Robert Frost’s ‘Fire and Ice’ begins, “Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice.” I have been thinking about fire lately. A lot. About the paradox of flame, how quickly it can shift from nurture to destruction.
At the extreme fire becomes the negative of what, in moderation, is its best feature. Which makes me understand better, deeper, again the problem with either/or thinking. ‘If you’re not with me, you are against me’ is a simplistic formula for polarization, leaving no room whatever for the very real shades of gray in which we in fact live.
Just because I may not share your opinion does not mean I am going to take action against you. A great illness in our private attitude and public discourse has, in recent years, arisen from this toxic formula for intolerance. It implies enforced homogeneity, an unsettling dismissal of the very melting pot of difference that has kept us strong, innovative, tolerant.
The conscious feminine offers a simple antidote by holding the paradox of the both/and. This energy – available to men and women alike – says, ‘there is room for your belief AND room for mine.’ Difference does not equal wrong or bad. Difference is not a square extreme trying to fit into an either/or hole. Difference is just difference. If we could hold mutual respect in our hearts for the fact of difference absent judgment and labels, how much more civil our discourse; how much richer our resources of understanding, compassion, creativity. How much fuller our lives lived from abundant goodwill rather than the scarcity of ‘other is wrong/bad.’