Take the Pressure Off: How to Harness Ambivalence


Recently, I realized I was in the grip of ambivalence running amuck. My mind was scrambling for the perfect solution to life’s major questions: Should I paint the walls coral and if so, which ones to paint and which ones not to paint? Should I leave that relationship, I found myself asking, month after month. Should I go to Hawaii or Thailand? Take Cranio Sacral or Reiki classes? Blond highlights or red all over?

Believe me, living in Northern California is all day every day choice-making with a vast and wonderful banquet of interesting, juicy, prime options for enhancing an incredible life. And ambivalence, talk about the ball and chain rut maker!

Regardless of the traffic in my head, some kind of auto-pilot started to line me up with a steady flow of insights. One of them, Martha Beck’s insightful article on how to move with ambivalence.

1. Refocus

2. Delegate

3. Research

4. Do anything

5. Do something completely different

The best surprise of all came when Martha described satori, a surprise because I realized this was exactly the practice I naturally fell into. Satori is a Zen practice that when "faced with two mutually contradictory options, trust in an intensely personal inner voice arises to allow utter detachment from social context, opening up the connection to deep inner peace", peace that I can bank on bringing into my daily life. And, believe me, ending repeating cycles of contraction is worth the ambivalence meditation.

Image: razee