Both Sides Now

"Now old friends they're acting strange,
They shake their heads, they say I've changed

Well something's lost, but something's gained In living every day.
I've looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose and still somehow, It's life's illusions I recall.
I really don't know life at all."   --Joni Mitchell

25 years ago,
I was expelled from the LDS Church, as a feminist heretic.
I celebrated that day, as a rite of passage
to larger truths, lessons, and self.

Two decades later,
I was re-baptized in the LDS Church, as a feminist theologian.
I celebrated that day, as a rite of passage
to deeper truths, lessons, and self.

Both events were squarely on my spiritual path,
both equally transformative, positive, profound, and necessary.

Shadow work, doubt and loss of faith or belonging
are as valuable and illuminating as light work, belief and belonging.

Both sides of life, positive and negative, are aspects of the Self
and its journey to self knowledge, wisdom, wholeness.

This is the lesson of Holy Week - that life is reversal
from approval to rejection to renewal, from life to death to life,
both are real yet neither alone is the whole story.

I empathize with people doing both kinds of work in their lives,
and in our culture or institutions -- the dreaded and desired,
the heretic and faithful, the alienated and accepted.

Honor your journey, both sides now,
the dark and light, the hard and kind, both parts of the path,
unwanted betrayals and unexpected rewards,
the failure and success.

And honor the journey of others.