The Joy of Conflict?

“Conflict is the beginning of consciousness.” ~M. Esther Harding

Conflict. It’s something most of us shy away from. After all, we paid our dues as teenagers, didn’t we? Oh. Maybe that was just me. But, now as independent adults, we can choose to avoid it, like choosing whether or not to make the bed or do our chores.

What’s the point of conflict anyway? Shouldn’t we avoid it…even when it’s unavoidable? Make cookies, not war…and that sort of thing? Don’t we want world peace starting with the person in the mirror? I’m conflicted about conflict. When given the choice between fight or flight, the latter seems more enjoyable, especially if I’m headed to a tropical island! 

Conflict, though, can be a positive thing, an opportunity. An opportunity for growth and change. Most of us resist change too, happily strolling along until life threatens to create so much conflict or major crises that we are forced to change. Why not nip it in the bud and embrace it?

Hey, Change! I see you comin.’ You’re cleverly disguised as Conflict. Ha! You’re not foolin’ me! And I’m not afraid of you…mostly. Yeah. Watch me bend and let you roll off my back. And if you come back with more, I’ll do the same. So there!

Conflict shouldn’t be about “fight or flight.” It should be about resist or grow, and asking ourselves: What am I seeing about myself in this conflict? What is trying to emerge in me? How am I participating? Where am I needing to grow? Where am I falling short? 

Today I will search for the gap within myself and do my best to close it. I will see Conflict for what it is: an opportunity for me to discover my best self.

Oh, Conflict! Who knew a silver lining was part of your clever disguise, you rascal!

This was adapted from my older blog, Words of Wisdom.

Dragonfly Wings

“Dragonflies are reminders that we are light and we can reflect light in powerful ways if we choose to do so.” ~ Robyn Nola

Three dragonflies caught my attention recently. One was staring me in the face as I raised the bedroom shade to let in sunlight one morning, unable to move from its spread-eagle position, caught in a perfectly woven spider web against the screen.

One landed on my husband’s pointer finger as he was holding our one-year old granddaughter.

One stood atop an ornate wrought iron fence in the shade as I strolled by on a sunny July morning.  “Write about me,” he said.

Dragonfly wings are translucent, so delicate, and vulnerable. Have you noticed? If these friendly insects are lucky enough to live out their short six-month lives–most die tragically young, caught by predators– their wings face the daily risk of damage, or of being caught in a hungry spider’s web. Luckily, some are still able to fly and catch food even if a wing is damaged or missing.

Our wings are delicate and vulnerable, too, or so we perceive them to be. We believe our ability to fly, to soar is damaged, hindered by our past, caught in the web of injustices and hurt, by flawed parents or an unenlightened society. Some of us, frozen with fear, flutter in the breeze as we choose to stay stuck in the gummy net of early childhood experiences.

But we are not physically stuck. That would be weird! We are mentally, emotionally, and/or psychologically stuck. I know! That seems worse in a way, doesn’t it? We point to our broken, tattered wings and blame others, giving away our power without realizing it.

What do we gain from staying stuck? Perhaps an excuse not to face fears, not to feel grief or pain, not to grow and expand into the being we started out as. We choose instead to stay in our uncomfortable “comfort zone.”

A diamond doesn’t get to become a diamond by lying like a lump of coal, doing nothing, binge-watching Netflix, scrolling for hours on Facebook to see who ate what on which day and where. No. A diamond must endure a lot of pressure and come out of it strong enough to cut glass ceilings and become a reflector of light.

Break free of your past. It may have shaped you, but it does not define you. Obstacles were placed before you for a reason, so that you would rise up and share your knowledge with the world about overcoming adversity in what ever way feels best to you.

“Take these broken wings and learn to fly,” wrote Paul McCartney. Learn to be a reflector of light.