I am reading the book by Nathalie Cardinaels "I love you and you and you - an open view on polyamory", and in the preface I come across this statement:

"When the book refers to 'he' or 'she', it also includes individuals who do not feel comfortable with the binary perspective of gender and identify as gender-neutral. The use of 'they', 'that person' or 'that person, he or she' would be more appropriate and inclusive, but this was not chosen for the sake of readability of the book."

Sentences that rub me the wrong way. I had actually chosen to use non-binary language in the English translation of my book "The Flower". And I notice that my personality also takes issue with 'not feeling comfortable' - "pfff, it's definitely more than that!"[1] and about 'not chosen for the sake of readability' - "well, that way we'll never make progress..."

So, it's time to pause for a moment. When my personality speaks up, I like to give her space. She often has very sensible things to say, even if she does it regularly in the form of pushing back against something, as she's doing now. Being combative is just her habit. Her task is traditionally to help me survive, so she's constantly alert to danger. While it's not a mammoth threatening me anymore, my evolutionarily conditioned brain still sees danger in opinions that aren't mine. Then she swiftly takes action.

As I said, time for a time out. Exhale, come home to my heart, and from there, look once again with loving, non-judgmental eyes at my personality. Yes, my heart also thinks she has some good points. We (my personality and my heart - together the flower that I am) thus agree with each other. Great, that's clear then.

And now moving forward. My heart always chooses peace and connection, and not conflict. Well, she doesn't even choose. She IS peace and connection. My personality knows this by now - after all those years of mindfulness training - so she waits a moment. Meanwhile, I enjoy the silence and the peace that always await me in my heart, my deepest self. I feel the space and the freedom to not automatically go along with my emotions, as I have so often done in the past. Now, I can look at them more deeply with clarity.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In this space lies our freedom and the power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth.[2]

Ik zie dat mijn persoonlijkheid uit gewoonte direct wil vergelijken en oordelen: mijn mening is beter dan de hare. En daar heeft ze tig goede argumenten voor. Mijn hart moet hier een beetje om glimlachen. Mijn hart heeft een groot gevoel voor humor. “Verbinden is veel leuker, lieverd. Kijk eens goed. Nathalie heeft dit in haar voorwoord opgenomen, en dat is al heel wat. Kan je dat ook waarderen in plaats van je er onmiddellijk tegen af te zeggen?”  Ja, bij nader inzien lukt dat wel. “En kan je ook zien dat zíj doet wat zij kan, dat jíj doet wat jij kunt, en dat dat ook samen kan gaan? Misschien kan jij zelfs nog wel wat van haar leren -bijvoorbeeld dat je niet altíjd voorop hoeft te lopen…?”

Hè hè. Opgelucht adem ik in. Ik zie weer het ‘en…en’ in plaats van gevangen te blijven zitten in het ‘of…of’. Ik sta én achter mijn mening én ik ben in verbinding. Ik heb mijn oude gewoontepatroon van verzet doorzien en heb er vrede mee gesloten. Ik hoef er niet verder in mee te gaan.  Wat een energie scheelt dat.  Ik heb het me her-innerd: er zijn  geen tegenstellingen, behalve wanneer ik ze zelf creëer. Ik ben weer thuis. In mijn hart bestaan geen hokjes. Daar ben ik genderneutraal (hen, zij).

[1] Also, check out the recent podcast where my brother Niels Wolf talks about his gender history (YouTube, Rozestadsdorp Amsterdam, Niels Wolf).

[2] Victor Frankl (1905-1997), Viennese psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, "De zin van het bestaan". He wrote this book based on his experiences in three concentration camps. See also The Flower, 5.13, note 323.