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Two sides of a coin

[Listen to me read this reflection here]

It is easy for me to see only one side of a coin. To see the other side would require the effort to pick up the coin in my hand and turn it around.

One-sided coins are everywhere around me. From news media to social media, every story, idea and thought is usually a one-sided coin.

One-sided coins are also everywhere inside of me.


The work coin is often one sided.

If I were to survey one thousand people about their beliefs and desires related to work, I imagine many of their responses might include wanting to be paid more, work fewer hours, have greater flexibility, more generous benefits, perhaps a new manager, and so forth.

This is one side of the coin. How can work make my life better?

The other side of the coin is to ask: how will I make my life better, outside of work? How am I enriching my life with the people that I spend time with? How am I broadening my perspectives about the world around me? How am I deepening my understanding of myself? How am I building bridges to new places that light me up?

All of these help me feel more alive, more connected, more inspired and more myself. When I am committed to continually becoming better outside of work, I will naturally become better at work. Now I am looking at both sides of my work coin.


The same is true with my family coin and my friends coin.

It is relatively easy and common to feel frustrated with family, be it a parent, a partner or a child. I may have a desire or expectation for them to do something for me, or show up a certain way for me, or behave in a specific way for me. Expectations will lead to disappointments. When disappointed, I feel agitated.

This is one side of the coin. What do others have to do for me?

The other side of the coin is to ask: what am I doing for others? How am I showing up for my family and friends? What initiative am I taking, and effort am I bringing, to these relationships? How am I discovering what they might need from me?

In any situation when I feel that I am owed something by someone, that I have paid my dues or that it is my turn to receive, I am going to feel disappointed. If I instead ask myself what do I owe to this situation?, I am now looking at both sides of my family coin or friends coin.


My body is a coin forever with me.

On a daily basis, I will notice and quietly remark to myself some soreness or tenderness I feel with some part of my body. Today, it is a tight shoulder. Yesterday, it was a sore neck. The day before it was dry eyes. And so on.

This is one side of the coin. What is uncomfortable for me about my body?

The other side of the coin would be to ask: what is my body uncomfortable with about me? How am I taking care of my body? Am I regularly exercising and moving my body, or am I regularly sitting my body on the couch so that I can watch TV? Am I nourishing my body with nutrient rich foods, or am I constantly feeding it junk for my own pleasure?

My body is asking me to take care of it, so that it can continue to be strong, healthy and be able to move through life with me. To ask my body what it needs is to look at both sides of my body coin.


My mind is the most important coin in my life.

I will observe at times my mind experiencing stress, anxiety and tension. Really unpleasant experiences for my mind, and as a result, for me. It can feel like I am not in control. Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and discouragement will arise.

This is one side of the coin. Why is my mind not stable and calm?

The other side of the coin is to ask: how am I taking care of my mind? Am I giving it the space to just be? Am I giving it a break from having to constantly consume and process information from screens, big and small? Am I feeding it nourishing and wholesome conversations, or toxic content? Am I taking time to process and digest what comes up, or am I suppressing and pushing everything down?

My mind needs space. It needs patience. It needs a break. It also needs inspiration, motivation and encouragement. When I pay attention to what it is that my mind needs, I am now looking at both sides of my mind coin.


What I give to my work is what my work will give to me.

What I give to my family and friends is what my relationships will give to me.

What I give to my body is what my body will give to me.

What I give to my mind is what my mind will give back to me.

There is an art to how I give to my work, my family, my friends, my body and my mind. It must be without attachment or expectation to receive anything in return. Otherwise it would be transactional thinking, which is not how this works.

I choose to give, with a deeper trust, belief and knowing, that only once I let go of expectation, will I be fulfilled and joyful in life.

What I give to life, and how I give to life, is what I get from life.

This is what it means to pick up the coin, turn it around and to look at the other side.

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