Embracing contradictions

I just got back from a week-plus in Israel.  What an experience, what a country.  One thing that our (absolutely incredible – talk to me before you plan a trip there) tour guide pointed out repeatedly, as we moved north to south, west to east, was the inherent contradictions in the country.  It’s a tiny country, no bigger than the state of New Jersey.  But the geography is so varied.  Mountains, seas, warm, cold, desert, lush.  Parts of the land are obviously as old as time.  And parts are so new and modern.  It’s a land of contradictions in many ways.  Old, new, peaceful, full of strive and conflict.

Isn’t that the way we are too?  Full of light, full of darkness.  Experiencers of joy, experiencers of resentments.  It’s important to understand that our biggest foibles often come from the same place as our biggest successes.  Struggle with impatience?  You also probably get things done and have lots of energy.  Feel a lot of anger?  You probably have a huge capacity to feel love.  One of the most precious gifts of yoga is the heightened ability to really see ourselves, as we are.  To make friends with ourselves.  Yes, we can absolutely work on refining our tendencies so we can be our best selves.  But we should start from a place of acceptance of the whole, as it is today.

At least in part, Israel’s contradictions make it the special place it is.  So too with us.  Embrace that truth, and grow from there.