Passion and paradox, barriers and balance


“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it” ~ Rumi

I go through this almost every day…the writer’s rant. Because as with any great thing in life, anything that truly fits, that puts music in our souls and joy in our hearts, is also a friggin pain in the you-know-what.

Sometimes I write like the angels supposedly sing. And sometimes I write like a mouse with laryngitis sings opera. Writing fills my heart with complete and perfect joy. And it also threatens to drive me absolutely insane with frustration. It’s my passion always, and my frequent nightmare. It’s what I love and trust completely. It’s what I fear most.

And I don’t do much better with the psychology and healing stuff. Some days I get to a point where I am seriously thinking I should just go into a field, any field, where I will learn very technical stuff and be able to count on predictable results. It would be so much easier.

And then I remember how much I dislike formulas, spreadsheets and neat, predictable outcomes. Planning and calculations make me feel like I’m going to suffocate.

Because I like…no, I LOVE words, ideas, questions, turning everything upside down and inside out, emotions, pushing boundaries, exploring and discovering new, unexpected things. I love and want to learn always, to grow. Arguably, this is all also a predictable process in itself, but the key difference is that the continuity and consistency are creative, not stagnant.

And that’s what it’s all about for me.

Today as I was tormenting my mom on the phone with various issues ranging from animal rights to politics, I realized that those things in life that make me happiest are also the things that challenge me most, demanding from me a profound and constant investment, pushing all my buttons and boundaries, driving me to get more involved, face more frustrations and forcing me to get creative with finding solutions. Nothing about what I love or care for most is usually easy, convenient or predictable. Yes, there is the natural flow and fit, but real things are real, and real isn’t only about passive enjoyment…although that’s part of it too.

So often in my moments of frustration, I come face to face with fear and defeat. As you know, these nasty brothers are not very friendly. In fact, they’re bullies. Although I know them all too well, they still manage to intimidate me. Sometimes, to the point that I turn and run away for a while.

And while away, I look around me and inside me for inspiration, for courage, visualizing them as these god-like entities who will, in slow motion, stretch out their powerful, godly arms and pull me out of the darkness in one of those epic movie-like scenes.

I never find what I’m looking for. Not when I do the looking in that way.

Because they’re everywhere…inspiration, courage, trust, the truth of who I am and what makes me come alive. The problem is not their absence, but my isolation and inability to let them reach me at certain times.

I was thinking about all this today, and how to best explain the paradox of passion, of authenticity…the fact that we tend to struggle most with what we love most…or how the most amazing things can also feel so wrong and scary at times… and how genuine happiness is both blissful and a pain in the you-know-what.

And then of course, life winked and delivered me one of Rumi’s quotes.

I thought a lot about barriers today, and also about balance, wondering how that fits in with all the passion. I came up with this…that balance in life is found not in abstinence from life, or in the smothering of what requires the most of us and makes us so crazy and scared sometimes.

Instead, balance is learning to be more comfortable with, and accepting, of the paradox that is implicit in truly living, in being who we are, investing in what we love and matters most. Therein lies the peace, hand in hand with the passion…true happiness hand in hand with a bottle of aspirin.

It’s kinda neat isn’t it…how it all works out.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. If we allow, fear and defeat can become stronger and more powerful than all the rest of those great things – inspiration, courage, and the truth. Sometimes in life we think we’re holding on strong enough to courage that we don’t feel us slipping farther and farther away with defeat. Sometimes we have to look so deep within ourselves and really find that truth and inspiration and then we need to call on courage to lift us out of the hole we’ve found ourselves in and move on. Those barriers we have built were built by us, with the knowledge that at some point in our lives we would come to destroy them. So we have built them to be nearly indestructible. We built them in reaction to something, to someone, to some experience, to some dishonor that we have felt has been bestowed upon us. At the same time, we have built provisions into these walls, these barriers…because we knew that someday we would need to be able to destroy those walls for the right person, the right reason, the right situation. And we are the only one’s who know what that secret spot is, the secret key. But once that wall has been torn down, it tends to take less time and less effort to put it back up at the slightest hint of pain, of dishonor, of careless thoughts and actions. And, it will take twice as long to break down because we will have put stronger resistance in place every time after that first time.


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