Are you comfortable living with polarities?

“Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” ~Shakespeare

Around the globe, many of us are experiencing deep frustration and despair right now. Others are expanding joyfully into new ways of being and seeing.

And most of us are dancing with both.


A long-time client, Erica, is struggling. At the end of 2017, she left a high-paying, high-stress corporate training position. She cashed out her 401K to fund a new business, and due to sluggish sales, she is facing a possible home foreclosure.

Despite her struggles, she shared that over the past few months, she’s also never felt more alive, more hopeful about her future and more excited about the possibilities she envisions down the road. Sound crazy?

Erica, along with millions of us, is experiencing what we call polarity. How is it possible to live with these extremes? The concept of living with polarity is not new. From as far back as we can remember, we’ve been fascinated with the balance between light and dark, contraction and expansion and how close tears are to laughter—polarities are everywhere.

In fact, many of my colleagues in the field of mindfulness and leadership believe polarity—creating consciously from wholeness—is the key to unleashing enormous untapped potential.

Author Richard Rohr says, “The dualistic mind (either/or thinking) cannot process things like infinity, mystery, God, grace, suffering, sexuality, death, or love.”

If we are able to hold opposite feelings and experiences: frustrations—that are very real—and our highest aspirations, we open ourselves up to a vast unknown of possibility. To what I call “the great wide open.” (Read my recent blog post Action-Motivation-Action  on what happened when I wrestled with inner polarities.)

I encourage you to pause and be open to the many gifts that can come from this thinking. Pull up two chairs and invite the extremes you’re experiencing to tea! What would they share? As you consider the concept of polarities, you might ask yourself:

  • What are the current polarities in my life/career/relationships?
  • Which end of the spectrum do I tend to gravitate towards (continuously hopeful/optimistic or chronically negative and discouraging)?
  • Am I comfortable holding these extremes in the same space or do I want them at opposite ends of the building?!
  • If I were to describe this dance (of extremes) would it be a Texas two-step, the jitterbug, a waltz or Michael Jackson’s Thriller?
  • What opportunities might come forth from “being” with both extremes (i.e., shifts, new perspectives, ideas, etc.)?

As you compassionately examine areas of your life where polarities exist, consider what brilliant breakthroughs might be awaiting if you’re willing to start pausing, becoming curious, listening more and including “and” as often as you include “or” in your debates. One of my favorite quotes? “Many things are true at once.”



Join me here at 1440 Multiversity in the ancient CA redwoods Oct. 26-28 for New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat.

  • Retreats are ideal if you’re in transition, exploring, “What’s next?” and want to create new ways of being. Join soulful, like-minded women in an empowering and deeply supportive environment this fall for two restorative women’s self-renewal retreats. I’ll be in the ancient CA redwoods at 1440 Multiversity Oct. 26-28; learn more.
  • Craving authentic community and want to find (or create) your tribe? Learn more about our global sisterhood of RTA-Certified Facilitators  and empower/support women in your community! More here on how to become a RTA-Certified Facilitator and join our inner circle ($100 off through Friday, 9/30; includes private coaching with me).
  • Want to help you your employees, organization or conference members rock their game by learning the art and science of self-care? Schedule me to present a custom work-life balance/resiliency presentation or workshop in 2019. I travel and speak around the globe at conferences, leadership retreats and employee events; one of my most popular topics is Finding Balance in a 24/7 World: The Art & Science of Self-Renewal. Learn more.

Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/author/speaker Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women experience balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum.  She is the author of three books on life balance and living intentionally including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 16-year-old son. More on her background here.