We’ve all felt tension before. It can be delightful. It can also be horrible. Most of the time, when we say we’re tense, we’re usually aiming for the “horrible” definition. The idea of tension connotes the physical distress caused by anxiety. Tension can however be something else.
Tension can come from being in-between two states. We’ve discussed that as liminality, which is the condition of being between two mutually exclusive conditions.
For example, a person who is engaged is not single, but not married. “Engaged” is not a permanent condition (hopefully), and single/married are mutually exclusive. People tend to feel tension when they are inside an in-between stage in their life.
Unemployment can be crushingly tense due to all the financial, emotional and self-esteem issues, but it’s also a period of liminality. In that period, a person may find themselves considering a completely different line of work. Unemployment can open up new opportunities, but that entire process lends to tension.
Those are a few examples. Now, you might expect me to discuss how mindfulness can fight tension. I’m not going that way this entry. I was to encourage you to try to exist inside that tension. I know it can be terribly uncomfortable, but let the possibilities of your situation at least reach your upper consciousness. Carl Jung called this “holding the tensions of opposites”.
We all have a strong tendency to define ourselves as “this” or “that”. It feels better to be safely enclosed in the box of a label. One day however, that box may become a prison. Sometimes life circumstances dump us out of our box before we’re ready, but I ask you to at least consider staying out of your comfort zone long enough to pick a new place, a new “box” you really love before you jump into it.