Boxing or Ballet

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It is simply part of the human condition.  We twist oursleves around a discursive thinking process where logic and reason prevail.  Our minds ramble on and on trying to make sense of an idea, conflict or challenge.

  • Should I play it safe or be frivolous?
  • I want to do this, but maybe I’m not good enough.
  • Is the idea I have good or bad?
  • Should I sign up for boxing or ballet?

Last week I attended a writing workshop by best selling author and teacher, Natalie Goldberg.  She made the argument that 90% of writing is listening and receiving.  I thought the statement was worth sharing because it can be applied to just about anything you and I do!

Breaking Through Polarity

In an attempt to free our minds from the trap of polarity, Natalie walked us through various exercises.  One of which required each person to list conflicts they struggle with on a consistent basis.  She asked us to map them out in a typical “this or that” manner.

The group began taking turns sharing what they had written.  And that is when I heard one woman in particular.  She stood up and dead panned, “Boxing or Ballet”.  It was rich in symbolism, and I found it to be a fantastic metaphor about identity formation and the struggle to break free from the boxes we are placed in.

Sometimes, in order to find an answer, or to simply find your footing, you must go beyond the obvious options.  “Boxing or Ballet?”  Perhaps there is a third or fourth choice somewhere along the continuum.

Breaking through the noise of labeling, judging and analyzing is of great benefit to aspiring writers.  It frees a person so they are able to speak from someplace else.  I’m wondering if you and I can take that same challenge?  Step out of our comfort zone and find new insight.

Maybe it starts by taking a small risk.

I don’t know what exactly…breakfast for dinner? Allowing yourself a few moments each day to sit and relax?  It could be any number of things.

Crack open your everday structure, break through the obvious choices, and give yourself permission to view something from an entirely different angle.

Boxing or Ballet?

Why must that even be the question?



  1. Linda Peterson  May 18, 2010

    Hi David,
    I love the metaphor! Listening to YOU at the ACA convention helped me find the courage to start a blog (view at I’ve gotten wonderful feedback in emails, seen that the things I write about make their way into conversations with clients, and am discovering the personal benefit of writing every week. Recently a client was struggling with keeping her cool while parenting, so I wrote up a list of 10 tips (available on my website) and she loved it! Thanks for being such a positive influence and resource.

  2. terry lord  May 18, 2010

    One of the most useful exercises I ever did was to take off my watch for the weekend. I was amazed at how slavishly I attended to those two little hands; how much they dictated what I did, when I did it, etc. It was remarkably freeing to discover I wasn’t automatically hungry at noon because I didn’t know it was noon. I actually got hungry about 1:30. Try it and be prepared to be amazed.

  3. David  May 19, 2010

    Thank you Linda. I am really enjoying your blog. I have a friend looking to find a good WordPress template. I like yours and was wondering what theme you are using?

  4. David  May 19, 2010


    Just saw it is Ocean Mist. I’ll let my friend know. Thanks!


  5. David  May 19, 2010


    Love that idea! I need to give that a try as I am always bound by my watch. Sometimes, when I am feeling a bit overwhelmed I’ll become so regimented that I feel like a robot. I become so structured that I don’t allow myself time to just be. I’ll let you know how it goes!


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