I smoked as a teenager. This in itself is not an interesting fact, but whenever I lit one up, out of view of my parents’ eye, inevitably someone would comment “You don’t look like a smoker”. I was never quite sure how to receive this, as a compliment or a judgement? But I came to expect it and loved the look of surprise as I took a long drag and exhaled. I was in a rebellious group and I also gravitated towards nerd-dom.
We are all contradictions and that’s ok. I try to remember to tell my mindfulness students that I still slip and yell at my kids. I’m not proud of it, but I am human, and it does happen less. Our vulnerabilities join us in what it means to be human. Any judgements we have about people are not 100% true. No-one is 100% anything. People who do cruel things can also be very loving towards their kids or pets. Nice people sometimes feel like killing someone. As humans, we can find ourselves anywhere along the spectrum of behaviour under certain conditions.
It reminds me of a story I heard of a woman attending a spiritual event and just finished listening to a talk by a Buddhist on meditation and compassion and living a pure life. She went out back of the venue to get some fresh air where she found the speaker smoking a cigarette. “What!”, she said. “I thought you were all about healthy living!”, to which he responded “Oh, you can’t take it all so seriously”.
You can’t take it all so seriously. Wise words. Serious leads to judgement: ‘I’m right and you’re wrong.’ or even worse ‘I have to be _____ (fill in the blank) to be a good person’. You are good. You don’t need to try and meditate each day or exercise each day to be enough. Just do it if it feels good or helps you.
Strive to be who you want to be and live how you want to live, but bask in the contradictions within yourself… your good and your nasty, your spinach and your chocolate cake, your love of the city and mountain peaks. No-one is any one way, so don’t try to be. It creates conflict within yourself and well…it just gets boring 🙂
I’d love to know what your so-called contradictions are and have a wonderful contradictory week,
None of us is completely one way or the other.