Oh, the paradox!

Although this isn’t a post about health issues as such, I request to draw on the endless pool of useful materials that it provides on my journey towards wholeness. It’s a truth tripped over many times on that journey that the very thing that is most likely to provide remedy for one of my health issues is also, so often, the very thing that could make one or more of my others conditions much worse.

Magnesium is an example; supplements of this being highly recommended for numerous of my chronic pain issues, so I have been diligently taking the recommended dose and even using topical magnesium oil for a few days to tackle rigormortis-like rigidity and pain in my muscles (I was pretty desperate for a remedy before a physically challenging weekend). However, it can also drop blood pressure, which makes my various PoTs symptoms much more severe, as well as triggering IBS (and maybe a touch of toxic dump as muscles release their load of free radicals), all of which has occurred, contributing to a significant flare-up of various other symptoms I had under better control until now.

The same with several of my go-to relaxation remedies which then, ironically, hit my already low blood pressure and make things rather worse for me, whilst also making certain things such as nerve pain feel much better. Or, I turn to opposite remedies such as green tea or more citrus fruit to keep me upright for longer with better immunity and help clear free radicals while I am on the move more, yet they set off a whole load of other symptoms from my extensive range. It’s all such a constant balancing act and source of paradox, turning me into the lifetime student of the topic (whether I want to be or not).

I’ve also lived for 16 years with the paradox that its essential for muscles to be worked regularly through exercise, to achieve good blood supply and move out toxins that have built up in body tissue…yet with chronic fatigue syndrome there is not enough energy, due to mitochondrial dysfunction, to exercise muscles in the same way as other people, therefore use of muscles beyond a very low threshold can lead to spasm (meaning severe and long-lasting cramps), further reducing circulation, allowing more toxins to accumulate and triggering even more pain and fatigue.

Living with such conundrums can feel like a perpetual catch-22 sent to try you when CFS and Fibromyalgia, etc, are part of your picture. It honestly feels as though we are now living in the age of paradoxical health conditions, long-covid included, and whilst they are awful to live with, you can also sense they part of an evolutionary directive from the universe, forcing us out of our linear thinking and rigid diagnostic boxes.

Yet in some ways, this degree of paradox is all business as normal for an INFJ personality type (Myers Briggs), living as we INFJS do in the Land of Many Personal Contradictions. There was a very good article just the other day on Introvert Dear, about all the many paradoxes of the INFJ personality type and if you are one I highly recommend diving in to see if you recognise yourself. The summary, from some of my top paradoxical traits, is:

  • Preferring to be alone yet constantly in search of meaningful community and connection.
  • Free-spirited to a fault yet really needing structure and order.
  • Highly logical yet hugely emotional.
  • Fiercely independent yet constantly distracted by trying to meet others’ needs.
  • So confident in our own values yet able to see things through everybody else’s eyes or even speak up for their standpoint like holding both sides of a debate at once (some people find this trait so annoying).
  • Being a stickler for details, yet always of the BIG picture mindset.
  • Find beauty and opportunities for appreciatation in nearly everything, yet not easily impressed…

What I have come to discover, the more I mature, is that somewhere just beyond paradox lies “godliness” or, put in a more accessible way, that highly elusive quality “wholeness”. Because when you can learn to accept two paradoxical things about yourself, embodying them as Who You Are, you become the house of all things on a spectrum between polar opposites, all living in some sort of makeshift peace together…which is the best we can hope to achieve in this lifetime. We turn our crazy “house” into a home by learning to cohabit with all our traits, with respect and a large degree of overview, from which angle what we really focus on is all the amazement, respect and awe that we can be so unfathomable and yet keep on going…and growing!

When the yin and yang opposites of ourselves can be wedged so firmly side by side, not because of so much push and pull for the same territory forcing them to engage like terrible twins in combat, but because they agree to coincide (a little like agreeing to disagree) then a new kind of peace starts to reign, making things feel a little bit more “alright anyway” than they once were. Once that sense of “its alright-ness” starts to gain even the tiniest space for putting a root down into the ground of our experience, it soon grows and eventually starts to blossom as a new state of normal…one that coexists with that other reality, where everything feels contradictory and hard…helping to make it all feel better.

This is the kind of paradoxical “normal” that allows for many colours, creeds, opinions, expressions and other kinds of diversity to exist together…as the expression of Oneness that we all are. Its a state of Being the Universe, in physical form and sometimes it is those of us that seem to suffer the most that embody that state the more readily, because we’re not so streamlined into this or that version of reality…but into being a taste of everything!

Just the other side of that lifetime’s worth of suffering lies all this vast potential to realise what it is to be so many things at once…and be OK with that, rather than torn asunder. The inner conflict can call a cease-fire and a sort of no-mans-land Christmas can ensue, at least for a while.

Its why, in my way, I have come to love having one of the most paradoxical personality types there is…and even a body that throws ridiculous curveballs, never doing what it is “supposed” to do or making things easy.

I read another excellent post today, Reconnect With Your Loving Yessssss, by Jessica Shepherd, who has also been experiencing a lot of health challenges lately. She quoted a plaque that used to hang in her childhood kitchen reading “Bless this mess”, a sentiment she has drawn upon many times as she has learned to live with. and breathe through, all the intense pain, inviting her divinity into the mess of it all, in order to be more OK with that pain though she would of course rather be without it (I can relate as this mindfulness approach is also my most successful “remedy” approach to date). When we allow what is to just be there, we allow the divine aspect to pour in through the very funnel of all the living paradoxes we embody (each and every one of them being the opportunity to soak up even more grace), and so we evolve.

This is why my health journey has been the biggest evolutionary catalyst yet, a topic (as it happens) discussed in the latest short video released by The Gupta Program “Recovery is a Game of Bowling”, which I will attach below. The more we embody these paradoxical characteristics that we seem to bash against, on one side or the other of our straighter path (the idealised most direct and easy route) through life, the more we learn to course-correct, to find our own middle way, and thus we evolve as we do so. We learn where our sides are and, though knowing them better, we navigate more directly and comfortably “home” to ourselves.

Today I sit here in pain and paradox…including the paradox that I am full of love and gratitude following one of the best weekends for a long time and yet now I am having to find my comfortable place between many symptomatic contradictions which is, as always, work in progress. Yet we keep on trying to find our own way, in all of our ever-varing circumstances, and as we do so, we grow.

Reconnect with your Loving Yessssss – Jennifer Sherpherd, Moonkissed

14 Contradictions that INFJs Experience Nearly Every Day – Introvert, Dear

Recovery is a Game of Bowling – The Gupta Program

About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
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