Push Me Pull You—Life on the Razor’s Edge Part 1

(WOW! Just noticed I didn’t post this yesterday! But really, I wrote it yesterday, really I did!!)

I did not experience or express many extremes in childhood. It was solidly discouraged, in my memory.  Not too much joy or exuberance. Not too much sorrow or sobbing. Anger. Pride. Satisfaction. Disappointment.

Although I had to learn later to notice, name and express anger, joy or disappointment, I also realize that my parents were teaching me, probably unconsciously, to walk the noble middle path.

Is it ironic that Dr. Doolittle was one of my favourite children’s books series? Pushmi-Pullyu was a gazelle-unicorn cross with heads at each end, trying to go in opposite directions. In Tibetan mythology, the gazelle is a symbol of compassion, known for coming in between two fighters to resolve a conflict, offering itself as a sacrifice. The unicorn, another kind of deer, is  the fighting, triumphant creature. Hmm… something to ponder.

Read the text. A symbol of the eight fold path...

Read the text. A symbol of the eight fold path “Arya Magga” (the noble path of the dhamma) in Buddhism. An intricate representation of the Dharmachakra, or Buddhist eight spoked Wheel. Dhamma or Dharma (Photo credit: saamiblog)

The Noble Middle Path is the one between two extremes. The Noble Middle Path sounds much more elegant. Somehow, I think it’s a ruse: pulling us in to thinking it’s very noble and middle and therefore, easy.

There’s also the razor’s edge. Nice. Comfy. The Razor’s edge. Such a vivid image, eh? Live on the razor’s edge. That’s a very, very  VERY  fine line to walk! And sooo painful to fall upon.

A few days after Nick Wallenda’s walk across Niagara Falls in June, I watched three young men in a park in London attempt to mount a taut rope tied to two tree trunks about 30cm above ground. They’d step up and balance; then the rope would swing back and forth under them as they tried to walk. Their arms would flail, teeter tottering up and down, trying to balance. They’d get one or two steps in, or at best, one would manage a quick three-step along the path, hoping speed would trump technique.

Not one of them made it from one end to the other of the 3 metre rope, but they laughed as they tried and they got back up and tried again.

Practice on balance beam

Practice on balance beam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember competing on the balance beam in Grade 9. It was the early 70’s, 1971-72 in fact, and I was able to do things on the beam that no one else was doing in the city at that level.

Balancing was easy for me and I’ve thought about what I ‘did’ that made it intriguing. I anchored my feet (or foot!) on the ground and stretched my upper body into the sky. I breathed through my whole body and got out of my head, stopped ‘thinking’ about what I was doing. I kept my body in balance, using my arms; my legs were flexible, not stiff.

(This was all well and good. However, my height was a singular disadvantage in this sport. And,

English: Stamp of Azerbaijan

English: Stamp of Azerbaijan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

then, there were the Summer Olympics of ’72. Remember Olga Korbut? That back flip at the end of her routine thrilled and challenged the world! After that summer everyone was doing flips and walkovers… and my gymnastics team days were over!)

When I think about the razor’s edge, and living there,  I have no intellectual problem with it. I understand that this is the Noble Middle Path, the Way Between Two Forces. But, seeing how difficult this balancing act is on the physical plane, makes me wonder. I’ve got questions.

Now what does that balance mean? If I’m walking “between the two opposing lines of force” how do I step, one foot after the other, balance and stay? If I’m afraid, surely I fall/fail. (But do I fall/fail forward?!)

What does the razor’s edge divide up anyway? Good/evil? Green grass/mud? Better Homes and Garden/My Home and Garden? Arrogance/humility? Milk Chocolate/Fair Trade Dark Chocolate? Coffee/Tea, the Java Jive and me? Efficiency/Inefficiency?

How do ‘two great lines of force’ play out? Just what does it take to even STAND on that edge, let alone walk? Really. Is taking just one step the first one? (rhetorical question, I know; still have to ask). What happens when you fall onto one side or the other?

If I have ice cream for breakfast, and I’m trying to  live a spiritually conscious life, I’m thinking I’ve just fallen.

When I hold myself to a direction, to a set of values and principles, I notice myself getting tauter, the tension tenses a little more…. I pull myself upwards.

