Integration of the Whole

As re-booters proceed through life, there are many questions we are asking ourselves: can I make my life better than it currently is? How much of this is my responsibility versus out of my control? What new approaches/behaviors/perspectives might I assume? What old habits do I need to eliminate? How do I make peace with myself and my life?

 

Big questions. Some of the answers will be elusive and some will be staring you right in the face.

 

We’ve all heard plenty about finding balance in our daily lives. Balance, balance, balance. Work/Life balance, Solo/Group balance, Private/Public, Mental/Spiritual, Emotional/Logical, you name it, there’s a countervailing weight to whatever it is. We are told that achieving this perfect point between the two concerns will result in the greatest happiness or satisfaction for whomever is impacted. Ordinarily, people interpret this to mean compromise. But, I submit for your consideration the idea that compromise will not get you where you ultimately want to go. And what I mean by this is the following: you know how there is often a huge disparity between the concept of Justice and its actual application? That would be a poignant example of compromise. Drawing another analogy from the legal world, the saying where if everyone is unhappy with the mediator that means he has done a good job—another example of compromise.

 

Maybe, maybe not.

 

Instead, I believe that as thoughtful re-booters, we need to stretch ourselves, wrap our minds around the idea of an alternative to simple compromise: an Integration of the Whole. This is a somewhat tricky concept, so stay with me. What I am suggesting is somewhat akin to appreciating the difference between indigo and navy blue.

 

When King Solomon rendered his judgment about the baby, he wasn’t compromising. Rather, he was taking in all the information the two women presented to him and then going further. He saw the baby. He heard the two, arguing women. But, in addition, he considered greater factors than simply making a decision based on what was immediately apparent. In other words, he took into consideration the entirety of the matter at hand and rendered a decision based on what he believed to serve the Greater Good.

 

Now, Solomon’s decision was a lot more straightforward than many we must deal with. The baby would either live or die, as the petitioners framed the argument. The solution was pretty clear cut. But how about for you?

 

When wrestling with a life choice such as, for example, do I remain in a lackluster career that pays the bills and where I have moments of satisfaction versus striking out in an entirely new direction, where more people than just you are impacted, how do you evaluate your decision? What is the Integration of the Whole in this case? How about substitute the word “relationship” for career? To make this concept easier to grasp, let’s put it in the third person: pretend you are evaluating a disagreement between two children, each of whom feels passionately about their desired outcome. But you can see further: you know that neither the kitty nor the puppy will thrive in your small apartment, but you also recognize that, more than any particular pet, the children crave something to care for and love. Is a turtle a compromise or, perhaps, an opportunity for the children to address their deeper, unexpressed needs even though they don’t realize it?

 

When making a decision about your own life’s direction, what factors or needs might you be leaving out of the equation? Remember, the act of simply achieving balance, while no easy task, can often ignore critical values that play a role in this dynamic. Just because they aren’t addressed or even acknowledged doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.

 

I hope what I’m saying makes sense because this is hard. Trying to describe the difference between indigo and navy blue is tricky and elusive, but part of what makes your life experience so much richer is the ability to recognize and appreciate the difference.

 

A place to start may be simply to ask yourself, “What’s really going on here? What is it that they’re/I’m actually trying to attain? What isn’t being said that is part of this equation?”

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