Rivals or allies?

Xmas lights by Michelle beks

I am exploring the idea, right now, that battle, conflict, adversaries and rivals are part of an old way of thinking that is not serving us anymore. It has been inspired, in large part, by a book called The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, by Charles Eisenstein, that sometime-Wellness-Almanac-contributor Sarinda Hoilett nudged in my direction. Eisenstein suggests that we’ve bought into this meta-narrative, this story of separation, struggle and scarcity, and the story is enforced by all our institutions, but it really doesn’t serve us. In fact, it wounds us.


As if to reinforce this, a friend sent me a speech last week, that has been circulating from professional woman to professional woman in Australia, delivered by the 44 year old winner of the Woman Lawyer of the Year, which basically blows up the whole idea of “leaning in” and says, this is frickin’ exhausting. And this whole system, (she’s talking about the legal system, but it is baked into all our systems – media/journalism, politics, business, relationships, sport) is fundamentally aggressive and adversarial. She says, “the law basically invites lawyers to solve problems by firs making them bigger, and then aggressively holding a position until a decision is imposed or a compromise based on brinksmanship is reached.” She says she doesn’t naturally think like that, but she’s learned how to excel, but that has come at a price. It’s dimmed her light.


It’s time, she says, for us all, to think like problem-solvers, instead of gladiators. To imagine ourselves as allies, collectively trying to make things better, instead of as opponents, trying to get the best for ourselves, and our team.

Michelle Beks’ beautiful photo of a Pemberton Meadows sunset, set off by the farm’s cheery strand of Christmas lights filled me with the warm and fuzzier, and I’m grateful she gave me permission to share it with you.

But when I laid it into the content management system and was prompted to write a headline, this is what came out: rivals or allies? Are the Christmas lights duelling with nature’s lightshow? Or are they both singing the same song of wonder and magic and joy?

What might happen if we shifted the way we look at our adversaries and imagined them as our allies? What if we opened ourselves to a deep realization that we all have something to contribute. And no matter how vast the problems we encounter might seem, it’s problem-solvers, not gladiators, that we need, to tackle them.

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