Between Life and Death

I watched in awe as our daughter gave birth to a healthy, 7 lb 10 oz baby boy, Caleb. We were with her during her last stages of labor, and were reminded of why the word “labor” is used when referring to the process of giving birth: it’s VERY hard work!

As little Caleb’s head appeared, a problem was revealed. The cord, that had given him life and nutrition during his development in the womb, was wrapped around his shoulder, under his arm, and around his neck. With each push, the cord was choking him and bruising his little face. The midwife tried feverishly to loop the cord over his head, but the strong cord was immovable. It could not be pulled or broken. “You’ve got to push and get this baby out NOW,” she announced loudly.

With one push, Caleb’s shoulder cleared the birth canal and he shot out, nearly airborne. The midwife deftly lifted the constricting cord and he pinked up quickly, although his cute little face remained bruised. Later, the midwife told me that those seconds that the cord is stuck before the baby is safely cleared seem to last for hours. Ironically, the very cord that gives the baby life threatens to take his life, if the restriction is too tight and immoveable for too long. It was only with the final intense, focused push that freedom came to our little grandson.

The Law of Polarity states that everything has two “poles”: good and evil, love and hate, attraction and repellence. The North and South Poles on a globe are literal polar opposites. A battery has both negative and positive terminals. Everything in the universe has an opposite. Everything is dual. And because of that duality, we are able to experience life to the fullest and appreciate the good in the world.

In our little Caleb’s case, the very cord that nourished him and gave him life had the potential to cause his death.

Could you know happiness without sadness? Is there love without pain? Dark without light? And in relationships, is there attraction without opposing energies? We’ve all heard that “opposites attract.” That’s the law of polarity explained in two words. In fact, the law of polarity is also called the law of opposites.

An interesting passage in the Book of Mormon conveys a powerful message from an ancient prophet to his son: “It must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, … righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad” (2 Nephi 2:11; see also verse 15).

Where would we be if we did not have a way to contrast and compare our experiences? Not knowing one side of the circumstance would keep us from knowing the other side. If all we have are good days, how can we experience the positive? We have to experience the contrasting difficult days to appreciate the days when everything seems to flow.

If the sun stayed up all day, and we never knew night, how would we be able to appreciate the majesty of the stars and the moon, or be able to explore the far reaches of outer space?

When you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other end. Some things might appear to be opposite, but opposites are actually two inseparable parts of the same thing. Hot and cold, for example, are actually on the same continuum and you cannot have one without the other also existing.

Sometimes, people working with the “Law of Attraction” desperately desire financial freedom, but they don’t have an effective energy flow because they’re accidentally using both polarities at once–fearing debt or reinforcing energy toward debt, while desperately posting affirmations about abundance. If you have both polarities present at the same time and in the same magnitude, they cancel each other out.

If you’re putting a lot of energy into your intentions, but your intentions also contain elements of fear or doubt, you’re working against yourself by accidentally mixing polarities.

Napoleon Hill, author of the classic Think and Grow Rich, wrote “Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.”

Drew Coster, a therapist, posted an insightful discussion of how the Law of Polarity can work wonders in your life:

He writes: As a change facilitator and therapist, I recognize there really isn’t a one-size fits all approach to being healthy and happy. Which is why books by gurus, and therapies sometimes work and sometimes don’t.

The truth is just because something worked well for one person, that doesn’t mean it will work the same for you. And sometimes finding the right solution which for you can be a challenge.

So, what happens if you’ve tried multiple approaches to change something in your life and you still feel as if you’re stuck in a rut, and nothing seems to work? Well, I sometimes find the simplest approach to change is often the most helpful, which is why I introduce the Law of Polarity to my collaborative partners.

There’s nothing magical about the Law of Polarity. In fact, you already understand the concept because what the Law of Polarity tells us is that there’s a duality in everything. You can’t have a positive without a negative. An up without a down. Good without bad. Dark without light. And at life’s most basic, you can’t have a positron without an electron.

Therefore, why would we only focus our thinking on one polarity? Why focus on the negative, the bad, the sad, the downright annoying, when we can switch our thinking to the alternative?

