My favorite part of flying is take off. Shooting into the atmosphere at an angled hundreds of miles per hour is somehow both anxiety-provoking and awe-inspiring. Mere mortals have created a way to journey across the sky in a metal bird, presenting a live paradox. A paradox is a condition that involves two contradictory outcomes that intuitively cannot exist at the same time. Yet both are simultaneously true. An amazing opportunity for growth.
In this realm of duality, most humans stick to one pole—black or white, big or little, on or off. And some are unwilling to experience the gray, the in-between, even though that is where the meat of life really is. Polarization involves do’s and don’ts that can provide much needed direction for living. The consequences seem clear, tangible and to have a degree of support for anyone in need of that kind of guidance. Then there is the gray. That space where clarity is contextual and sometimes perceptual. What to do or don’t do is not absolute and both have equitable consequences. One choice does not clearly outweigh the other. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.
Navigating self between a rock and a hard place requires skill, presence, and living in paradox. For, in that unforgiving space is forgiveness. The power and strength of Love is ever present in the seemingly stark gap between what is and what is not. Those most effective a high octane jobs live in paradox. Soldiers, first responders, and trauma doctors and nurses are trained to endure high levels of stress while maintaining emotional equilibrium, enabling them to process information and make decisions at a much higher level than feelings and ego gratification. They successfully maneuver through the paradox of stress and presence to achieve outcomes for the greater good.
Perhaps that’s why I enjoy take off so much. It requires me to exist in the emotional commotion of fear and find peace within it, to traverse the paradox and open to profundity of the Human experience.
Glen Alex, LCSW, Author, Speaker, Coach
The Glen Alex Show