleticism of the players, not to mention their dedication and desire to win.  During an especially close match, I catch myself choosing one player over the other.  Inevitably, when I do this, I am disappointed if the player I wanted to win, does not, and I usually pick the underdog, so I am usually disappointed!

At times, I have not picked a winner or a player.  I have stayed the unbiased observer.  I have taken in the intensity of both players, enjoyed the back and forth of the game without any expectations, and at the end, found myself having a richer and more profound experience.  No, it is not the same as the excitement and high that follows when your player wins, but it doesn’t have the disappointment of defeat either.  In fact, it is not about winning or losing, it is about the opportunity to participate as an observer of this fantastic opportunity to watch two extraordinary humans who have dedicated their whole life to this one moment, battle it out.  It becomes so much more than tennis.

When we live in duality always taking one side or the other, we invite drama in.  Drama is fun, but it can burn you up and like a sugary treat, it doesn’t really satisfy you in the long run.  Furthermore, it blinds you to other possibilities.  It does not allow for you to participate in other aspects, understand the other side, or know anything other than your own opinion. 

Life is truly a brilliant mosaic made up of so many shapes, colors, and angles, and none of it is wrong or right.  It is how they all play together.  If we could just step back, become the observer, and watch without expectation or attachment.

(This post was inspired by a beautiful poem I recently read, called Fire by Judy Sorum Brown)


What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs packed in too tight
can squelch a fire, can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water can.

So building fire
requires tending in a special way,
attention to the wood
as well as to the spaces in between,
so fire can catch, can grow, can breathe,
can build its energy and warmth
which we so need in order
to survive the cold.

We need to practice building open spaces
just as clearly as we learn
to pile on the logs.
It’s fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible,
let it develop in the way that’s
possible when we lay logs in just the way
the fire wants to go.

Then we can watch it as it leaps and plays,
burns down and then flames up in unexpected way.
Then we need only lay a log on it from time to time.
Then it has life all of its own,
a beauty that emerges
not where logs are but where spaces can invite the flames
to burn, to form exquisite
patterns of their own,
their beauty possible
simply because the space is there,
an opening in which flame
that knows just how it wants
to burn can find its way.

Questions to ponder:
1)    Have you ever been the observer in your own life?  If so, when and how did it feel?
2)    Is there drama in your life?  How do you handle drama?

Try this experiment: if you are in a super busy and crazy place like an airport or stuck in rush hour traffic, detach from your reasons for being there (traveling, etc.) and just become an observer as if you have nowhere to go, but be there.  What happens when you do this?

Take some time to think this over or ponder with a friend.  If you feel the need to talk with a spiritual life coach, email or call me and we can discuss what you are afraid to give up when you become the observer in your own life.


Gabriela Abalo said...

another great post! I need to catch up with your blog, looks like I have missed a lot.


Sherry Bakhtian said...

Hi Gabi,

I need to catch up with yours too! Been reflecting a lot.

Thanks for coming back,