Duality – when parts of you are conflicted

Duality – when parts of you are conflicted

There exists in all of us a strange duality. Strange because we show a face to the world and dance a merry jig with the could and should duality demons within. One part may want to do what is right while at the same time feels conflicted to act in another way. It is this conflict between should and could; right and wrong that often gets to us.

Just as we have two eyes and two feet, duality is part of life.

Carlos Santana

It is entirely natural to feel this way; it is one part of what makes you human. What is important is that you notice it and make a conscious decision about what you would do when you next observe this duality. Pull it apart and examine it; choose to act differently.

Yesterday, I acted in a way that had me thinking about this very thing.

I walked away from the woman with the cup outside of Lidl’s. Her note said I have x number of children, blah, blah. She didn’t smile, she just stood and held her cup, trying to not catch anyone’s eye. I have no problem with giving the people outside of any supermarket the euro from my trolley and often do. There are two women who usually stand there. The older one always smiles and chats and the younger one asks for food (and yes I do buy her food and useful female things).

I always wonder why they are there as well as figuring out how much they are making from standing there – probably a lot more than others who have ‘proper’ jobs. Is there someone pulling their strings; scaring the shit out of them? I did once ask the younger girl why she did this, and her answer was ‘it’s better than prostitution.’

IN ANY MOMENT OF DECISION, THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO IS THE RIGHT THING. THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO IS NOTHINGToday, however, I had been with a friend who does masses for charity and the money she raises goes to buy food for the poorer people in our community. Today I felt that the woman outside the supermarket should have done more than scowl. What is her story? Does she know that there is food available? I don’t know. All I know is that today another part of me wanted a smile for my euro. Writing this now doesn’t feel pleasant. Another part of me wishes I’d just given the euro regardless. Hell, what did it matter, one poxy euro, I could have just given it to her? Lesson learnt.

I want to ask you who are we look down at the tramp in the car park sipping cider while his dog sits patiently by his side. What bought this man (like my supermarket ladies) to that corner of the car park? If I had taken a different fork in my road would that be me? What if my party excesses had become one too many and in a moment of carelessness I wandered to the other side of the street to make my life out of a cardboard box and a few cans of cider?

The image of the man and his dog on the top floor of the Newport car park stays with me, even now. I wanted to go and talk to him and take them both food, but another person said ‘no don’t get involved.’ One part wanted to make his world better, but whose better was that? My perception or some other reality? And another part didn’t want to get involved because I had other people closer to home who needed me.

What then, of the woman with twenty dogs because she cannot bear to think about what other life they might have. Her pension spread thinly but her desire to love and care for these scraps thick with love. Her coulds outweighing the shoulds.

And the kid in the street throwing stones at car windows in an attempt to draw attention both to him and away from him? This child, who wouldn’t confess or say sorry ended up being beaten by his mother because of his stubbornness. Who are we to berate this child when all he wanted was to be loved? What if the naughty child that you or I once were decided that being bad was the only way to get noticed and ended up being different people to whom we are today?

When I see the kids doing their stuff, I understand that there is something going on that forces them blindly to seek recognition and attention. I pray that they will ‘grow out of it’, that a fork in the road will appear, and they will take the one towards a brighter future. Do they even know that there could be another way?

I can remember one morning, standing in a filthy flat at eight am, with a cider swilling ex-heroin addict, hysterically crying because her son had just died and she couldn’t comprehend why. I watched while she ranted, passing pictures of different dead men to me, husband, boyfriend, brother, uncle and now son. My emotions were ripped into a million pieces, I held her as she sobbed, she stunk, and as she wailed I wondered what could I do? Back home was a 91-year-old woman who would shortly be getting out of bed and needed my help.

Torn. One part wanting to stay, to help her sober up and put her life back on track and the other part having to go and help someone else. My head was fucked, and I chose to walk away and leave her to it. Not a day passes when I don’t think of her, and I don’t like the part of me that left her to it. Not long after she killed herself.

Growing up and growing old doesn’t always mean becoming wiser, you only have to watch Jeremy Kyle or be the victim of someone else’s issues or a crime to know that an underbelly of dense energy resides in some people.

When I hear other people berating and talking down of wrong doers, I wonder what their demons are and if they have ever done anything that they are ashamed of that they too keep hidden?

The bigots who look down their noses at the drunks and druggies. Have they never stuffed their faces with too much fine wine and rich food or overspent on a retail therapy trip. It’s the same thing, just different sides of the same coin. Duality.

