First Posted August 18, 2010.
A fine line marks our lives.
Its a fine line that separates us from who we are today and our better selves,
between what we think and what we know,
between what we desire and what we seek,
between what we believe and what we do.
A fine line between what we are willing to try and what we will sacrifice.
A fine line between making a difference, and wasting our lives.
A fine line between fear and determination.
A fine line between failure and success.
A fine line between good and evil,
between altruism and narcissism,
between nobility and inhumanity.
A fine line between who we are and how people perceive us.
A fine line between who others are and how we perceive them.
A fine line between us and people who are different than us.
A fine line between what is normal and what is abnormal.
A fine line between what is acceptable and and what is not.
A fine line between comedy and tragedy,
between humor and horror,
between the fullness of life and the loss of it.
Yet, we live in a world where all these fine lines are portrayed as wide gulfs that we are unable to cross.
These gulfs represent the worst of ourselves. They are what divide us. They treat life as a dichotomy between one thing and another. As a result, they rid us of the beauty of ambiguity.
The fine line is a moving line that forces us to pay attention, to be aware, and to appreciate the subtle nuances that actually exist, so that we live as seekers, explorers and discoverers of what life offers.
To live with the fine line is to live with ambiguity. To do so means we break out of the ever narrowing boxes of perception that close us in, make us defensive, isolated, and out of touch with the world that exists on the other side.
The gulf of dichotomy is a fantasy world. It is not real. It is an illusion. It is a world of hermetically sealed categories that we embrace to avoid engagement what those people and arenas that we do not understand.
There is a fine line that most of us never cross. It is a line that breaks us out of the conformity of dichotomy, of the we-versus-them mindset that is a product of manipulation and control.
Are we afraid?
It is okay to say so.
Do we think for ourselves?
Or do we follow some conventional line of thought to fit in, to belong, to find some connection beyond ourselves.
Do we lack personal initiative?
Do our actions defines us?
Actions of purpose and impact, not just calendars full of activities.
Life's goodness and beauty doesn't come in a box from an online retailer. They aren't a commodity to acquire, to trade or to hedge against. It isn't one thing or another, it is embedded in the ambiguity that defines the fine line.
Recently, I wrote ...
Picture with me walking out to the edge of what you know and have experienced, and seeing a line.
That line is the horizon of your life. It is way out there.
Or, it is right here, in front of you, close at hand, always marking the line that confronts you. Day by day, that line is getting closer and closer. Avoid it and you'll be boxed in, cornered, paralyzed by the ambiguity of the fine line.
The fine line is the horizon of our life. We live up against it everyday. Face up to it and find a life and work filled with goodness and beauty, meaning and fulfillment, and a difference that truly matters.
We have a choice. Accept the fine line, step across it, and embrace a world of ambiguity, goodness and beauty. Or, shrink back from it, embracing the gulf of dichotomy, and imprisoning ourselves in our own world of irreconcilable difference.
It's a fine line. Will you embrace it?