Better late than never! Musings on paradox:

They say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  This metaphor of the lion and lamb has me churning about paradox and opposites this month.  The freezing nights and the gentle hint and promise of spring make both the strength, courage, and ferocity of the lion and the soft, meek, and bashful image of the lamb imminent in both my surroundings and my heart this March.

I honestly didn’t know if I was going to get something published this month. Usually, I publish my blog by the first and believe me; I tried.  I sat down so many times with the intention to write, but I have been paralyzed. The thoughts would spin around in my head, amorphous and without words.  

I was a philosophy major as an undergraduate. (Those of you who know me, or have spent any time reading my blogs will not find this in the least bit surprising.)  I remember being attracted to Asian philosophy and tradition because it completely deconstructed my very way of thinking. Without violence or aggression, it gently turned my perspective on its head, spun it around a few times, and then dropped it down again leaving me to see things from an entirely new angle.  Of course my vantage point hadn’t actually changed, but my interpretation of what I saw would never be the same. New awareness and a change in perspective can do that to you.

Western tradition and thought are linear and compartmental by nature. We break ideas into parts. We separate and we categorize.  We think of things as black or white, right or wrong, this or that. Asian tradition is entirely counterintuitive by contrast. It is holistic. It is circular.  The world is always both black and white, right and wrong, both this and that.  It is a tradition of both and, rather than either or and opposing forces are thought of as two sides of the same coin, unable to exist outside of relationship to each other.

The lion and the lamb.

Ferocious and tame.

Aggressive and passive.

Hard and soft.

I always say that Troy and I are about as different as two people can be and still cohabitate with each other.  I suppose it is no surprise that this metaphor about paradox and contrast might bring me back to the balance of opposing forces in my primary relationship.  He and I often discuss our differences in approach to disciplining, motivating, and educating students and there are some very big differences.   Yet, we always find that we are coming from the same place with the same intentions and the same passion for facilitating growth and flourishing in others.

All of this to say, my pondering has nothing to do with an evaluation about what is right or wrong or which is the better approach (if such a thing even existed). Instead, I am left contemplating the relationship between these differences with the distinct feeling that they are indeed two sides of the same coin.