This might sound simplistic, because it is.

But if we want to move our lives in a different direction and break old patterns of behavior, then this Law of Polarity can be a helpful tool. With this change in thinking, alternatives are always available to us.

How can this work for you?

The first step is to learn how to switch your thinking between these polarities. The way to do that is to step back and look at how you are thinking, feeling, and behaving in an unhealthy negative situation.

Once you’ve done that, see if you can identify what the negative situation is teaching you. This might sound like an absurd concept, but if you can detach yourself from how you feel about a situation for one moment, and be objective about what is happening, you’ll find the negative polarity teaches us a lot about what we don’t want in our life. The flip side to this is that the opposite polarity often teaches us what we want more of in our life.

If you’re stuck in the negative, ask yourself: “What am I learning from this negative situation and what might be the positive alternative I can take?” Answer honestly. This is difficult at first but persevere because this view switching will help you work with the Law of Polarity.

For example: A difficult situation and thoughts to move away from might be: “I’m so lonely. Nobody loves me. My life means nothing.” This might feel true to you, however, that doesn’t mean you let those thoughts or feelings keep you in a lonely situation.

What is this negative polarity teaching you? I don’t like being lonely. I don’t have a significant person in my life who I feel loves me. I’m not happy with how my life is going. My life isn’t fulfilling. Now, take the information you’ve learned and think about what the opposite polarity can teach you about the steps you might need to take to change the negative situation?

Negative Polarity: I don’t like being lonely.

Positive Polarity: If I’m lonely I need to be around people.

Action: I will join groups with like-minded people. This will boost my confidence and enable me to make friends.

Negative Polarity: I don’t have a significant person in my life to love.

Positive Polarity: I have no one to love because I don’t love myself right now. I need to take more care of myself and have pride in how I look and behave. I know I can love as I’ve had a partner before, so I know it can happen, I need to put in the effort.

Action: Being in groups will increase my chances of meeting people. I also want to make myself available by being visible on dating services.

Negative Polarity: I’m not happy with how my life is and I feel stuck.

Positive Polarity: I’m not happy at work.

Action: I’ll look for a new job. I will update my resume and spend an hour a day job hunting. While I’m doing that, I’ll investigate further education in subjects I enjoy. Going back to school, even part-time, might help me find friends and/or a partner.

Negative Polarity: My life isn’t fulfilling.

Positive Polarity: I’ve not been true to myself and I’ve been self-centered.

Action: Looking for a job and potential further education excites me. I’ll also engage in volunteer work as helping others will bring me joy. I miss helping people.

Can you can see the different energy from flipping the polarity? The situation didn’t change, just the person’s view. From that, they now have a clearer action plan on what to change if they want to move forward.

You might dismiss this Law of Polarity as unhelpful because it’s simplistic. But that’s the point. Change need not be hard. It is important to realize life doesn’t magically alter just through positive thinking.

All we are doing by practicing the Law of Polarity is learning there are alternatives to any situation. For example, if your boss yells at you for messing up? Don’t be sad, instead consider what your negative thoughts and feelings are teaching you in that moment? Feeling angry about being stuck in traffic? What are you learning from this negative situation and what can you do differently? It’s nothing more than a method of learning to see problems differently.

In life, the only thing you have total control over is your thinking, so why keep focusing on only one polarity. We may not have the power to change what life throws at us, but we can change how we view any situation.

Sometimes the simplest approach is the most helpful.

C.G. Jung said, “But there is no energy unless there is a tension of opposites; hence it is necessary to discover the opposite to the attitude of the conscious mind.”

Several years ago, while I was working for US Airways in Cleveland Ohio, my station manager told us we had to work on the cement floor of the airport without padding under our feet (I guess he was more concerned about tripping than protecting our feet). As a general agent for the airline, my job involved the ticket counter, where we lifted bags that sometimes weighed more than 50 pounds and placed them on a conveyer belt; we also loaded passengers onto the aircraft and went to the gates (often running) to meet aircraft as they came in. I loved the job! I loved the microcosm of humanity that I saw and served on a daily basis. The perks of flying for free were also a fun element to my job.

