Notes for my pockets

I was talking with a friend who has been undergoing treatment for cancer.  She commented that it's been hard to reconcile the polarity that everything has changed and yet nothing has changed. Everything--her perspective, her sense of herself, of security, the new focus on healing--has changed.  Yet she looks out her window and kids are still going to school, the seasons change as always, life goes on. Living with both realities, she said, is difficult but comforting.

She said it reminded her of "an old midrash [a rabbinic story...she's Jewish] about a sage who always kept two notes -- both quotes from scripture -- on his in each of his coat pockets.  The first one reminded him that "the world was created for you" -- God set this glorious table of creation, all the wonders of the world, just for humans to experience and enjoy.  

"The second one reminded him that "from dust you came, and to dust you will return" -- individuals are so terribly impermanent, inconsequential... they come and go in an instant of history." 

I love the thought of these folded up, tattered contradictory notes keeping the wise man both inspired and grounded.
{And doesn't this little film clip demonstrate both of these:}

via Keith Loutit's Vimeo

I've been thinking about that story ever since.  
About contradictions.  
And choosing between polarities.  
Or not choosing between.  

Because sometimes I feel like a walking contradiction (and it frustrates me!): 
Shy/friendly. Adventurous/homebody. Confident/insecure. Serious/silly. Worrier/laid back. Planner/procrastinator. Hopeful/pessimistic. Wishy/washy.  Mother/student. Seeking/content. Reverent/raucus.  To name a few.
Yet choosing one or the other of the pair feels like I've left a little, other part of me behind. Some contradictions (Adam & Eve in the Garden comes to mind) certainly require choices.  But my friend's midrashic story makes me wonder if some of the other contradictions each deserve a place in my pocket.  And yours?

Hmmm. Maybe it's more about the balance and knowing when to switch to the other pocket...

Today's Maddy watch: en route to Beijing, flying over the north pole (maybe seeing the Northern Lights?!)