Resolve the Paradox
“The meaning of my existence is that life has addressed a question to me. Or, conversely, I myself am a question which is addressed to the world, and I must communicate my answer, for otherwise I am dependent upon the world’s answer.”
―C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections
As an introvert, I get characterized for being too much of a thinker and not enough of a doer. Extroverts probably get judged for doing too much and not thinking enough. (Not by me, my favorite extrovert is also one of my editors, but I will admit she does have the ability to wear me out. I’m sorry baby for all of those times I judged you for being you.) It’s insulting. And comical to be honest. Of course, we all must learn how to negotiate between our natural bents and the demands of life. But it’s kind of like judging the workout plans of a sprinter vs a marathoner. Yes, they are both runners. Yes, they have the same goal of winning their respective races. You see it? How silly to have an expectation for everyone’s “workout schedule” to look the same. The truth is that the physical how a person operates day to day doesn’t actually matter. When we sleep and when we rise, doesn’t matter. When we talk and when we are silent, doesn’t matter. If we are online or not online, doesn’t matter. If we go to parties or don’t go. Oh yes, we have to figure out what works for us as individuals within the scope of what we have committed our lives to, I’m not saying we don’t. But some details just don’t matter. I’ll be the guinea pig again, I have people asking me why I’m up so early and damn if I don’t like it. My mind feels clear before the sun comes up. My alone-ness doesn’t feel lonely during those hours. I also feel like crap if I sleep in past 10:00 am even if I don’t have any deadlines to meet or classes to go to or children to taxi or whatever. It is extraordinarily simple to take a hierarchical view of personal differences, but doesn’t it just reveal a lack of acceptance of our own ways of being? Maybe a re-hashing in our minds of voices telling us, “Don’t do it that way, do it this way…” or something to that effect?
I read something that supposed that life is a paradox between doing and being, but have come to believe that there is no paradox between the two. I believe that being and doing are inextricably interwoven. And there is no getting around either one of them. There are only choices. Here is an example, I said that it doesn’t matter when one is silent or when one is talkative and I meant it. But if one is silent to a person in a bid for manipulation of that relationship- what they are choosing to do is also who they are being. We are what we do on the motivational level. No shame, as Pete Rollins likes to say, we all have a lack. “The true distinction is between those who hide their lack under the fiction of wholeness and those who are able to embrace it.” Embrace it, in order to heal the disconnect between being and doing. Because those disconnects are what cause unnecessary pain in our lives. The individual disconnect between who we say we are, what we say we believe, what we think we want and the actions we take; harmonizing those things is the only way to an authentic life. But don’t forget! By no means will authentic lives look the same in all of us! And the lack, the lack is always there in some form or another. A friend reminded me the other day, that part of living a whole-hearted life means accepting the lack as human reality and not as something to be ashamed of.
Basically, you aren’t what you do but what you do comes from being who you are. And no one is simply one thing. As an admitted introvert, I find meditation tests my patience. I have the American twinge of guilt on days I’m not very “productive.” I have a loosely held, long term plan, but it doesn’t guarantee a daily grind from me. Introvert/Extrovert, labels are shit unless we use them to make connections. But everything counts. Everything we are and do either builds up or tears down. Whether it’s our people or our plans or our goals or ourselves. Including resting, I might add. There is room for it all. For all of us.
And to my introvert friends who tell me, from the comfort of their own homes, “I get you girl…” I love you! And to my extroverts who visit me and remind me I’m not alone in the world, I love you too!