I’m no longer available for us OR them, this OR that, right OR wrong. I want both us AND them, this AND that, right AND wrong.
I want more grey. More nuance. More love. More of the individuality, sovereignty and uniqueness that every human contributes to a robust, healthy, collaborative community.
Either-or is enticing. It draws us in to an illusion of belonging. I’ve noticed though, whenever either-or has pulled my attention lately, there’s a whole lot of discomfort, stress, anxiety. Either-or doesn’t feel good because we’re rarely all this or all that and according to either-or, our belonging is conditional on us choosing one side or another and often on shaming those in opposition. It’s never a reflection of our whole selves or what we truly value.
Whole picture, both-and – ahhhhhh – that resonates deeply – it’s one of the reasons I chose to study naturopathic medicine 21 years ago. It’s how I continue supporting mothers and their families, despite our culture insisting on the either-or categorization and shaming…
…breastfeeding with ease or formula feeding,
…sleep training + rested or gentle parenting + exhausted
…meeting your child’s needs or your own needs,
…Instagram worthy perfection or hot mess mothering.
It’s also what has challenged me most about the last few years as I witnessed an either-or response unfold with the amplification of a variety of social-societal issues. And then, people in positions of power, those with the biggest voices, those with the biggest influence, used either-or to instill more fear, uncertainty, division and isolation, throughout the world.
Health and healing cannot be found for mothers, families, communities or the Earth in the either-or space.
It is found in the whole picture, the BOTH-AND…in the nuance…in the diversity…in the sovereignty of each individual. Sovereign, whole humans contribute to the healing of themselves, their families, communities & planet.
This is what we witness in Nature. Nature thrives when all its diversity – plants, animals, microbes, elements – exists in full sovereignty to contribute to thriving ecosystems.
Imagine for a moment that a worm could think like a human…(play with me here – I know it can feel like a stretch)…
What if that worm was consistently told throughout its lifetime that they’d be better off as an eagle or an ant…that the reason they exist is to do what others do…be like others…be sure to not trust your instinctual knowing of who you are and what you’re here to do…the answers you’re seeking are found in those around you. That worm would look around and see the work of the eagle and the ant and think “that’s what I should be doing…their work is more important than mine…they know more…know better than I do”. Instead of Being in its unique role of aerating & composting, that worm strives to do the work of the eagle or the ant.
What would happen?
The soil would be less vital, the plants that rely on it for growth would suffer, the animals relying on the plants would suffer.
The health of the worm would also suffer – it’s not biologically built for the work of the eagle or the ant.
It wouldn’t be the worm’s fault, after being bathed in a lifetime of cultural messaging. BUT it is within the worm’s power to choose. It may choose to blame the cultural messaging for being so loud…or the eagle for soaring so high or the ant for being so industrious. Or it may choose the wisdom within itself – it’s unique ability to take in waste and transform it into vital, nutritive soil – and the potential it has to contribute to a thriving ecosystem when it commits to following that wisdom. This choice also has the potential to support that worm to be in awe of the wisdom of the work of the eagle and the work of the ant…and how they too contribute, through their wholeness.
When worms bring their unique, brilliant, diverse wisdom to the world, in their being and doing, they support a thriving ecosystem.
The Invitation: Begin with small moments of rest and stillness. Return to your you-ness.
Seek support around creating safety in being and doing the whole human version of you. Not perfect you. Not someone else’s version of you. Whole human you in all of your you-ness.
Reach out for the guidance you need to heal your connection with the Nature (Life/Source/God/Wisdom) within you.
Root into your unique, brilliant, sovereign self. That’s the you this world needs.
From experience, I know the journey back to your you-ness won’t always be easy. We’ve been taught for generations that our unique selves don’t matter…aren’t enough…aren’t worthy. Seeking that reconnection to rest, stillness and the Inner Wisdom found there can feel uncomfortable – that’s the beauty of the nervous system saying it feels dangerous to do something different than what we’ve always known, different from what our society says is right.
There will also be emotions that arise on the journey inward…emotions that have been buried and held for years, maybe generations…that’s the beauty of the body & nervous system knowing it hasn’t yet been safe to express those emotions. Explore what it might mean for you to feel safely held in your experiences of anger, grief, rage, sadness, joy, overwhelm, excitement, desire…all emotions are valid & valuable.