Practice to Navigate Paradox

There is a verse from Lau Tzu that says: “Instead of trying to be a mountain, be the valley of the universe, so all things will come to you.”

The last 5 years have been teaching me this– strong willed and motivated, I feel that I have a more inherent understanding of what it means to be a mountain than a valley.

The study of allowing things to come to me arrived with the birth of my first son. I approached that birth experience  as I often approach things:  with my head down, ready– determined– to ram my way through it.  Things did not proceed as I had planned. The birth involved unplanned interventions. The year that followed had a lot to do with accepting this. With the pregnancy of my second child, I worked to let go my sense of control and yet still stand in my own power.

How do we surrender control but not become submissive? How do we align ourselves to that which is authentic within us, and yet remain open and pliable. Two births have led me into an unavoidable and intimate exploration of this tension.

Being a parent brings me right to the crossroads of this paradox as well, daily. How do I provide space for authentic exploration and also structure for my children to be safe and learn in?

As a Director of a school, who is responsible for the business, how do I remain receptive to changing needs of families and staff, while maintaining the mission/vision and financial viability of the school?

For me the practices that support me to simply be present at these intersecting moments and in these paradoxical tensions, are the only answer for living in these paradoxes with any sense of grace. And as I head into 2014, I hope to use my natural momentum to move forward, my “determination”,  to move towards matters of the heart. This is the next step in my study of being a valley and of learning to allow things to come to me.

© Traci Childress, 2014







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