The Paradoxical Dance of Life

By Asha Honeysett

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Driving along, listening to music, and one of my favourite artists sings this line…

“You make your plans and you hear God laughing.”

It got me thinking…

Have you ever stopped to appreciate God’s wonderful sense of humour? I see it in the paradoxes of life.

As a human behaviourist, with many years in the psychology discipline, what has become bleedingly obvious but seldom addressed in polite social circles, is that humans have core needs that need to be satiated in order to realise their full potential, or to self-actualise as Carl Rogers would say. The difficulty is, is that often what allows for the ascension to full psychological height is counterintuitive and requires coming into contact with what we are evolutionarily geared to avoid.

Humans are geared in one direction, away from pain and towards reward.

The problem is, the wiring that compels us in this direction is now out-dated for the modern day “threats” we encounter or, perhaps even more accurate, imagine, and the majority of humans are spending all their time avoiding exactly what is needed in order to self-develop.

It is now regarded as age-old wisdom that those who have the greatest propensity to adapt are the ones who are most successful in their environment.

Humans face unprecedented times, and a rapidly changing culture-scape, withuncontrollable variables.

The problem is, either we wait for evolution to take its course, or we recognise that in order to cope with change, I must change.

Our most primitive wiring is to engage the fight/flight/freeze, or in severely desperate times, flop response. That is, one, to approach the threat, believing I can take it out; two, to run from the threat in recognising the chances of me coming off second best are high; three, freeze and hope that the threat leaves me alone; or four, the nervous system simply recognises being conscious for this moment is not in my best interest and takes it out of my control; for you see, the kindest death is the one you are not cognisant of.

It takes higher conscious awareness in order to regulate the nervous system when it fires with the fight/flight/freeze or flop response.

But what does that actually mean?

Fulfilling our core needs requires the embracing of “the whole” and dancing between the two sides of the coin, rather than only satiating the half we like, or that keeps us comfortable both within ourselves and within societal norms.

This means developing the ability to:

Embrace the known with the unknown
To actively pursue growth and find it with stillness
To allow hunger to promote youth
To be unique and accepted as “one of, and the same” simultaneously
To give freely without expectation in order to be richly rewarded.

As an 18 year old after experiencing great personal loss where my family would never be the same, I wrote in my journal, trying to make sense of the immense feelings I was experiencing:

“The moments that you define yourself, are the moments you are completely selfless (aka not defined by the self)”.

I find this paradox to be as true today, particularly with the current global affairs, as it was the day I wrote it. It is the moments that we let go of our conditioning, of false pride, and emotional pain, and surrender; to find our ability to accept, grow, and give, that our true self emerges.

What I have come to know is,

“You will find yourself in the depths of the tunnel, in time of tragedy and chaos, so don’t fret; who you find is ultimately who you are destined to become.”

Don’t avoid the work, you are waiting for you!


Discover your purpose.

" The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. "
Mark Twain