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Dueling with Duality

There just is no escaping the duality of our minds. We can't help but exist with two opposing forces built right in, one that sees beauty, light and hope, one that sees darkness, pain and destruction. It is all about where we choose to focus. I see that.

Sometimes it is hard to focus on the light. Sometimes the beauty fades, or more likely, becomes obscured. Sometimes we just don't have the resources to make the choice for light. Sometimes we must become intimately acquainted with, and allow the pain, before we can even begin to let the light in.

This was very apparent to me at the county fair. My kids were so excited about going. I was mostly excited about taking them. But I couldn't help feel a sense of imploding as I was forced to part with twenty after twenty-dollar bill, as I became ruled by stress, fearful of losing my kids in the crowd, as the day wore on and my feet began to hurt, as the frenetic energy and sheer force of noise left me full of holes, life-force weeping out--not to mention an extra spike in blood pressure at one daughter screaming her head off, the other disappearing, on our bike rides to and from the fair.

All the live long day I paused to survey my emotional responses and to shift them. I thought of Charlotte's web and Wilbur at the fair--to no avail. Eventually I just had to allow all that was surfacing as feelings of lack, fear, stress, dread, frustration, judgement and boredom.

In these pauses I became very aware of the feelings of 'shoulding' on myself. I should feel jolly. I should justify the expense. I should be filled with joy at the smiles on little faces. I should let my girls enjoy the sugar fest, and the pied-piper-gamers with their impossible shots and cheap prizes. I should be okay with the case of the gimmes that my children contracted as soon as we passed through the gates. I shouldn't feel like complaining. I should love the farm animals and their tiny cages, and the rodeo blaring. (Have I mentioned that I abhor rodeos, perhaps, above all else?) I should be okay with the noise. I should endure.

In short, I should love the county fair with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my strength, and with all my mind. Don't ask me why it felt scriptural.

So, what began as the possibility of fun with my girls began to feel like a nightmare--I think it was somewhere between the $3 cotton candy and the Mardis Gras themed fun house, where I was close to praying several times that my children would actually exit--feeling it too much to spend a recurrent $4 to go through it with them.

I began to see the fair as a very obvious manifestation of the ego, and I was surprised at how difficult it was to be there with its blaring, and oh so obnoxious noise--to find so many people who seemed to genuinely be enjoying what I wanted to escape. For a moment, it was as if I heard sinister laughing, as if a terrible God(dess) had lifted up the world and shaken all the madness to one side and then dropped it onto the county fairgrounds.

I had no choice but to be with it. There was no escape (until the ride bracelets were paid for in rides!)

The duality exists always, all ways.

And you know what? I just did the best I could. My expression might have appeared more pained than happy-but that was just my a plea for love, to be taken care of, for quiet, for tranquility, for sanity. I could forgive myself for wanting to crawl back into the womb.

And the biggest release? When I allowed myself not to love the fair.

Then I felt the love creep in, and not until then. Not a perfect love, not a beloved love--but there was some acceptance. There was some ability then, to focus on what little beauty I could see--even if it was just that I hadn't keeled over.

By contrast, the less than desirable experience did make the only one redeeming moment, an excursion with two little five-year-olds on the Ferris Wheel, a truly magical moment.

And then there was the fact that life just felt a little easier afterwards. Quiet felt quieter, and just about everything saner. I welcomed returning to a more balanced sense of everyday duality, and felt slightly more ease in the acceptance of it.


  1. What a vivid description of the fair. I felt as though I was there with you. And what essential and elusive wisdom--just to accept what you feel without judgment. And then the subtle shift as magical as the view from the ferris wheel. Thank you for another wise, honest post!

  2. Thanks for your brutal honesty Brooke. A wise teacher once said that we must first be where we are before we can get to where we want to go. This moment of acceptance occured for you when you threw your hands up in the air and said f**k it to the fair. The ego hates being exposed because its existence is dependent on our belief in guilt. You exposed it and the love crept through the cracks. Thanks for leading the way Brooke. I think I might walk with you a awhile if thats okay.

    Peace sister,


  3. (First of all, look at that cotton candy in the photo- omg.)

    This is SO interesting to me to read because we live right by the NY state fair and I am tortured each summer. Tonight my husband bought tickets for this Saturday. I do all I can to not go to the fair at all costs. I can't stand it. Then I feel guilty- my step-daughter is playing (in her school band) at the fair so I *have* to go. My duty. What if I just allowed myself to not like the fair. Hmmm. I seriously never thought of that as I suck it up every year and hate myself for hating it. This post was better than a therapy session. I will allow myself to not like the fair and let the love seep in.
    Thank you Brooke. Sending you love.


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