A few years ago I was feeling hopeless. My heart felt like it weighed 1000 pounds. My body ached and my brain hurt all the time.
I remember I was working in the yard and I had to sit down I was so exhausted and tired.
There were some cement stairs that led to a basement door in our backyard. I sat on the top stair and propped myself up with my hands as I leaned back and looked longingly at the sky hoping the sun would burn up all my trouble. However, I would describe my emotion as numb.
I summoned my right hand and began to trace the word HELP next to me on the stair. It was the only communication I could utter. I imagined I was writing that word in the sky or in big letters on a beach like in the movies.
In a split second, I understood that for me the letters H. E. L. P. was asking and for the person receiving the message. The same H. E. L. P. was beckoning them to answer.
The question and the answer existed in the exact same place, and it would be up to each individual to ask themselves which one it meant to them. A call for help or a call to help.
TO or FOR
TWO or FOUR
One cannot get to four without passing through two.
I was where I was meant to be. It was ok to ask for help. I had offered to help and was willing again if needed. It's not as if you must give to receive. It is just that giving and receiving were not as opposite as I may have thought.
Maybe the spectrum of opposites was where I could find my help? So, I have been on a journey of understanding this HELP hypothesis ever since.
From this moment on I began to see things in a spectrum. It is as if things were in black and white and suddenly those two colors pulled apart and a whole, THEE whole, spectrum of light poured forth.
Not only did this spectrum consist of color or waves of light at certain frequencies, but there was light I couldn’t see - light I had to believe in and trust. The metaphors kept coming and yet I think only a few seconds passed in reality. These seconds began to shift me in both little ordinary things and bigger more important things.
I prided myself on knowing myself. I knew what I liked and didn’t like, and I wasn’t afraid to voice my knowing. But, all of a sudden, what I liked and didn’t like was put in spectrum form. I realized there were very very few things that would sit on either of the extreme ends in black and white, and it was more than a series of gray because the whole light spectrum sat between these two extremes. Thousands of thoughts, beliefs, expectations, emotions, experiences, etc have a way of climbing on this spectrum of light metaphorically. You may even find that I say one thing at one point and say the opposite at another. I mean both things.
Even though the entire spectrum of light sits between the absorption of all light and the reflection of all light, they exist on the same spectrum. They are in the same place. They are at-one. This new perspective brought new meaning to the at-one-ment and my personal at-one-ment. You get to work those words and meaning out for yourself.
So, how is this powerful? How is this the secret for living with intention?
Here is how
In life, we are presented with choices. I believe learning to navigate choice is one of the lessons we are here to learn. With choice, there are positive consequences and negative consequences. A spectrum of choices and on choice is a place of tension between both sides of an issue. Before I may have only paid attention to the extreme ends of the spectrum, but now I see a whole lot more.
The place I was in - hurt, ache, the pain was also the place I could find peace, pleasure, and love. It didn’t make sense at the time, but I knew it was the truth. The extremes were important, but they were never meant to be the destination like I may have thought. They were there to define the space where I could grow.
I could choose to speed while driving. The positive consequence is I get there faster. Negative, I get a ticket or crash but there’s a whole bunch of scenarios in between. I could speed just a little and get there faster but not as fast. The choice to speed or not to speed could be a life long debate that never gets settled to only one specific answer I adhere to all the time. I move along the spectrum every time I drive. I have to use my agency more than once to move. I have to choose again and again and each time I learn - even when the consequences are “bad”.
If I was presented with a choice between a lovely caramel apple and a rotten apple there really is no choice. I don’t know of anyone that would choose to eat a rotten apple over an unblemished caramel apple. Just because there were two choices didn’t really equate to choice. And, if given that choice, again and again, even the caramel apple would begin to be disgusting. But, when we string that along a spectrum with differing amounts of caramel and stages of ripe, then choice opens up. That’s agency.
When new rules, regulations, or policies arise I see it as a spectrum. Following them with exactness on one end and completely ignoring them on the other. The place I choose is the tension point that without both ends doesn’t exist.
It is only within this beautiful spectrum that agency exists. It is where my unique path lights up and where I am at-one.