It’s Not Either/Or: The Power of Opening Your Mind and Seeing Both Sides

&#8220Compassionate listening would be to help sleep issues suffer less.&#8221 ~Thich Nhat Hanh

At the end of 2017 my spouse and i were both being prepared for work one morning after i casually stated, &ldquoHey, I believe I&rsquom likely to start teaching yoga within the jail.&rdquo

Without missing a beat my hubby stated, &ldquoWell, that&rsquos a dreadful idea. Why would you accomplish that?&rdquo

He gave this comment like a statement, flat and decisive. I’d suspected I’d get this kind of response, and so i attempted to experience it awesome, enjoy it didn&rsquot bother me. However it still stung a little, since i have had wished for his support.

Like a lengthy-time yoga teacher, I had been looking forward to the chance for everyone individuals who may potentially get the practice&rsquos mind-body benefits and who may also not need and have experienced yoga before.

I understood I wasn&rsquot likely to fix all of them with just one yoga class, however i wished by connecting with somebody that saw them as whole and unbroken, they&rsquod know they don&rsquot need to be&nbspdefined by their current situation.  

My hubby, however, first viewed it with the eyes of the police detective which specializes in crimes against children. He’s seen the worst in human behavior on levels we can&rsquot even start to imagine. Furthermore, he’d labored within the very jail I would. He understood a lot better than I, with my dialed-up altruism, what may go wrong.

He’s a superb individual, out of the box nearly every single officer I&rsquove met. His misgivings were located in a real possibility I’d never experienced only one he’d the very first-hands experience with.

I understood his concerns, but my pride and ego remained as hurt while he didn&rsquot offer the work I needed to complete.

I went ahead and went after teaching using the support from the Prison Yoga Project and wound up teaching the feminine inmates in the city jail.

In early days, my spouse and i ongoing our unofficial cold war and didn&rsquot talk much by what Used to do. However that didn&rsquot affect my enthusiasm.

I really like my work on the jail. My students are as diverse being an exclusive studio&rsquos clientele. I&rsquove had women that are pregnant, a mom-daughter duo, youthful, old, along with a couple of who&rsquove become out only to return a couple of days later.

Irrrve never ask the things they&rsquore set for, however their tattoos tell much more about their lives than I possibly could read within their record&mdashthe deep grief for those they&rsquove lost engraved in black and smeared faded colors on their own skin.

The most typical tattoos have been in memory of people that&rsquove died. I question if there’s something temporarily soothing to literally have the discomfort of grief being etched to their skin and hidden underneath the surface. I just consider the tattoo by myself wrist&nbspin memory of my son&nbspto be aware of answer.

Within the several weeks that adopted that initial conversation, my hubby and both started to melt our stance.&nbspI found him to become a good source of some questions I’d about legal procedures or any other stuff that emerged, and that he was interested in the ladies as well as their yoga experience.

Eventually a couple of several weeks back he came home and shared that the lengthy, emotionally difficult situation he&rsquod been focusing on had ended. The lady was sentenced to 1 year within the jail where I had been working.

He accepted he felt a minute anger that they could take yoga classes after what she&rsquod done. However, he required a breath, sighed, and stated he would prefer to see her have the opportunity to emerge much better than to harm every other children. Both of us softened.

Inside a week I too were built with a moment of questioning my decision to utilize inmates.&nbspIn a problem having a man who had been put up on drugs and unhinged with violence, certainly one of my hubby&rsquos co-workers was hurt badly he must be hospitalized. The perpetrator was arrested and brought towards the jail where I educate.

It had been my use be angry and picture this man (or someone like him) could&rsquove hurt or wiped out my hubby. Did I actually want to support somebody that could threaten probably the most valuable things within my existence?

I felt so deeply conflicted. I Then wondered if my hubby felt tricked by me since i was teaching in the jail. Did he feel I had been either with him or against him? And did I expect him to get along with me within my altruism otherwise he was against me?

Either/Or and Both/And Mindsets

Existence is simply too frequently understood to be either a. And, it appears, whenever we choose our side we have to also choose everything which are aligned with this side. For instance, basically&rsquom a woo-woo yoga teacher i then should be from the police. The west more and more demands that people stake our claim, unwaveringly.

Whenever we fall under the trap of the either/or mindset we shut ourselves removed from possibilities, connections, and relationships that may alleviate suffering for individuals on sides from the issue.