I know that there is so much wrong and too much evil, I have no idea what causes someone to kill others or steal off old ladies, but something drives them, some forces exists that pulls them in that direction.

A few years ago my mum had her pocket picked by some women. They walked away with 90 euros and who knows how much from other old ladies. Mum deeply saddened to be a victim was bought dinner by friends, she lost some cash and a bit of faith that night. Did the women go home and buy dinner for their family, did the money go into some pot, did they each get their split, was it a choice because of dire need or are they out and out shits?

We know there is no excuse for adultery, theft or GBH, these people could keep their pants on, get jobs or go to anger management classes, couldn’t they? Could they? When the devil dances with their demons what choices do they feel that they have?

We can never know other people’s reality; we only know what we think about it and the action we take as a result of what we experience.

The choices we make are intrinsically connected to our values. When it comes to what is morally right or wrong, it’s easier isn’t it. When faced with could and should, it’s a little different, and wonderfully connected to our personal growth.

I wonder what will you choose today when you feel conflicted? I know that in future, I am going to ignore the bollocks in my head and hand over my euro.



Writer, author, book coach, conscious woman and mum to three beautiful dogs. Living in the hills in Spain watching the world from a distance and drinking tea are just a part of what I fill my days with. That is when I am not writing or walking said dogs.

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Carolyn - May 5, 2016

Very thought provoking today Jacqui! I think all we can do is our little bit of kindness and know that everyone is one their own path, learning the lesssons that they chose to learn in this life. Being kind, letting others see we care about them and valuing every humam being is so important but not at all easy.

    JMAdmin - May 7, 2016

    It’s not easy especially with all of our conditioning. A little goes a long way.

Jenny - May 5, 2016

Wow, powerful post. Got me thinking about how annoyed I felt in London only yesterday sitting at a caffe drinking my coffee when a Big Issue seller was pleading at the top of his voice for help to get a place to sleep that night. I wanted to help but I could hear a voice my head saying ‘is this his choice?’. The old beliefs established since childhood ‘everyone can help themselves’ stamped into me by my emotionally defunct family. I didn’t help him that day, I walked away. But right now I’m trying to relaunch my own brand and business and so the old adage of first you have to help yourself to help others rang true.

    JMAdmin - May 5, 2016

    We do have to help ourselves first, but it’s so tough when we see others in need. The trouble is if you stop to help everyone else you lose sight of your own needs. There is a balance and we all must do what feels right. I want to save the world, however, that is not realistic so I choose to change a part of the world that I come into contact with.

    I always enjoyed the banter from the Big Issue sellers, always so polite, holding open doors and smiling. The problem is we are full of contradictions about them and how they got to this point. It’s a hard world.

    Good luck with your relaunch of your brand and business. Jx

Merilyn Parker Armitage - May 5, 2016

I agree it’s a powerful post. I saw that lady by Lidle last week and decided not to give her a euro at that moment then saw her further up the road looking disconsolately drinking a coca cola. I stopped and gave her the euro, but said please don’t drink coca cola – drink water instead it’s healthier. She looked at me astonished.
Yes that bit about the retail therapy spoke to me as well and the times I have decided not to visit someone and then found they’ve died. We all have to make tricky choices at time.

M.C. Simon - May 5, 2016

Insightful article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jacqui. You made me think a lot.

Jules - May 5, 2016

I have a stone I keep in my purse given to me by a homeless young man. He was sitting on Camden High Street late on a Friday night and holding a sign saying, ‘Smile, it’s good for the soul’. I sat and chatted to him for a while and he told me his story. He also said we are all six steps away from homelessness. I had a fiver in my purse which I gave to him, and in return he gave me a little green stone.

I’m glad I stopped and spent some time with Ziggy. He did indeed touch my soul. X

    JMAdmin - May 7, 2016

    What a beautiful story. We should all remember that everyone is a soul looking for love despite how they appear on the outside.

carolyn - May 8, 2016

I’ve been saddened by the number of homeless people sleeping rough here. Maybe it existed at my old place and I just didn’t notice it, but right now I walk past at least 4-5 people every morning, waking up in the rain in their drenched sleeping bags. Then, on the other side of the road, we have the professional beggars holding out their plastic cups and practically demanding you give them a donation, before someone comes along in the 4×4 to pick them up so they can go and beg on a new pitch. Maybe the duality is because we want to believe we’re helping but we don’t know if we can trust the true “need” for our help?

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