Complexity? Yikes!

Complexity.

The state or quality of being intricate or complicated. 

This very well could be the exact same definition for life itself. Life is inherently complicated; it takes turns on a whim, we can go from lack and limitation to boundless abundance seemingly in the blink of an eye. The story unfolds and what once seemed straightforward, suddenly becomes… complicated. Our minds not only match but can supersede complications in all regards, but somehow it’s like there’s a battle for the winner of complication. 

Life: look, it’s complicated.

Mind: no, you look, I’m complicated so you can’t also be complicated.

Life: what am I supposed to do about that?

Mind: clearly you’re incompetent, so I’m going to keep my complication but I’m going to make you look uncomplicated.

Life: wait, what?

It happens all the time. Our minds try to simplify anything that looks too complex because it wants to be able to make sense of everything. It uses all that it can to help us make a decision about something (because just sitting back and letting things unfold is just too stressful) so it tries with all of its might to strip away all the fine nuances and make things as straightforward as possible. 

Imagine looking at Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, one of my favorite paintings. All the tiny brush strokes and swirls and dozens of different hues of blue. Imagine now that your mind just can’t handle all of it; it can’t handle all the details, all the colors, all the intricately placed pieces and so it strips all of that away and tells you that it’s simply a painting of a town at night. Boring. Dull. Vacant of all its dynamic creativity and potential. This is what happens to us in our lives every single day. Your mind strips down everything because it struggles to take it all in. But the more we push ourselves to hold the complexity of every given situation, the greater our minds endurance to take in the whole, exquisite picture. 

When talking with people about their experiences, the conversation often collapses into a space of where no two experiences can exist at the same time, no two realities can exist at the same time, and so only one must win.

“They did the best they could.”

“I’ve been brutally hurt in the past.”

“I thought I was stronger than this.”

When we allow for complexity, our experiences get to become:

“They did the best they could, and it still wasn’t enough.”

“I’ve been brutally hurt in the past and it’s difficult for me to trust in certain ways, but I’m hopeful and maybe the ways that I do still trust will spark new ways of trusting.”

“I thought I was stronger than this, and now I’m getting to see that there’s strength in letting myself feel whatever comes up.”

When we allow for complexity we go from drawing stick figures to sculpting with clay. And with that, the world within our mind transforms from black and white to brilliant technicolor, giving us options and opportunities that we were previously blind to. Suddenly The Starry Night within us pops with vibrance and it’s a world of remarkable beauty and possibilities. Allowing for complexity is allowing the full expression of life and soon we move from cringing at the twists and turns to delighting in life’s magical ability to shape shift and maybe even begin to entertain the possibility that we could do that very same thing and find incredible happiness throughout the process.

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