Either/or thinking is divisive at the best. It places us firmly within our own silos, cloistering us within an imaginary us versus them utopia, whereas &ldquoboth/and&rdquo thinking creates community and connection. It enables us to start to construct webs of supports that stretch beyond our very own capability to impact change.

Possibly you&rsquove found yourself within the either/or conflict whenever you uncover that the favorite co-worker props up opposite political party. You are feeling your stomach then then extrapolate what else they have to think that you discover offensive. These mental games likely lead to feeling that you simply&rsquore at war with this particular person, leading to your projects relationship suffering.

An excellent place to begin to transition to both/and thinking is by using the Zen Buddhist tenant of &ldquonot knowing.&rdquo Whenever we available to the very fact we don&rsquot know everything concerning the situation it softens us.

Within the illustration of your coworker, possibly they&rsquove been affected by different existence encounters which have formed their beliefs and opinions by what&rsquos perfect for our country and also the individuals it. And possibly you share similar values but hold different perspectives about a great way to honoring them.

Considering that individuals who appear against you may even have good intentions, it&rsquos simpler to locate mutual understanding and interact rather of against one another.

When my spouse and i started to determine our situation as both/and never either/or it had been much simpler to determine how everyone could positively change up the individual systems make certain in and, even in a tiny way, create healing for individuals involved.

Lately within my Buddhist Chaplain studies, we checked out systems using Donella Meadows&rsquo model. In her own book, Thinking in Systems, she states,&nbsp&ldquoYou believe that since you understand &lsquoone&rsquo that you need to, therefore, understand &lsquotwo&rsquo because one and something make two. However, you forget that you need to also understand &lsquoand.&rsquo&rdquo

Simply because my hubby&rsquos jobs are necessary and my jobs are necessary, even inside the same situation, is really a effective pressure that produces change.

It might be simple to put me within my woo-woo yogi silo and my hubby within the cop silo. Rather, we agreed to pay attention to&nbspboth&nbspour work&nbspand&nbsphow the overlap is definitely an chance to dissolve hard lines of either/or thinking to check out the places where &ldquoand&rdquo exists. Only then do we lean deeply into individuals places, because fundamental essentials tender places of real change.

We have to learn how to make our silos more permeable.

Among the other activities I&rsquove learned within my Buddhist Chaplain program is the fact that whenever we consider the easiest method to positively impact the way a product is functioning, we are able to begin by focusing near the coast, then zooming out.

Should i be standing in the center of a river I’m able to feel the strength of the water, however when I get up on a mountaintop and appear lower in the same river it may look calm and peaceful. Each of individuals perceptions from the river are correct, however i&rsquove altered my standpoint.

Whenever we feel ourselves being requested to consider an either/or position we are able to take the time to zoom inside and out to locate balance within our perspective taking. We have to do both, get wet and obtain distance!

Another negative results of the either/or mindset is it forces us to locate blame. After I assume the either/or mindset in times, then automatically the one who is opposing me should be incorrect and for that reason can also be responsible when things fail. If we are searching for somebody responsible it requires us from responsibility for our very own actions also it removes us from being empathic to a different person.

Without empathy, it’s very difficult to originate from a location of empathy. And without empathy, we de-humanize your partner. Caused by dehumanization is believing that your partner is under us and for that reason worthy of whatever bad things come their way.

Within the situation of my hubby and also the lady he delivered to jail, instead of dehumanize her by having an either/or mindset, he saw her as both human and worthy of something good, while she required responsibility on her action.

Every time we decide a both/and mindset over an either/or mindset we release ourselves from getting to locate anyone to blame so we keep in touch to the human experience without dehumanizing someone else.

A both/and mindset doesn&rsquot mean we must forget about being change-makers on the planet. The planet needs change-makers now more than ever before. But there should never be peace and empathy on the planet when we can&rsquot do both&mdashget within the river to have the power and climb the mountain to determine the calm. Among my teachers in the Upaya Institute stated, &ldquoA nudge of calm can shift bad weather.&rdquo&nbspBe the nudge, and not the storm.

About Paula Stephens

Paula Stephens, M.A. is really a speaker, author, yogi and also the founding father of&nbspCrazy Good Grief.&nbspShe is studying to get endorsed like a Buddhist Chaplain and presently functions as a volunteer chaplain and yoga teacher in a jail near her home in Denver, Colorado. She is another hospice chaplain, wellness coach, and ERYT Yoga Instructor.

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