Embracing Polarities at your Edge

May 29, 2014

What happens for you when you reach for your dreams?
What interesting patterns show up when you stretch beyond your familiar limitations in love and life?
Do you encounter a play of polarities too?  


Lately I have been reimagining my ebook Yum 101: Reclaim your Juicy Wholeness. Knowing that this slice of educational art could be my one opportunity to seed something meaningful and useful in my audience’s heart, it feels important to ask “what has been invaluable to me in my journey towards greater wholeness?”


The practice of finding equanimity in the play of polarities as I meet my pleasure threshold rose to the surface.

“Huh?” you say… keep reading it will make more sense.


What do I mean my pleasure threshold?  Well it’s kinda like the pain threshold but it’s its opposite.  It’s that edge we meet as we fill up with pleasurable experiences. At a certain point it becomes more challenging to stay present, relax and receive.


With the pain threshold one can take a certain amount of pain before they start to clench and resist. Similarly, we can resist a pleasurable experience once we reach a certain point.


Distraction, negative internal chatter, pulling away and sabotaging behavior are amongst the many creative ways we can stymie the flow of pleasure into our lives and relationships.  


I have found the particulars in a play of polarities is related to the type of pleasurable experience at hand. It can be dramatic and conflictual if you are having trouble finding equanimity within it.


Let’s unpack this theoretical nebulousness with an example:


Man and woman meet.  The connection feels sooo damn good. The sex is amazing. They fall in love.  They move in together. Out comes a ring.  Life is sweet until they meet their pleasure threshold.  What was endearing not too long ago somehow becomes annoying. Fights begin to happen.  She realizes she has neglected her friendships, feels disconnected from herself and yet at the same time she feels jealous of his connections with other people.  He begins to wake up to how much he has lost contact with his professional purpose in life, he starts to resent how much time he devotes to meeting her needs.


Do you see the polarity here?  I would say the polarity underneath this painful dynamic is togetherness and individuality.  Two individuals came together and merged.  They stopped valuing alone time and their separate creative pursuits. Their relationship began to suffer and suddenly togetherness became contrary to their needs.


Equanimity is found when we can accept something with presence of mind. In this example,  the individuality and autonomy pole of the polarity became unacceptable early on in the relationship; merging and togetherness was the modus operandi.  


At some point their soul’s started crying out for that missing piece called autonomy and they started sabotaging the togetherness end of polarity. Fights, judgement and pushing away ensued.


As a relationship coach I would say that to get out of this mess, these dear hearts would greatly benefit from learning how to be embrace both autonomy and togetherness.  

I know it’s one hell of a koan, but it’s a koan totally worthy of on-going meditative inquiry.


Imagine entering a relationship in which you were genuinely at peace with the possibility of being alone and being bonded. Here you aren’t compelled to run away from connection nor run away from being alone. Shifting the flow of time and energy between togetherness and individuality is a matter of responding to the ebb and flow of needs. Listening and following, easeful and beautiful.


This is what I call empowered interdependence. It’s juicy, hot and wonderful and I want more people of the world to experience it.


If the practice of finding equanimity in the play of polarities (of individuality and togetherness) was a priority for this man and woman, I don’t doubt that their pleasure thresholds would start to shift in gorgeous ways. I want that for them. I want that for you.


What pleasure thresholds are you bumping up against in your life? What play of polarities is asking for your spacious loving attention?  Success/Failure…Creativity/Predictability...  Accolades/Criticism...  What would help you embrace it all?

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