In the high controversy testimony of Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford, there is an irresistible pull to line up on one side or the other. Who do I believe? Who do I trust? What are the values being honored-or dishonored? Even though I have strong opinions, it feels difficult to identify and acknowledge all aspects and to present a nuanced case in this legal and political system. This is especially true when trying to incorporate realities of how memory actually works in a highly emotional situation when a legal and political system demands incontrovertible facts and sober witnesses-all without acknowledging power imbalances.
This is an example of duality.
Here’s another example.
Following the lead of several other states, Minnesota just announced that drivers will have a new choice on the license. Instead of choosing between male and female, there is a new category called non-binary.
Most times in life, we live in a tyranny of duality. Do I do this-or that? Am I this-or that? When confronted with a big decision, we’re often urged to draw up a list of pros and cons for the choice. This is a worthwhile (and left-brained) way to choose. Other times we are urged to ‘go with our gut’, a worthwhile (and right-brained) way to choose.
However, notice once again, it’s a dual choice (left-brained vs. right-brained).
In her blog, Kelly Epperson, urges us to be whole brained.
In coaching, I try to encourage my clients who have an either/or choice to always look for at least one additional choice. The best decision-making process is always more than a this or that. You cheat yourself of possibility and risk dishonoring your own values if you feel impelled to make a decision that feels like all or nothing.
Of course, there are dualistic decisions we must make. Do I accept this job offer at this wage? Do I marry this person or not? But if there is undue anxiety around the choice, it’s often (not always) an indication that there is some value that needs airing and honoring. As much as possible, ask yourself and others what is missing in this choice? What’s another way to look at this? What is a third-or fourth way-I can approach this?
Just as our bureaucracies are starting to accept there are more than male and female choices, and as our political system tries to grapple with different truths, so we as individuals have the choice—to see our choices as more than either/or.
May we pursue our paths, allowing ourselves the freedom to envision more than two choices for ourselves,