Pushmi-pullyu… the gazelle and the unicorn. Heads going in both directions. Great compassion and great triumph through the fight. If they both pull evenly, the line will stay taut and anchored. Arms outstretched onto both sides of the path, bringing in the ‘chi’ of each side—fight and compassion—and teeter tottering back and forth. Right thrusters, left thrusters, Star Trek’s Voyager sails through space, a bird achieves equilibrium.

It’s taken some time today, but I think I’ve come to a centre place here. For now.

My “To NOT Do” List

Let’s see if this phrasing helps:

For today I will NOT:

  • try to accomplish more than is realistically possible
  • say ‘yes’ to anything new
  • add anything more to the ‘to do’ list
  • spend time on things that aren’t related to what needs to be done today


Really, it’s all about choice. About what to do about the BSO’s (bright shiny objects) that come across our path, or, (as those of you who have seen the movie, UP, will recognize)


We are living in a distracted, attention-dispersed and fractured world, constantly living with the opportunity to tune in to any number of ideas, events, thoughtforms, emotions. Metaphorical squirrels lead us away from what is right in front of us.

As a friend recently observed, the challenge is to walk the tightrope. We keep walking, one foot in front of the other, eyes focused ahead, not looking down or to the side. This is what my friend, Lawson, wrote:

Ah, the tightrope walker. The rope stretched from here to there. No focus upon the feet yet they are trained to the feel of the rope. The long bar extended left and right balanced at the heart. At the centre of the heart and at a point above is the anchor point. Here I am. Walking between the two great lines of force.

At this time of year, we walk “between two great lines of force” in nature—in this part of the world we are balanced precariously between autumn and winter. The weather reflects it; one day, one moment is calm, warm and sunny; the next is blustery, rainy and bone-chilling.

I’m watching for the two great lines of force in my life these days.


Is Your Work Interesting?

If you can’t say anything interesting about your work every day, then you should be doing other work. This was Seth Godin‘s comment on a recent Success CD when Darren Hardy asked him what ONE thing entrepreneurs could do TODAY. Seth recommended starting a blog and writing every day without telling anyone. Just write every day and talk about your work. And if you haven’t anything interesting to say…. then you should do different work.


I know my work is interesting. It’s just that sometimes (often?) I’m not really entirely sure what my ‘work’ is. Sounds insane. The real trouble is that just about anything I run into seems to be connected to what I’m REALLY supposed to be doing. But that’s another story… or is it?!

One thing I AM trying to do is to live my life more rhythmically, in tune with the seasonal, zodiacal, circadian and ultradian rhythms of life.That’s one thing.

Another thing is that I’m dreams and breaking them down into projects, which is much more poetical, and for me, real, than saying I’m setting goals and breaking them down into action steps. What it boils down to is that I’m digging in and making my imaginative life more me, more creative, more colourful, more ….real.

The two are connected.

Today is the New Moon of Libra, a time to seed something new. Brendon Burchard, in his book, The Charge, suggested 30-day challenges or behaviour changes. He starts his at the beginning of the month and he covers several areas of his life.

This is what I’m doing: 30-day challenging behaviours starting on:

  • First day of the month
  • New Moon
  • Change of astrological signs
  • Full Moon

That way, it’s not all starting all at once, and I can fine tune the quality of the behaviour, action, challenge to the moment of the month.

In addition, I will continue to use the Chinese 5-element clock to order my day.

I also really like Mike Koenigs’ suggestion, which I think he got from someone else, to use MTO to, well, get off the couch, break monster projects into little pet projects. Manageable, Target and Outrageous.

If it’s written down, I’m more likely to complete it. It also sits there as a reminder and as a visual challenge.

So, for this New Moon period, I’m doing a 30-day Blog-a-Day challenge. The Manageable behaviour, that which I can be counted on to do, is to blog here 3 times a week. That I can do. I can count on myself to do that. The Target is to blog here 7 days a week for 30 days. The outrageous? This is so FAR outside what I think is possible that it’s outrageous. My outrageous idea is to blog here 7 days a week, and blog on my other blogs, An Imaginative Life and Gravel Road Life  a total of 5 times a week. Yes, it’s outrageous and way beyond what I think I can do. That’s why it’s there.

If This is not the way most people (does anyone else?) would set up their life. It’s unusual and so I’m expecting some unusual results. But a good part of my work has to do with sound, music, vibration and rhythm and its connection to our highest personal development and expression. The Full/New Moon cycle is important as is the change from one astrological sign to another. So.. we’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime… I can now put a check mark on day one. I did it.