Opposites are different expressions of the same
Updated: Sep 21, 2022
°27 august 2022, It's all so peaceful until...
Back in the rush, the city noises are humming through our living room once again. They’re more noticeable to me because we’ve just spent a week in the quiet countryside of Sweden.
It’s a tough dilemma, at least for me, to choose between the vibrant city and the serenity of a beautiful natural landscape. I really have to choose though because I can't afford two houses at this point. So then I shushed myself by saying 'city for now, nature for later'.
A sort of serial monogamy as they’d (don’t ask me who) call it. Although in that case, you could say I’ve just been highly unfaithful, spending my free time enjoying nature, away from the buzz of the city. I feel a bit guilty towards my beloved city, she must not like it that I’m being unfaithful and planning to leave her one day. Or maybe on the other hand, she needs it just as much as there’s much other interested parties, ready to take my place, I’m sure.
The constant noises can be tiring on the one hand, and joyful on the other. Just now as I’m writing, it's an early evening and a group of girls are meeting right under our balcony. They start singing and cheering when meeting each other, doing a sort of group hymn that only they’d understand.
Hearing those cheerful group dynamics creates an atmosphere of lightness. It's like it spreads through the air, filling up my living room, all the way into my lungs. I need to breath this kind of air from time to time, as my default mode can sometimes be a bit heavy, full of thoughts and worries. My parents often told me I have a pretty melancholic resting face sometimes, I’ve noticed it on pictures aswel, it’s as if -from young age on- I was carrying the worries of the world around with me. No wonder I have a really hard time smiling for a posed picture, it feels completely unnatural.
But so then, hearing those sounds underneath my balcony, reminded me that I don’t need to take it all too seriously. It sheds a light on what we humans do best: contaminating each other with our -joyous- vibes. Making each other smile, even the silent witness watching the scene from above.
Those joyous whispers and jitters of late night bar-nights actually even help me fall asleep. I’d used to love it if there was a party going on in my house and they’d go on while I went to sleep. It’s a delicate balance though, as it is with most things in life. I’ll get just as tense from a deadly silence as from angry frustrated screams, but those cosy humming sounds of other humans having fun, that relaxes me just as much as hearing soothing ocean waves or raindrops. And so it seems that both city, as nature have their offerings.
They also have their undeniable shadow. Once the night passes a certain point of darkness, the atmosphere turns with it and gets tense. Not much needed, just one step in the wrong direction and things could go south. Both nature and city work that way. A friend invited us for a hike in a beautiful nature reserve on the island Brännö, near the coast of Gotenburg. As beautiful and serene that scenery was, just as much were ticks and snakes lurking from under the long grass. The darker it gets, the more we'll be alert for those quiet dangers, as we probably should be.
It’s just the same in the city, only it’s a different kind of scary animals, it’s the confrontation with the intoxicated homeless person yelling under our balcony and another louche individual stealing a girls purse right in front of us.
With the blink of an eye, all goes quiet again. The sun goes up, the city starts to buzz and the birds fill the silence with their chirps. In the light of day, it’s as if nothing happened. All is good and right again with the world. Though before you know it, the sun is going under once more, charming you while she does, though announcing it's almost time to once again either go to bed or watch your back a little more carefully.
Let us not forget though, the beautiful thing that happens in between, every single day, twice! Do you notice it still? I realized I had forgotten about it. I hadn't been paying attention.
What is it that’s so magical about seeing the sun melt into the ocean?
It's one of these rare occasions when a landscape is beautiful enough to, even if it's just for a second, make our mind shut up. No thoughts, only pure observation.
Patient, yet fluent in its changing colors.
Fading slowly but surely into shades of darkness.
Shifting from a warm glow into cold fresh air.
And so the sun and the moon, trustworthy as they are, appear to us every day and every night. They don't complain about it either, they just do their thing every single day. Today is, for the moon, the start of a new circle, it's a new moon in Virgo. I'm quite new at these astrological interpretations but I think I would translate this as the perfect time to get practical about the scavengers hunt towards our dreams.
We come across another -apparent- opposition: the rational approach of the completely irrational, by nature - otherwise dreams would already be our reality. But they’re not, they’re -hopefully- big and much different from our current reality. It’s a similar principle as with the noises, you don’t want your dreams to be too far from reality -as that could give too much pulling power to a state of hopelessness- but you also don’t want them to be to close to it -then the pushing power of our imagination is too low, you’d have too little reason to undertake bold actions.
The more I write about it the more I realize, the opposites I’m describing are merely different expressions of the same. They’re different parts of a bigger whole.
City and Nature.
Night and day.
Light and darkness.
Noises and silence.
Dreams and reality.
We don’t need to choose nor put one above of the other. It’s as choosing between water or food. We only need to commit & give space to those things that lie in front of us right now.
What we can learn in this moment. How we can connect to it in a valuable way.
A client shared with me last week that she’d come across something interesting. The proposal to, instead of wondering ‘why’, rather ask ‘what for’.
What is this for?
What does this particular experience serve me with?
What does it have to offer?
What does it want to share with me?
So back to my starting dilemma, that actually isn’t one.
I’ve chosen to live in this buzzing city,
And so I’ll commit to and accept it in its good and bad days. In it's busy and calm days. In having much to see and hear, aswel as being annoyed with what I see and hear. Not much different as choosing a partner relationship maybe? Being real with ourselves, that in every choice there's a trade-off to be made.
I mean let's be honest, the city is busy, load and polluted. Yet it also offers freedom, inspiration, an atmosphere of lightness and laughs. It’s a bit as having the world in my backyard. It’s not to be ignored, it doesn’t allow me to sink to deep into my own thoughts and feelings. Again and again the vibrant noises will wake me up and remind me of what’s important.
However vacations, or in our case abroad workshops, can gladly bring us to those quiet humble towns. Into the serenity of green landscapes and bad internet connections. Places we’d probably never see, if it wasn’t that someone had asked Joachim to come teach in the local gym.
If at some point we’d move to a quiet farm in Portugal - feel free to join the future off-the-grid-community we plan to build over there-, then we’ll probably want to take breaks from that and visit the buzzing city’s of the world again. Allow it too fill our cups, before emptying them in a quiet lake in the forest.
As with all apparent opposite things, we could conclude:
Both have charisma.
Both are fighting for the other's spotlight.
They shouldn’t though, there’s no need for bickering.
Both shine a light on the beauty of the other, they help us appreciate the other even more.
So I guess,
I’ll just have my cake (or in my case meat and fruit) and eat it to.
nature just as much as city,
day just as much as night,
stillness just as much as vibrant sounds,
and my reality just as much as my dreams.
So you have your cake (or whatever you can digest better) and eat it too aswel, say AND instead of OR. See how apparent opposites are merely expressions of the same. Notice how you can feel and appreciate a lot more then you thought was possible.
-Tat twam asi