While walking along the edge of the woods today, I looked down and saw this red orange crayon. “Delight” is the most accurate word to describe the feeling that instantly hit me when I saw it. The storyteller in me wondered with curiosity how a brilliant, nearly new crayon came to be abandoned or lost in the grass. My inner child marveled at the possible uses for that crayon — a scrapbook, a journal entry, a homemade card, or a collage.
The philosopher in me started thinking about the fact that this crayon was a combination of red and orange. That little word — “and” — adds so much variety to a box of crayons: red and a little bit of yellow to make “red orange”; blue and a hint of yellow to make “turquoise”; yellow and a tiny dash of blue to make “chartreuse”. Without “and” we’d have a very small crayon box (and my inner child would be quite bored!).
In all seriousness, though, the word “and” adds richness to our lives, as well. I think of the many times I’ve viewed the world as either black OR white. I look back at the times I saw my actions as either right OR wrong, my attempts as either success OR failure, and myself as either good OR bad.
Then I think about what I learned during my recovery from Binge-Eating Disorder: I can be beautiful AND a mess. I can be in recovery AND have setbacks. I can eat cake AND be a good person. I can have flaws AND be loved. I can be angry AND want to forgive. I can take care of my needs AND help someone else. I can feel joy AND pain. I can be grateful AND have regret.
These realities have taken a while to sink in. As soon as I think, “I’ve got this!”, I slip right back into either-or, which leads me to be reactive. I felt that last night when I was overwhelmed by my partner’s negative attitude and thought, “That’s it! I’ve had enough! I have to get away from this.” Then I remembered the word “and”. He can have his attitude AND I can have mine. I can be upset by his talk AND I can understand where it comes from. I can be frustrated AND still love him. I can be me AND let him be him. (Thank you, Melody Beattie’s “Codependent No More”!)
Indeed, the richness of life exists in that little word “and”. Take some time to look for the “ands” that make your life rich.
Peace, joy, and health!