we contain multitudes
Pop culture would have us believe that for every hero there’s a villain, and for every disastrous relationship or cheating ex there is “the one” waiting to fortuitously bump into you and spill your Starbucks coffee.
While universal laws may be a tad more nuanced than corporate-sponsored mainstream narratives, they do agree on one thing: for every action there is a reaction, for every push there’s a pull, and for every day there’s a night. That is to say, contrast and opposition is hard-wired into our human comprehension of existence. As human beings, we have ups and downs, lefts and rights, easts and wests. We have good days to contrast with our bad ones, we sleep and we wake, and we have certain things we prefer to others. For good or for bad, we exist in contrast.
And here’s where it gets exciting because, in every example of opposition I listed above, we all have have personal experiences of being on both sides: when we are to the east of a place, we are simultaneously to the west of it (you may just have to travel further in one direction than the other, but eventually you’ll get there), at any point in time our planet is situated in both night and day (depending on which timezone you’re in), and this spherical globe we call home means we’re also always down to someone else’s up and vice versa. While our minds are busy drawing contrasts, our reality is simultaneous.
I say that to say this: no matter how fixed you feel your position is right now, you contain multitudes. You are in all directions at the same time and you exist in both the light and shadow. You may have heard the term “growth mindset”, which I believe is a bit of a misnomer; growth comes from a pluralist mindset, one that accepts you can be both student and teacher, lover and fighter, hero and villain of your own story.
I’m never gonna be the one that says you make your own fortune or your problems are your own – I truly believe that structural inequality and injustice permeate almost everything we do and the weight of history is stacked against some groups of people more than others. However, I will suggest that we can exist simultaneously rejecting systems that oppress us while embracing gratitude and joy.
With everything that’s happening in the world right now, we need to find the sunbeams in the gloom. And every time we choose to shift our perspective, we defy every odd stacked against us. Because when we can find pockets to thrive whatever the weather, we can become the whole damn storm.