Have you ever seen a double signal?
Have you ever felt that part of you wanted something really badly, and another part of you wanted the opposite? To the extent that your whole being was sending double signals to your conversation partners, and the whole system was in tension?
That can be really confusing and painful, especially if you think that you should always know just what you want and go for it wholeheartedly. Sometimes things aren't that simple. There's a hierarchy of values. There are systems in play.
Just this morning, I was taking my usual morning bike ride along the canal, and witnessed double signals (and a multi-species system) in action.
A large white pup meandered south on the French side of the canal. A small black pup sauntered north on the German side. As they passed one another, their yearning was so intense that their bodies strained toward one another across the water. Their humans were firm in their commands, however, and the dogs’ hindquarters barely remained seated in obedience. Such was their suffering that miserable howls and whimpers came from both throats. The humans looked across at one another and softened. The dogs, immediately aware of the shift, joyfully ran toward the bridge for an ecstasy of sniffing and wagging.
Even without words, it was obvious that the dogs wanted each other, but they wanted to obey their human masters more. Their bodies said it all.
The woman on my side of the canal clearly wanted to keep her dog moving south. She had already gone past the bridge and wasn't so interested in turning back. But her hesitation spoke that she could be convinced. The man on the other side of the canal was walking toward the bridge anyway, and he clearly wanted a happy pup. When he convinced the woman with his eyes and hand gestures that it would be worth the extra few minutes, the whole system went into motion.
The moment just before the decision is the most painful for everyone. The agony is in the hesitation, the weighing of the system. As soon as the decision is made, everything conspires to allow for the change that is wanting to happen.
Which character in this tale do you relate with the most in your life? The one whose front half wants love and freedom, and whose back half wants an obedient relationship with the master? The one who wants to convince the system to change? The one who wants to get home, who wants this moment's happiness, who hesitates and wants convincing? Or me, watching it all in delight (and secretly rooting for love and freedom)? Or someone who wants both dogs put back on their leashes and dragged home?
What double signals are you sending? What are the factors that will allow one part or the other to win out? Who in your system wants convincing? What will happen next?