Picture this. The day before Thanksgiving. Waking up to about eight inches of beautiful fresh white snow outside our Little House in the Big Woods. The wood stove humming and throbbing to heat our home, relishing its breakfast of hardwood logs.
Still, we shiver. The back-up gas heater kicked in during the night. It’s frigid for November. I toss more logs into the ever-hungry stove. The logs clink hard against each other, promising more heat.
Barry still slumbers so I sip tea and ponder conflict. Oh, how I loved writing and pondering yesterday’s blog! Oh, how it resonated and thrilled and danced in my psyche all day long yesterday while the wind blew sideways and we purchased our first organic buying club order here in L’Anse, and we traveled up to Houghton on icy roads for Barry to cover a hockey game for his job at our local weekly newspaper.
One might imagine a morning breakfast of hot steaming grains, perhaps oatmeal or wheat berries or quinoa, to jump-start such a freezing morning. Instead I whirred together buckwheat groats and cashews in the food processor. Added chunks of frozen bananas and, OK, maybe some vanilla yogurt just because it smiled so dreamily from its perch in the refrigerator. Healthy ice cream for breakfast!
The pulsing clamor of the food processor woke my husband.
“I thought you were grinding rocks again,” he muttered as he settled on the couch, still sleepy-eyed.
“I don’t think people understand me,” I said.
He rolled his eyes silently. It was obviously going to be one of those mornings in the Little House in the Big Woods.
“Did you read my blog about conflict last night?” asked the eager blog-writer wife whilst munching her frozen ice cream-like breakfast.
You could tell by the way his eyes lingered on the lightly falling snow that he had not. Even though he’s my #1 Blog Reader & Supporter, bless his husbandly heart.
“I skimmed it, ” said the husband honestly. “I don’t like thinking about conflict.”
YOU DON’T LIKE THINKING ABOUT CONFLICT?
“But, Barry!” I insisted, “Oh my goodness, you wouldn’t believe how MUCH I learned about conflict yesterday just from writing that blog! I learned how to better handle conflict–”
“What conflict?” he asked, taking his first sip of coffee.
“You know, like conflicted thoughts. Let’s say you have a scared thought about not wanting to drive in snow and maybe you’re going to die on the way to Houghton. Yet the other part of you wants to go to Houghton. That’s the kind of conflict that we humans deal with all the time.”
“It wasn’t a conflict yesterday,” Barry sighed. “I think of conflict as negativity between two people. You’re talking about stress. And there wasn’t much stress yesterday.”
“Conflict starts when thoughts oppose each other! And that creates stress,” I began to passionately explain, but then thought the better of it. His eyes had glazed over.
After 35 years of marriage, I knew how to proceed. I smiled and changed the subject.
It really doesn’t matter if others understand you or not. It’s not even necessary to explain yourself. That’s part of what I learned once again yesterday. How to better allow all of Life to simply exist, just as it is, whether it appears to oppose or disagree or challenge or support.
I think I’ll be able to handle conflict and stress better after yesterday. Don’t you love it when you write a blog post and stick with it until it heals an inner schism within you? That sometimes we have the patience to stick with an inner conflicted area until it resolves?
Read an article by Harvard art historian Jennifer Roberts early this week about immersive attention how much we can learn by staying with a painting or piece of art for lengthy periods of time. She requested students study a particular painting for three hours. As the hours ticked by the students learned more and more about the art. Details sometimes took hours to reveal themselves.
In our fast society, we often read a blog or study a painting in five minutes before moving on to the next titillation. I love when I can stay with a subject like “conflict” for an entire day and learn more and more about how it presents itself, what it wants, its gifts and challenges. To learn more nuances. To not turn away from it too quickly because it hurts. To learn how to be present to it without repressing it, without getting caught up in inner war. To learn how our prior viewpoint might be limited, not full and alive with subtleties.
I am so grateful for blogging and for new realizations and for folks who express their own unique truths.
Now, is the turkey thawed yet? Even though I wished you Happy Thanksgiving yesterday, may I wish it to you again today? You wouldn’t be conflicted about that, would you? *grin*