Simone, Arianna and Doggone Contradictions
It's been nearly three and a half years since life was interrupted and upended by a surprise stage IV cancer diagnosis followed by a fairly brutal regimen of chemotherapy and radiation. Since then much has morphed and changed--inside and out. I grew a new pair of eyes and since emerging from what I fondly refer to as "my Leonard Cohen period"--a world where life was observed from 8 feet below the earth--it was nearly impossible to return to 'business as usual'.
Food tasted differently, watching the news seemed more like an out of body experience, conflict took on shades of grey never noticed before. Instead of simply pointing arrows at what needed to change, the question that emerged from deep within a chemo haze was "what's the grief beneath the grievance"? Early last year I was asked to articulate the experience in a TED talk called "The Upside Of Cancer" and I shared what, for me, was an Alchemical shift in perspective.
Eventually I began writing again, this time blogging for Huffington Post until the AOL merger last winter. Having always written about social and racial justice, I continued to engage in topical conversation but felt somehow that mostly I was adding to an already saturated, congested and noisy world where everyone was talking (if not shouting) all at once. It was at that time that I stopped contributing to the Huffington (and when I say 'contributing', I mean that). Since that time, I've written several responses to the $315 million sale and Ms. Huffington's indignant response to thousands of disappointed bloggers who were dismayed that in spite of her windfall, she would not be sharing the profits.
Since then I have stepped back to consider what inspires and fuels the contradictions within all of us--myself included. How does someone who has made a fortune by chastising the 'elite' for greediness--as she does in "Pigs At The Trough", a book that garnered millions as a New York Times best seller--defy the very principles she espouses so vehemently by dismissing (out of hand) those who helped her score a several hundred million dollar price tag.
Ms. Huffington certainly does not have the contradiction market cornered by any means, but after many hours on the front porch with Simone (the most insightful puppy I've ever met), we've decided this question is one worth pondering--and could very well be the key to some deeper understanding in a number of arenas.
Consider this an invitation to join Simone and I as we wrestle with what lies beneath contradictions in relationships, institutions and most importantly within ourselves.
More to come!