I don't fish, don't want to fish, don't think I would enjoy fishing, and yet I work up this morning with this phrase in my head. I started thinking about it, what would it mean to catch and release. It struck me that it's a polarity. Something you have to hold both poles of. I'd imagine these fisherman enjoy the solitude, the planning, the right flies, and yet with all of this, they don't want or kill or do harm. So they catch and release.
Barry Johnson, who wrote Polarity Management, frames a polarity as a problem that will not be solved because you have to hold both things. They need each other. I was at a party this weekend and a friend who is a lung cancer survivor asked me about how I live life post-cancer. How do I handle the anxiety of the next mammogram, breast cancer exam, MRI. I thought a lot about this. It's a polarity, one where I have to be aware and another where I have to be free from fear.
Aware. I have to keep up appointments-- oncologist, radiologist, surgeon. Maintain my health, take my medications, do my monthly breast checks. I can't be ignorant to the fact that I have had CANCER, the big C, and yet I have to be free from the fear, the worry, the knowing it might come back. I have to live my life, enjoy my health, accept that I have the tools to handle it if it comes back. I know that I have the strength and courage, the support system, doctor's who can get me through it - no matter the outcome. So aware and free.
Other polarities in my life right now have to do with a sister who is now disabled. Of course these polarities probably also exist for those facing major diseases, impairments, injuries. The polarities are:
- Control and openness
- Detached and involved
- Firm and loving
Very hard polarities to manage. They can not be solved. How much do you step in when judgment has been impaired? How much do you let go and know mistakes will be made? How firm are you about rights and wrongs and when do you need to be loving and compassionate? When is it time to detach and when is your involvement necessary?
Maybe you have an elderly parent right now or even a teenager. These polarities are part of our lives, sick or healthy, we can not SOLVE them - how scary is that? So we must manage them, know the warning signs of when they've tipped too far on one side or the other. Trust we are capable to deal and cope.
What polarities are you facing right now? How do you hold both?