Mojo Monday ~ Duality

“The conflict of who we are and who we want to be is at the core of the human struggle.  
Duality, in fact, lies at the very center of the human experience.
Life and death, good and evil, hope and resignation, coexist in every person
and exert their force in every facet of our lives.  
If we know courage. it is because we have also experienced fear;
if we can recognize honesty, it is because we have experienced deceit.
And yet most of us deny or ignore our dualistic nature.”
~ Debbie Ford

“Duality” ~ art journal pages by Michelle Fairchild

The above quote by writer Debbie Ford appears in the introduction for a book called The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self.  The book was written by  three best-selling authors, Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford and Marianne Williamson.  In the introduction Debbie Ford goes on to write:  “If we are living under the assumption that we are only one way or another, inside a limited spectrum of human qualities, then we would have to question why more of us aren’t wholly satisfied with our lives right now.  Why do we have access to so much wisdom yet fail to have the strength and courage to act upon our good intentions by making powerful choices?  And most important, why do we continue to act out in ways that go against our value system and all that we stand for? We will assert that it is because of our unexamined life, our darker self, our shadow self where our unclaimed power lies hidden.  It is here, in this least likely place, that we will find the key to unlock our strength, our happiness, our our ability to live out our dreams.”

Debbie Ford continues on about how the shadow effect is everywhere.  “Evidence of its pervasiveness can be seen in every aspect of our lives.  We read about it online.  We watch it on the nightly news, and we can see it in our friends, our family, and strangers on the street.  And perhaps most significant, we can recognize it in our thoughts, see it in our behaviors, and feel it in our interactions with others.  We worry that shining a light on this darkness will cause us to feel great shame or, even worse, to act out our worst nightmares.  We become scared of what we will find if we look inside ourselves, so instead we bury our heads and refuse to face our shadow sides.  But this book reveals a new truth — shared from three life-changing perspectives — that the opposite of what we fear we will experience is what actually occurs.  Instead of shame, we feel compassion.  Instead of embarrassment, we gain courage.  Instead of limitation, we experience freedom.  If left unopened, the shadow is a Pandora’s box filled with secrets that we fear will destroy everything we love and care about.  But if we open the box, we discover that what’s inside has the power to radically and positively alter our lives.”

The dark side, the shadow effect, duality, paradox, and unresolvable dilemmas, have been a recent theme that had drawn my attention recently.  I first began reading about unresolvable dilemmas in a book called Unflappable: 6 Steps to Staying Happy, Centered, Peaceful No Matter What by Ragini Elizabeth Michaels.  I briefly touched on this topic in last weeks Mojo Monday post called Unresolved Dilemmas where I shared a poem about paradox.  

Then there was a fascinating novel I picked up, and then couldn’t put down, called Impossible by Nancy Werlin.  The author shares that the novel began to take shape for her sometime in the mid-1990’s.  She shares that “I had begun thinking about the ballad Scarborough Fair, as recorded by Simon and Garfunkel.  As a teenager, I found the song beautiful and sad and oh-so-romantic….But thinking about the ballad’s lyrics as an adult—and focusing fully on the words themselves, rather than the gorgeous melody and harmony or the mood evoked by the music — I found myself puzzled and then a little horrified.  The man, singing, demands one impossible task after another from the woman, and if she doesn’t deliver, the she’s no ‘true love’ of his…It’s really a pretty cruel song, I thought.  There’s no way that woman can prove herself to that man.  He’s already made up his mind.  I listened some more, and then suddenly I thought: He hates her.”

Consider these stanzas from the ballad Scarborough Fair for yourself:

From the sting of my curse she can never be free
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Unless she unravels my riddlings three
She will be a true love of mine

Tell her to make me a magical shirt
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Without any seam or needlework
Else she’ll be a true love of mine

Tell her to find me an acre of land

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Between the salt water and the sea strand
Else she’ll be a true love of mine

Tell her to plow it with just a goat’s horn
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
And sow it all over with one grain of corn
Else she’ll be a true love of mine
And her daughter’s forever possessions of mine

Last week a friend also sent me an email that read: This guy is freakin awesome!  (do the close up thing these are A-MAZING)  you have to check it out!!  you’re the only friend I have that will like this ( i think)  “)  Had to share!”  A link to the web site of an artist by the name of Thomas Kuebler was included ~ 

After visiting the site this was my response:  Freakin’ awesome is a great way to describe the art.  I agree wholeheartedly that he is a genius. Wow!  It is actually especially cool that he chooses unusual subjects, those that look different, perhaps ugly and even scary.  So much attention is given to conventional beauty. So much art focuses on classical beauty.”  

Here is a sculpture called Drink with the Devil and a description of the piece by the artist:

“Liquid courage he calls it, the power to do the things you’re afraid to try and to say the things you’ve been wanting to say.  And, when you sing you sound like an angel to your own ears.  Let the warmth rush in and slowly turn control of your will over to him.  Enjoy it, because tomorrow you’ll need him again.  In fact, you may find that once you’ve swallowed him, your courage turns to fear and you can’t live without him.”

Below is another art piece called Madame Orba.  Here is her description:  “The second child of a traveling gypsy dancer, Maleva bore evidence from birth of an affliction.  This aberration was the result of her mother’s indiscretion with a gypsy witch’s husband.  As a child, Maleva’s deformity was hidden with veil, but the gypsy witch’s curse could not be abated.  Maleva was burdened with the power to delve into even the darkest of souls and was forced to speak their truths.  As she grew older, Maleva traveled with her trib as ‘Madame Orba, the All Knowing.’  From village to village, townsfold deemed her a novelty freak until the wretched among them were exposed to the masses.  No, the skeletons never stayed in the closets when Madam Orba set up her tent.  All mysteries, lies and dirty little secrets saw the light of day by the time the tribe pulled up stakes and rolled off to the next town.”

When you think about the shadow and the dark side what thoughts or feelings rise up within you?

What about duality?  Do you sense any duality within yourself?  

If yes, does it create conflict within you or have you learned to accept or entwine the light and dark within yourself?

What about unresolvable dilemmas? Have you experienced the tug-of-war of wanting two opposite things at the same time?  

Commitment or freedom?
Playing it safe or taking risks?
Controlling or surrendering?

Other things to do in an exploration of duality, the shadow and the dark side:

Explore the art of Frida Kahlo, who also was not afraid to depict the macabre in life.    In fact, one interesting story about Frida goes like this according to Wikipedia ~ “Clare Booth Luce, an ardent admirer of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, almost immediately commissioned Kahlo to paint a “recuerdo” (remembrance) portrait of their deceased mutual friend, so that in Kahlo’s words: ‘her life must not be forgotten’. Luce understood a recuerdo to be an idealized memorial portrait and was doubtless expecting a conventional over-the-fireplace portrait for her $400. After being shown in March in Paris, the completed painting arrived in August 1939: Luce claims she was so shocked by the unwrapped painting that she ‘almost passed out.’ What Kahlo created was a graphic, narrative ‘retablo’, detailing every step of Hale’s suicide. It depicts Hale standing on the balcony, falling to her death while also lying on the bloody pavement below.  Luce was so offended that she seriously considered destroying it; but instead she had sculptor Noguchi paint out the part of the legend that bore Luce’s name. Luce simply left the work crated up in the care of Frank Crowninshield, only to be presented with it again decades later, when Crowninshield’s heirs discovered it in storage. She donated it anonymously to the Phoenix Art Museum, where it was eventually outed as a Luce donation. The museum retains ownership, although the painting is frequently on tour in exhibitions of Kahlo’s works.  

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