“Too often we think that our options are limited to ‘this’ or ‘that’.
Where one choice is right, the other is wrong.
It’s a good choice or a bad one.
What if something might be both at the same time?
Instead of thinking, ‘this OR that’, can it perhaps be This AND That?”
This AND That
That was how one of my instructors began a yoga class. She reminded us that when we practice our warrior poses we are doing just that – holding our body strong while relaxing our breath and our minds.
This AND that.
Strong, yet relaxed.
You don’t typically think about those two descriptors together, do you?
This non-dualistic way of thinking is not only applicable in yoga practice.
I’ve found it to be life-changing (and even life-saving) in the rest of my life.
Joan Marie was referencing the teachings of Father Richard Rohr https://cac.org/, a Franciscan priest and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who often writes about dualistic and nondual thinking.
He states that many of us tend to think in a dualistic way known by comparison, opposition, and differentiation.
We tend to describe people, choices, situations and other things as being:
- Right or wrong
- Good or bad
- Healthy or junk
- Pretty or ugly
- Order or chaos
- Happy or sad
- Work or vacation
- Your way or my way
- This or that
Two Ends of a Spectrum
Yet, think about it. Couldn’t each set of words be the two ends of each spectrum – with a multitude of truths in between?
Granted, dualistic thinking works well for the sake of simplification when we need to make quick and easy decisions. It may also work in fields such as safety and engineering.
But, dualistic thinking can limit us both at work and at home. And, it tears us apart a nation, too, where decisions fit only one side or the other.
As a wellness expert with decades of experience in corporations, healthcare, and education, I see how dualistic thinking prevents many individuals from achieving a long-term, realistic approach to their personal health maintenance.
People are driven towards the simplicity of being “on a diet”, “on an exercise program”, or even following a specific, strict schedule.
Even if it’s unrealistic, non-practical in the long-run.
When they can’t keep it up long-term, they quit and go back to their old ways.
And beat themselves up for being a failure. For not being able to “stick with it.” (As if THAT way is the ONLY way to achieve their goals). that they just quit and go back to their old ways.
Yet, look around. Start noticing. People who have been successful in managing their health, weight, stress, and life balance…long-term, have typically adopting a less strict approach to the way they look at life.
This AND That – A Better Option than “Moderation”
I invite you, like those in my audiences, to cultivate curiosity about this whole spectrum of health.
Does every lifestyle choices really belong in one bucket or another?
In my opinion, it’s an easier way than promoting “moderation” — even though the results are the same.
I got into the nutrition field decades ago because of a series of eating disorders – anorexia and then bulimia. In my mind, all foods fell into broad buckets of either good foods and bad foods.
Recovery happened when I got outside my dualistic thinking and let go of perfectionism. Now I eat healthy and have chocolate and diet coke every day.
This AND that.