Life in the Fringes

Categories: Blog Jul 12, 2021

Have you ever been absolutely certain about something only to find out your certainty was on faulty ground? Or, have you ever known you were “right” but later discovered that “rightness” is perception dependent? 

We want absolutes - or we think we do. Sometimes we are willing to settle for them, even against our desires. The point is we like things to be “neat and tidy” by definitively labeling them. Not only do we create rigid labels, we divide everything by deep lines. We judge “good” or “bad”, “right” or “wrong”, “I can” or “I can’t”, “win” or “lose”, “us” or “them.” Or - that is the problem, we’ve made it an absolute. 

The or causes us to live in the fringes.

The problem about living in the extremes though is that the lessons are hard to learn. If everything is pass/fail, win/lose, right/wrong, we create a lifeless black or white world. Or divides life. Wait, maybe or removes life. It definitely inhibits it because life happens in the middle, in the gray, in the moderation, and in the possibilities. Life doesn’t really happen in the extremes and absolutes, and when it does, it can be needlessly painful. 

It’s the either/ors that kill you. It’s the both/ands and the maybes that enliven you. 

Life and growth are found in the middle ground. Suffering and getting stuck are found in the absolutes. 

When we are certain about our definitions, our truths, and when we draw lines in the sand with our ors, we get stuck, right where we are, with no hope of moving through our circumstances. Living in the extremes, the absolutes and the certainties, negates the sweet spot of life and the texture of living. But true, adventurous, joyful life happens in the middle and in the maybes. 

We are designed to move forward and grow throughout life. And the way we grow is by being open to the ands and the maybes. You can have whatever you want. You can do whatever you want to do. If you allow yourself to consider the gray, the middle realm of possibilities; never committing to the absolute certainties of what you think you know to be true. 

What does this really look like and what the heck I’m I really talking about? 

Be open to possibilities in your life and be less certain of what you know and even less certain of your circumstances. Acknowledge your situation, yes, but don’t establish it as a defining identity or a defining destiny. Be curious about your situation, your surroundings, your body, your emotions, even your thoughts. Investigate them openly and search them for possibilities of something better. 

For example:

Your bad back doesn’t define you and it is not final. It can heal. You can heal. 

Your situation can change for the better, always. You can change for the better, always. 

You can accomplish great things on your own, but a strand of two to three cords is not easily broken. Sometimes your greatest possibilities come when you are with friends and colleagues who want to help you or be helped by you. 

If one movement broke you, maybe one movement can heal you. 

And, “those people” may be just like you and “your people.” Perhaps those people are your people. 

Anyway, be wary of thinking in certainties. Be open to possibilities and gray areas. Things are not always as they seem and what we think to be true is not always the truth. 

Lastly, it has been said that a merry heart does good like a medicine. Maybe another way to say this is that an open heart can heal most any situation. 

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