The Great Divide

The divide existed because I was living everywhere EXCEPT in the present.


As I settle into my “wintering” and consider my own wholeness (see blog post Wintering) I am struck with the need to address two great divides in my life. I have lived with them for so long, they seem a part of me, nestled together like the yin-yang symbol. I have always imagined that the divides would somehow merge and magically fade away as I made my way down the path of self-discovery to my authentic self. But knowing they exist makes me fractured . . . and I desperately want to be whole.


And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?

—Rumi


The first of my great divides is the dichotomy between my mind and my heart; my intelligence and my wisdom; my ego and my Self. The second great divide is the constant battle of how to live with things yet remain independent; my wants vs my needs.


I know with certainty that these two divides exist because I experience them daily. My mind offers a constant and very opinionated running commentary, while another part of me listens to that voice, trying to make sense of it, sometimes even arguing with it, but most often desperately trying to find a way to bring these two parts of myself into alignment and harmony. Most often I was unsuccessful, wasting incredible amounts of time and energy staring into the abyss of my own fragmentation. There never seems to be an easy answer.


In acknowledging these great divides, I felt broken and exhausted, far from the wholeness and happiness I am trying to achieve.


I decided to start with the easier to the two impossible conundrums, how to live with things yet remain independent, my wants vs my needs. I sat down and tried to make a list of what I really wanted in my life, hoping to prove to myself that my wants and my needs were really one and the same.


Looking down at the piece of paper in front of me, I was transported to the days, just before Christmas, when, as I kid, I combed the Sears catalog making my Christmas list for Santa. I didn’t know I wanted it until I saw it. But once I saw it, I had to have it, and so it made the list.


Rationalizing my way through my ideas and creating a list took a while. Of course, a hot tub is a legitimate want, is totally medicinal and can help reduce stress. The only problem was that the whole time I was making the want list, careful that I could justify and explain every item on it, the other voice in my head was offering a running commentary. A hot tub? Are you kidding me? You already have a bathtub!


Frustrated that the exercise I was hoping would stifle the running commentary in my head was only exacerbating it, I decided to change the focus and create a needs list—remaining totally convinced that when the list was the same, the rift would be healed.


What do I really need for my life to be connected and whole? I needed many of the very things Kaufman outlined in his book Transcend (see blog post Wintering)—security, love, meaning, growth, spirituality, creativity, and freedom—to name a few. But these were not things. These were feelings and experiences. And as I listened, the voice in my head was momentarily silent. There was no disputing these things. Only a commentary on how much fun I would have sitting in my hot tub under the stars on a cold Colorado evening.


The disconnect was obvious. The disconnect was the very divide itself.


I was trading my precious time trying to make more money to buy more things, when all along the things were not what I really needed. They were, in fact, a distraction that for a moment made me feel good. But when the feeling faded, which it inevitably did, I was on to wanting the next thing. Once I had the hot tub, I knew I would be setting my sights on the outdoor pergola and grill—good for entertaining family and friends—the voice in my head added. Sigh. There is always the next thing.


Yet, the things that I needed to feel and experience in my life were waiting for me. They were totally attainable. All I needed was to invest in creating them. But I was chronically out of time, working more to garner the things I absolutely had to have. No wonder I felt fractured. The disconnect was heartbreaking.


Thinking it through, what I really needed in my life was time. I need time. I need time to have fun, to laugh, be a great friend to others as well as myself, to be spontaneous, to spend quality time with my family, to learn new things, to find my very own rhythm and balance in life, to share my gifts and talents, to care for my body, to follow my crumbs, and to find contentment in it all.


And when I heard myself say that with time I would find contentment in it all, there was total silence. Contentment is, at its simplest, gratitude, appreciation, and acceptance for the way things are right now. Right now. Period. In this very precious moment.


The divide existed because I was living everywhere EXCEPT in the present. In the only thing that we truly have—this moment. And the divide between my heart and my mind was the opposite side of the very same coin. My mind wants more but my heart yearns for contentment.


In this very moment, taking it all in, I am content. And in this very moment, my world is quiet. And in this very moment, I am grateful. And my grateful heart feels whole.


The bridge to my great divides? The present moment. In the present moment there is no time for a divide, no space for a gap between here and now.


Namaste,

—Robin


PS. Do you have “great divides” in your life? And if so, how do you bridge them? Please add your comments.

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