But one day, at the end of my shift, I felt like I was walking on cut glass that had been shot out of a volcano. I learned I had severe plantar fasciitis, with bone spurs. Never before had I been injured in such a way that I didn’t recover within a couple of weeks. The company ruled that I was disabled, but I didn’t allow that to stop me, assuming that I could change all of that by positive thinking. Over the years, I have tried magnets, sonography, platelet rich plasma injections, massage therapy, physical therapy, muscle integration, and prolozone therapy. Until recently, I was ALMOST reconciled to being disabled for the rest of my life. But I will never give up. I have learned that by stretching the opposing muscles, I am re-teaching my injured muscles to work in harmony with each other again. Walking involves using muscles on opposite sides from each other, in balance, or the injuries continue or cause greater pain. It’s almost like being a baby again, trying to figure out how to balance, using the opposing muscles. But without the polarity of both sides of the muscle; both ends, both sides of the legs involved, my recovery is imbalanced and I remain disabled.

Jack R. Rose wrote: “Opposition can be your friend. Opposition can be the fire that tempers the better sword, as well as the ice that cools a fiery temper. Don’t ever run from it; learn from it!”

During times of financial hardship, I have often sought God’s comfort and answers in prayer. Repeatedly, His message to me is to
Luke 12:27-40 King James Version (KJV)

27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

By teaching someone who is experiencing financial panic and fear to be generous, over and over again (until I finally think I got the message!), He taught me to live the Law of Polarity: If I would have, I must give. Trust. Have Faith.

Detach myself from obsessing over what I want, and focus on seeking the kingdom of God.

Thomas S. Monson said: “Of course we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. … Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with [faith] have courage as well.” President Monson’s counsel is timeless! So I plead with you, my dear brothers and sisters: Day after day, on your path toward your eternal destiny, increase your faith. Proclaim your faith! Let your faith show!”

If polarity did not exist, we would not exist either. We have to breathe in and out; we have to have sleep and awake times.

Bryant McGill said, “Peace does not mean an absence of conflict, because opposition, polarity and conflict are natural and universal laws.”

During these days of COVID-19 and its consequent repercussions, many have commented that it took mandates to stay at home to make them fully appreciate the freedoms we enjoyed before the virus–eating out, enjoying theater productions, having face to face meetings, hugging our loved ones, travel…the list goes on. Conversely, the mandates have also helped us to appreciate the time spent at home, in contemplation, in cleaning our garages, in getting work done that has been on our list for a long time.

Our little grandchildren who live downstairs went across the street with their parents to the mostly empty golf course. The course is closed, but some people are being creative and golfing for free! While at the golf course, the kids flew kites! The Law of Polarity was in effect in full force, as Winston Churchill said, “A kite flies against the wind, not with it.”

And if there was no wind, the kite could not fly.

If we have no opposition, we cannot fly either, metaphorically speaking. We would be as the turkeys on the ground, not the eagles in the sky, reaching our potential.

Kilroy J. Oldsert said, “Without opposition, there could be no creation. All life would cease without resistance. Emotions also have their polar opposites: attraction – repulsion, love – hate, aggression – meekness, and mercy – callousness.” He added, “All life depends upon the opportunistic interplay between elemental forces, the mysterious dualities of the numinous universe. Ying and yang forces of the natural world (lightness and darkness, fire and water, expansion and contraction) create tangible dualities that are complementary, interconnected, and independent. Without the firmament in the midst of the waters, without both sunshine and water, no life forms could subsist on this rocky orb. Without the rich soil surrounded by a canopy of an illimitable sky how could we feed ourselves, how could we breathe?”

And Mokokoma Mokhonoana wisely said, “We seldom learn much from someone with whom we agree.”

The Law of Polarity is a beautiful law when it is understood. Knowing that things will change gives us the courage to try again, to get stronger, to face opposition with faith. As Craig D. Lounsbrough said, “With God, anything that stands against you will always be inferior to what resides within you.”

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For more on this topic, read Hidden Treasures: Heaven’s Astonishing Help with Your Money Matters (free).

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