Logical systems of knowledge, such as mathematics, work on the premise that “paradoxes do not exist”. In these fields of study, if we reach a contradiction, we stand up and take notice. We furiously check our facts and the steps which led us to the contradiction. Paradoxes make us look for “Where did I go wrong? Where is the flaw in my logic?” This is serious business!
However, each of us experiences the tension of opposites every day. As we navigate through our lives, we encounter conflicting aspects such as: wanting independence and also belonging; dealing with uncertainties and wanting exactitude; balancing planning with spontaneity, seriousness and play, and focussing on purpose as well as pleasure. Although they may confound us at times, paradoxes are a regular occurrence in our daily lives. “We all face them”.
We routinely straddle these ambiguities and find the place between the extremes of each spectrum where we feel comfortable to sit. We draw upon myriad influences such as: our culture, education, society, laws, religion, history, relationships and experiences. Where we stand is a choice we all make individually and these choices may become the cornerstones of our narratives. Often we believe: “My choices define who I am and outline the journey of my life”.
Many times these choices are made in auto-pilot, based on previously established beliefs and judgments. We may feel “Choosing is easy!”, however, some situations force us to stop and re-evaluate our beliefs and even to shift our position. Experiencing new ideas, new situations or a new awareness of choices and consequences can precipitate a crisis forcing us to recalibrate our compass. During this turbulence, we may feel “a deep sense of discomfort, of carrying a heavy burden, or of being alone”. This is quite normal. We lose our lightness of being when we think: “I cannot afford to make a mistake.”
What can we do to ease the situation? We can remind ourselves: “Aha! Actually, this situation is quite familiar to me. I have been tackling these choices since I was a kid”. Doing so can give us some confidence. We can stop and ponder: “Who or what can I turn to?” We can remember our resources such as friends and family, knowledge and spirituality. We are here to help and be helped! Reaching out is a blessing for both sides. By verbalising our conundrums, or by using others as a sounding board and accessing their wisdom, we can make better sense of our options and what they mean to us.
We can stay attuned to our bodies including any tension, and the type and intensity of emotions as they rise. Such awareness allows us to tap into our unconscious memories, patterns, and intuition which we have integrated through past experience. By telling ourselves, “Emotions are signals. Hmmm! What are they trying to tell me right now?” we can remain calm and follow the process, rather than getting hijacked by confusion. We can listen to our heads and also to our hearts. Using both in unison we can explore options, weigh them up, choose, and also we can feel more comfortable with the choices we have made.
But most of all, we can ease off on ourselves and do so in whatever way works for us. We can tell ourselves: “Life is a game! Some you win, some you lose. That is just the way it is”; “I make choices all the time. I will get more chances in the future”, or “I can trust in myself and in the universe!” Hopefully, we can find some humour and laugh at the situation we find ourselves in and in our reaction to it. “Ha! I really got caught up in it. That’s OK too.” Our hearts become lighter when we approach life with playfulness, flexibility, and lively engagement. “Anyone can enjoy a game. You don’t have to be a champion for that.” “Mistakes happen. They do not define me.” We can act rather than being stuck. We can dance the dance. If we can keep our pride and perfectionism at bay, we may learn to play the game of life more lightly.
So come, let’s play on!
Born in India. Ruchir worked in the IT industry in India, USA and Australia for over 25 years, befriending many wonderful, bright, and passionate people across continents. As a ‘techie’ and a ‘bridge’ between teams, he loved bringing about a shared appreciation and agreement about goals and different paths to achieving them. This gave him a respect for diverse perspectives, taking small steps, and fostering collaboration.
After few close friends experienced mental illness, Ruchir changed tracks, completed a degree in Counselling, and found a new ‘avatar’ or calling as a professional counsellor and therapist. He helps clients manage a variety of issues ranging from emotional distress and feeling suicidal to being a sounding board during tough circumstances. In 2016, he returned to India, and now practices at Rukmani Birla Hospital in Jaipur.
Ruchir is passionate about sharing others’ stories with empathy, and walking alongside them to help them reconnect with their sense of confidence, resilience, balance and hope. He believes that ‘sometimes we need a little help’ in rediscovering our capabilities, wisdom and humor, and in managing our lives meaningfully at our own terms and pace. “It helps to talk to someone!”.