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Both, Please!


How are your enjoying your practice this week?

For this week's special treat, let's savor the sweet pleasure of the namaste gesture, both hands together working in powerful collaboration. Not just one or the other, but both, please!

What the heck does that mean?

"Hey, you got chocolate in my peanut butter! Hey, you got peanut butter on my chocolate! Delicious! Chocolate and peanut butter - two great tastes that go great together!" - Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Commercial

(Don't you just love the great disco walk in that commercial, or what?! Swagger, baby! Swagger!)

Just like Peanut Butter Cups, this week's Tip For Sanity explores the skill of Both/And.

What is Both/And?

Many people live perceive the world in terms of either/or. Black or white. This or that. Good or bad. Right/wrong. Patriot/terrorist. Victim/villain. My way or the highway, baby!

However, Creation isn't bipolar in Nature. Some beautiful animals also kill to survive. Some frightening, larger than life animals also have approached humans for help or for play.

Maybe reality isn't all about win-lose, maybe life doesn't have to be so binary.

We all have both beauty and flaws. All phenomena under the sun can be seen both for their pros and cons. Any act can be judged either good or bad, depending on the judge and the circumstances. A hammer can be used to shelter the homeless, or be used to destroy and do harm.

Just as we can recognize the inherent pros and cons in all things, we can also find powerful win-win problem-solving by putting together two apparently conflicting values.

How?

Let's say one side of you wants to go to work, but the other side wants to stay in bed. How can we reconcile this apparent conflict?

First, let's look at the core values behind each strategy. The "go to work" side might want to contribute security. The "stay home" side might be overdue for some rest.

With these two core values in hand, we can combine them to create powerful, generative questions, like this:

How can we honor A in a way that also B?

A: wants to contribute to security B: wants rest

A+B: How can I contribute to security today in a way that also lets me rest? or B+A: How can I rest today in a way that also contributes to my security?

Now that we have asked the question, there's room for strategies to appear where we only saw conflict before.

Maybe we'll decide to use a sick day today. Maybe we'll commit to an afternoon nap after work. Maybe we'll decide to go to work, but to sleep in a bit and go in later. Maybe we'll decide the rest can wait until the weekend. Even if we don't think of options, we can ask 5 friends for ideas we might not have considered: "I want to be able to rest more, but I also need my financial stability, what do you do to balance these?"

By combining both core values into one question, we honor and care for all values, simultaneously. A+B. Both/And.

Some people refer to this both/and practice as "power with".

Historically, domination structures have sought to power one demographic's set of needs over another. This is called "power over". The phrase, "Might makes right" is a phrase demonstrating power-over. It doesn't matter what you think or feel, I get my way despite you. This win-lose strategy often gives rise to resentment, anger and violence.

In a crisis of imagination, we sometimes give our power away to bullies or authority figures, because we don't have ideas of how to do power-with more effectively. When we quietly allow someone else to ignore our values and needs, we may be embodying power-under. People who live in power-under often become depressed, angry, violent or even suicidal.

But we can only do with others, what we first do with ourselves. By practicing "power-with" within our inner community, we are more able to practice "power-with" with others, and to guide them to "power-with" solutions among themselves.

A+B

Yin/Yang (both cycling within each other, both carrying a spark of the other)

Both/And

Win-Win

Your values and my values - both.

When we learn to co-operate with each other in win-win ways, we increase the level of peace, calm, balance, care, and compassion in our worlds.

How can we do A in a way that also B?

By asking this question, we empower the two sides to work together, instead of opposing each other. We create bridges, we build good-will, and we empower ourselves and others.

How might you integrate a power-with practice of A+B, like a namaste gesture to bring 2 hands together?

Whose chocolate can you mix with your peanut butter to get something really disco delicious?

Let's play with it!

Walking the Talk How can you benefit from this week's Tip for Sanity? Here are a few questions to help you get the most out of it:

  1. Describe - What is the practice described here? (Just the facts, Jack - Who, What, When, Where, How)

  2. Describe a situation where you are at odds with yourself? What core value is each side trying to contribute? What is the A+B question that would unite them? What 3 new strategies can you think of using this question? What 5 friends might you ask for ideas about how they address the question themselves?

  3. Try Both/And with your inner community. Where does your protector, or your spiritual perfectionist, or your health-perfectionist invoke power-over the rest of you? What core values do they carry? What does the inner child or other inner community member value? How can you present an A+B question that would bring power-with to serve life for both?

  4. Pros/Cons - What are some of the benefits of this practice? What are some of the drawbacks?

  5. Compare/Contrast - Think about expressions of power-over and power-under in our world. In what situations might power-with practices work better? In what situations might another practice work better?

  6. Name one issue where you're having difficulty with a friend, colleague or loved one?

  7. Where might you use this A+B, Both/And practice to decrease friction and increase ease and sanity? Where else might you use it? At home? In your relationships? At work?

  8. How and where might you invite others to use this practice with you?

  9. What do you value as your biggest take away from this week's Tip For Sanity?

For more help with this tip, or if you’d like a free phone consultation toward an ongoing coaching relationship, call Maya toll-free 1.877.535.5438 M-Th 1-4pmET or click here to book an appointment.

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