During this year’s election battle (thank goodness for not having a TV!), I began to think about the dualistic culture we live in. We think we must choose between good and evil, black or white, republican or democrat, gay or straight, yes or no – the list goes on. We all know the phrase that it’s not always black or white. In my world, there is no black or white – there are different shades, and different ways of looking at it.
We all have choices, don’t forget that, but we also usually have more choices available to us than we think we have. For example, don’t like Romney but don’t really like Obama either? Vote green party or liberatarian. Research other options. You also have a choice to not vote (I know, I just said that). I get the impression that culturally, we think there are two candidates and we have to choose. Who is the better of the two evils? But this is dualistic thinking – feeling like there are only two sides to a coin.
Let’s make this more about daily life. Soon we’ll head downstairs for lunch. This is what will probably happen. I’ll open the fridge and say we have leftover cheese soup or wild rice casserole. The fridge is pretty bare. But that’s seeing only two options. That is no where near the whole story! I’m missing out on potentially awesome ideas just by thinking in a linear dualistic way. I’ll realize this and say, or you could have minestrone soup, or hot coco, or raw veggies or rice and veggies, or pancakes or oatmeal or apples and peanut butter. All of a sudden, the world seems more joyful, more pleasant, more available to me.
Now, I also have to add that psychologically, too many choices are bad for us. We get paralyzed and can’t choose. So be careful of the options, but don’t limit yourselves.
Sometimes we practice this idea by just naming crazy things. So I’ll say, what would you like to do tonight. Then we’ll rattle off a list: play a game, clean the house, watch a movie, go to a movie, go to a bar, make coffee, have a drawing contest…..when we run out of “mainstream” ideas, we’ll get more silly. Erik will often say something like we could go rob a bank, or take a walk naked, or chop down a tree or go rock climbing, or take a vacation. All just ridiculous, but yet realistically, we could do these things. It helps tap the creativity and promote thinking outside of the box. I also find that it makes us laugh and promotes a sense of unity and playfulness.