Friday, April 15, 2011

TRANSITIONAL THINKING – Polarity and Problems

*“All polarities contain two poles and an energy system that flows around them in an infinity loop.”

For example, the polarity we constantly readjust and manage flows around Stuff We Need and Stuff We Bought but don’t need for our current Adagio population.

Every household must manage this peculiar polarity. Consider the TLC television program on hoarders. To Keep or to Throw Away/Don’t Buy in the First Place are the poles our energy and emotions flow around and between.

Until Oswald and Johnson’s book, I thought my husband’s attitude toward my valued stuff was a problem. I’d never connected with the concept of polarities. We’ve experienced more than 40 years of looking cross-eyed at each other’s stuff.

After so many years of habitual attitude I am realizing that cognitive recognition of polarities-poorly-managed does not easily become an automatic, joyous thinking process. Transitional thinking takes awareness and work.

So here we sit at Adagio. We have explored the concept of polarities and problems. But, my husband can’t extricate the lawn mower from the garden shed because I have stored boxes of paper making supplies including onion skins, unused flower pots, and other stuff we spent money on and might need in July. (Fortunately my Mukilteo neighbors do not leave treasures out on the street like neighbors do in Pella, IA and Wyckoff, NJ and Oak Lawn, IL.)

We do not need a bigger shed. We need to haul everything out and only replace what we will actually, truly use. This should not be difficult. Organizing our outdoor stuff should be a simple polarity and not a problem.

I am picturing the cartoon character, big Red the Rooster nodding in agreement. "I say, I say should be.”

Also, we need to clean the shed together. We have not done so for three years because accountability can cause loud discussions. Neither of us is eager to experience dissension.

But if we recognize that both Keeping and Pitching have an up side and a down side, and we both agree to keep an open mind before we unlatch the shed door, we could reach an amicable conclusion. I say, I say, couldn’t we?

1.   What is the purpose of the shed?
2.   Can we set up a “holding” space under the deck for questionable items?
3.   Can we identify the emotional attachment to a questionable item?
4.   Can anything be replaced more cheaply than divorce?

When we have successfully practiced polarity management, we deserve to reward ourselves. Perhaps a new pot.

*Oswald and Johnson. Managing Polarities in Congregations. The Alban Institute. 2010.

Johnson. Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems. HRD Press. 2006.

1 comment:

  1. Foghorn Leghorn is the rooster you are thinking of, I believe.