Acts of balancing and unbalancing, and where are the boundaries?
|Amy McMillen||Feb 20|| 2|
“There are situations in which it is more dangerous to keep your balance than to lose it. We should not, perhaps, underestimate our wish to lose our balance, even though it’s often easier to get up than to fall over. Indeed, the sign that something does matter to us is that we lose our steadiness.”
-Adam Phillips, On Balance
Hope you all had a loving Valentine's Day ❤️(and President's Day, for those of you in the U.S.)!
I spent the long weekend celebrating philia love at a beautiful cabin on the lake with a group of ten friends, old and new.
During one of our many cozy chats by the fireplace (see below), we discussed how sometimes we're drawn to people who are extremely similar to us and other times we're completely repulsed. This led to a discussion of where and what that line is between attraction and repulsion, especially when it seems like we're dealing with similar situations.
The concept of fine lines and missing ingredients goes beyond similarities and differences among the self and others. There lies a delicate dance between many entities, the following being a handful I’ve wondered about:
Self awareness // Self-consciousness
Alone // Lonely
Rest // Laziness
Eclectic // Noncommittal
Working hard // Overworked
Wanting // Needing
Confident // Arrogant
Honest // Rude
Love // Hate
Is there any objective difference between what actually occurs on each side? Or is the label subjective, based on the story that you tell yourself and how other people perceive it?
In a Brain Pickings Essay, Maria Polpova writes about the lines between critical thinking, cynicism, hope, and naïveté, comparing the balancing game to taking care of a plant:
“Critical thinking without hope is cynicism. Hope without critical thinking is naïveté...A plant needs water in order to survive, and needs the right amount of water in order to thrive. Overwater it and it rots with excess. Underwater it and it dries up inside."
The act of balancing and unbalancing is seemingly never-ending, yet it's one of the most important dances we undertake as humans. Knowing when to twist and turn, creeping up to the very edges, teetering between lines to find the boundaries— that is when we can consciously decide what stories to tell ourselves and what action to take from there.
Much light and love,
Currently enjoying Too Much and Not the Mood by Durga Chew-Bose— a "lyrical and piercingly insightful cluster of essays-meet-prose poetry about identity and culture." You might know her from her 2014 Buzzfeed piece How I Learned To Stop Erasing Myself.
Chew-Bose also recently wrote a New York Times piece on Framing. I particularly liked the following snippet:
It’s funny how adding four corners brings out the thing. But what I derive from getting things framed isn’t perfection; it’s completing a task that comes with rules, consideration for light and an opportunity to preserve — and not in my cluttered, humming mind, but with a tactile compromise.
Background for the newcomers— I’m writing a book with the working title of Reclaiming Control: Looking Inward to Recalibrate Your Life. If you have any thoughts or stories surrounding mindfulness or emotional intelligence, I’d love to hear them.
My first draft manuscript is due February 24th - aka it’s crunch time.
I recorded a video promo this past week for my pre-sale campaign which will be launching next month - can't believe how real it's getting 🙈
Speaking of writing, The Pudding took a look at the top 100 books written since 1900 to answer the question, "Do Authors Write Where They Know?" as a parallel to the famous saying, "Write what you know." Below is an example of the interactive visualization of the books, authors, settings, and where they call "home".
That's all, thanks for reading 💛Lots of gratitude to those who replied last week with such love and encouragement! If you ever have any thoughts or want to say hello, feel free to reply directly to this email or write a comment below the Substack post.
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