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Phoenix Rising: Lessons From the Chilean Miners

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Phoenix Rising: Lessons From the Chilean Miners

“I think I had extraordinary luck. I was with God and with the devil. And I reached out for God.” Mario Sepulveda, one of the 33 Chilean miners pulled to safety this week, gave us a poignant example of the duality of life with these moving words.

How many times do we hear people say “it’s not black and white.” They may be talking about a particular situation in their lives, or an opinion on something important to them. They tell us that the truth is more complicated, and lies somewhere in between the black and white  —  in the gray zone. This gray zone is a blending of belief systems and circumstances supposedly beyond our control.: Le

Let’s look at the beauty of a tuxedo cat. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of living with a tuxedo, they are black cats with white paws and bellies, and they often have white on their faces. The stark contrast between the shiny black fur and the glistening white patches creates a strikingly handsome animal. I don’t want to imply that black is negative and white is positive  —  they are both beautiful, but opposite. No gray exists anywhere on their bodies. Tuxedos are black and white  —  no in-between. The colors blend together to make an individual full of character. Tuxedos teach us about loving and learning from both aspects of life. Every situation has the potential for a positive and negative outcome  —  it is we who determine what that outcome will be.

Tuxedos show us not to resist duality, but to embrace it. There is nothing in life that is free of a positive and a negative dual nature. The good news is that despite being in the midst of negativity, there is a positive solution. In every cloud, there is a silver lining waiting to be discovered. And within that same cloud is the potential for a rain storm.

The gray zone of life is an illusion; it is a place of our own making. When situations become uncomfortable, our human nature requires that we find an underlying reason for our circumstances. We often blame someone else for creating our drama. We don’t want to look at both aspects  —  the black and the white, the good and the bad, the positive and the negative.

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Susan Wagner

Dr. Susan Wagner is a board certified veterinary neurologist whose pioneering work acknowledges the bioenergetic interaction between people and animals. She is an advocate for change in the area of interpersonal violence and animal cruelty, and works toward a greater understanding surrounding the health implications of the human-animal bond. Dr. Wagner is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University Veterinary College, a Level IV Healing Touch for Animals practitioner and co-author of Through A Dog’s Ear.

38 comments

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5:10PM PDT on Oct 28, 2010

Kristen-your thinking I think is on the right track-I find now ......in life--Miracles can happen and GOd to many people is real.

3:16AM PDT on Oct 27, 2010

Yes Kay L. and Susan P. - life has many, many shades of grey in it.

Life is not all black and white. If we do not see, work with, accept and learn from the grey, we can end up being very close-minded, opinionated, limited beings (believe me, I know a few of them - and I'm sure everyone else does too).

Maybe I just need more than 2 reads of this article to understand what exactly is being gotten at, but although this article had some good points in it, I couldn't really follow the logic, links, background or reason for it (other than to express the miracle of the miner rescue). Maybe someone else can enlighten me?

12:02AM PDT on Oct 21, 2010

Well, I think there are LOTS of terms we could use to describe, or refer to, the "dualities" we find in life. Of course there are positives and negatives to almost everything -- every circumstance, object, idea or experience. That is, there are many inherent factors. Crazy thing is, although every one of 'em might be valid, they can also be inconsistent or even mutually exclusive. It all depends on the context, or theoretical orientation, you apply to the analysis. For instance, take a simple question like, "am I a good housekeeper?" Well, the ans. might be "yes" if you consider all the other stuff you have to do every day. It might be "no" if you compare yourself to several friends who are better housekeepers. It might be "yes" again when you consider your good values and intentions, but "no" again if you consider how many times you've actually given other stuff priority.... "Reality" is so amazing when you consider how it can hop around all over the place, shapeshift, etc... And what of the more nebulous, abstract ideas like love, honor or duty vs. housekeeping....! What amazes me sometimes is that humans can communicate meaningfully at all! So is all "reality" black or white, with the gray areas only of our own construct? Maybe -- but I think far more problems have been obscured vs. illuminated and eventually solved by people's natural tendency (it's so much easier, for one thing) to see things in "black or white."

9:47AM PDT on Oct 20, 2010

Thank God they finally decided to get them out these guys were in the mine for months I can't believe it took so long God finally fought the devil and won finally they spent the money needed to get them out

9:56AM PDT on Oct 19, 2010

I basically liked the parts of this article on the miners themselves, however, I do have a couple of points I take issue with. One is this quote: The colors (of the Tuxedo cat) blend together to make an individual full of character. I thought we were long past thinking that skin (or fur) color had any effect on character!!

Two, the rain storm in the cloud is very likely the silver lining, esp. in this day and age of drought or lack of fresh water.

6:03AM PDT on Oct 19, 2010

Sorry Janice, but if I were to put my hope ONLY into other human beings, I would be in a sorry state indeed. We are not God. We can control very little, actually....and make enormous mistakes constantly. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't try and become more god-like. Compassion, good works and mercy are great gifts indeed.... but I will put my trust where it belongs, with God. Our choices play a great role in our lives. We cannot blame God for the evil in this world...much of it is our own choosing....even the choice on how we deal with misfortune.

1:42PM PDT on Oct 18, 2010

I agree with Kay L "
Life is more like a black-and-white photograph, with many, many shades of grey. There are sharp edges and fuzzy gradients. Life is too intricate, complicated and every-changing to be simplified into a single duality, moral or otherwise".
This is what makes everone unique.

10:22AM PDT on Oct 18, 2010

I have to take issue with the claim that any god rescued those miners. Let's face it. It was HUMAN BEINGS, who worked around the clock to save those men. If no human beings had embarked on this effort to save them, they would stiil be there, and that is where they would have finally run out of food and died.

Those of us who do not believe in a god are not without hope, as at least one commenter postulated. Rather, we hope for exactly what these miners received - help from actual human beings, who care. If we all REALLY cared about and helped one another, no one would have to ever wait for help from some supernatural force that will likely not arrive. That is the only way we will ever get through life - by people helping one another. Therein lies our hope.

8:10AM PDT on Oct 18, 2010

Excellent points, Paul. How quickly we forget....the Chileans have suffered greatly, and their determination is evident in their history. VIVA CHILE!

7:11AM PDT on Oct 18, 2010

"Supplanted". Sorry

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