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The Poison Becomes Elixir

…. And the elixir becomes poison.

A human life is full of opposites.

There’s a left brain and a right brain. Reasoning and creativity.

Masculine and Feminine, yin and yang.

There’s day and night, the dark and the light, the deep dark waters of blind emotion and the blinding white light of transcendent love.

There’s agony and ecstasy, subjectivity and objectivity, spaciousness and boundaries, simplicity and complexity.

At risk of sounding like a new-age children’s book of opposites, I’ll stop here.

I will say this: The primordial set of opposites might be said to be: where we come from, and where we are going. 

Maybe we came in naturally good at empathizing with others, and not so good at standing our own ground. Or, perhaps we came in good at independence yet lacking in the realm of interdependence, or teamwork, simply put.

We all have this binary going on. We come in on one side of the spectrum, and throughout the course of our lives it is as if we are being asked to make our way to the other side.

It can be a long, confusing traverse;

asked as we are to take on habits that at first seem unnatural to us. And yet, results show that these habits are healthy for us.

I think of Mohandas Gandhi starting out as a dramatically fearful child and young man, only to become one of the most fearless leaders recent history has known.

Or the story of the slumdog millionaire.

All of us have a myriad smaller spectrums like this in the arc of our lives, and perhaps one that could be said to be overarching.

What are they, for you?

Perhaps you once feared the cold, only to become a lover of cold plunges who starts every day with a cold shower.

Or maybe you were a loner who now gets their reboot from extreme extroversion, socializing like your life depends on it (which it might).

On the yogic path, it is said that if we stick to yogic practice long enough, eventually the poison becomes the elixir. We find that what we initially feared, gives us Power. 

And, as opposites go, what once seemed an elixir may very well become poison. You may find, for instance, that a once-loved pastime becomes the stumbling block to your free-flowing creativity, or certain values you held dear are proven to be antithetical to your own growth.

If there’s any action step to be gleaned here, it is to work on embracing that which you know is healthy for you, and lies outside of your comfort zone – and which you have been avoiding. We all do it. But once we beat the resistance, the amount of Power we receive is astonishing.

So much so that we ask, “why didn’t I do this before?” And that’s when it’s time to Forgive Yourself and keep on truckin’.

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