"Anything in life that we don't accept will simply make trouble for
us until we make peace with it."

-- Shakti Gawain


It's a curious part of our nature that we have difficulty accepting ourselves in all of our contradictions and complexity. When we're working, we wish we could take more time to relax. When we're playing, it's hard to stop thinking about all the tasks that are waiting for us. In the midst of hectic days, we long for just a little quiet time. Yet, when we actually are able to grab a few precious minutes to sit still and enjoy some peace and calm, we grow restless and fidgety, unable to simply allow ourselves this little bit of space. It seems so difficult for us to accept that we need to experience and express all of these facets -- and so many others -- in order to be the human beings we are.

The late, great astronomer Carl Sagan (who I'm proud to claim as my second cousin) used to say that we are all made of "star stuff." This is more than just a biological and cosmological truth. All stars experience the pulling, cooling energies of gravity and the pushing energies of heat. Throughout their life, stars continually pulsate and fluctuate between these states of contraction and expansion. They need to do both in order to be viable, functioning entities. So do we.

Imagine what life would be like if, instead of feeling guilty for taking time off, or worrying because revenue is down, or agonizing over needing to be alone and disappointing our loved ones, we accepted our fluctuating states as a normal part of our existence. Think of what might be different if we allowed that sometimes we're extroverted, sometimes shy; today we want to dance and laugh and tomorrow we'll want some time to sit and read. What would change if we truly accepted that we're all creatures of BOTH action and observation, study and creation, reverence and silliness?

We need to tune out the one-dimensional popular cultural notions about what it means to be human. We are so bombarded with these assumptions and expectations that we wind up berating ourselves for simply being true to our natures. There are no simple answers. We can begin by getting more conscious and paying attention to this ebb and flow, this pushing and pulling within us. Just noticing what we're about -- and the others in our lives -- will bring us a good long way down the road towards experiencing the truth about ourselves -- and each other. And, perhaps then we can begin to let go of some of that self-berating, self-defeating, guilt provoking tap dancing we all seem to do too well.

By Nancy Gerber, Professional Certified Coach
President of SteppingStones
Copyright 2004 by Nancy Birnbaum-Gerber
All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Nancy provides a great reminder to us to appreciate all sides of our self and our fluctuations from one state of being to another. This week ask yourself:

1. Where do I struggle most with the opposite facets of my nature?

2. What first steps can I make towards seeing and accepting the truth about myself?

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