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Yin and Yang, or, How We Resonate

 

Some people resonate with each other, not because they are objectively the same but because they complement each other in interesting ways. We often talk about yin and yang, where two people create a whole circle, but I tend to think more of melody and harmony. It’s not a circle with no holes, it’s a song that resonates and echoes.

Cricket and Butterfly are not a perfect match. First of all, they look too much alike. They have the same color hair, both white with apricot markings in mostly the same places. And they both bark, at different pitches, but not in a harmony of beautiful sound; they are not a choir, they are a cacophony of noise. They are not the same height, but also not opposites, like big and small or fat and skinny. They are just small and smaller. They don’t fill all of the possible spaces in the world with their two personalities, but sometimes they harmonize in interesting and beautiful ways.

Butterfly was very excited to meet Cricket on her first day home.

Butterfly was very excited to meet Cricket on her first day home.

Cricket was less excited.

Cricket was less excited.

"Okay, maybe she's not so bad."

“Okay, maybe she’s not so bad.”

Cricket is much more of a protector, wild with noise and ready to lunge at friends and strangers alike, and Butterfly is more of a conciliator, but not always. She is not always slow and Cricket is not always fast. But they have worked out, as sisters. They have not camped out at opposite sides of the apartment, hissing at each other like cats. They do not ignore each other. Sometimes they snuggle or sleep close by each other. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes one is going crazy and the other stands by with a lifted eyebrow, but then the roles reverse.

Cricket, protecting the world from the inherent violence of sticks.

Cricket, protecting the world from the inherent violence of sticks.

Butterfly, meditating on the absence of chicken treats.

Butterfly, meditating on the absence of chicken treats.

They often like to walk in opposite directions, to see how far my arms can stretch away from my body.

Sometimes the girls even work together.

Sometimes the girls even work together.

I think we have this unreachable ideal of perfection in love, of black and white, all or nothing, that two people either match perfectly or they don’t match at all. But what if it’s not supposed to be just two people completing each other? Maybe no one person is the perfect and whole complement to any other person, because that wouldn’t leave room for anything or anyone else. Even the happiest couples crave children, or friendships, or dogs, teachers, or coworkers, or clergy. There has to be some room left over in a couple for the rest of the world to filter in – not like a great flood whooshing through the relationship and wiping everything out, but room for more people, more ideas, more emotions. There are so many couples at my synagogue who have lasted 40, 50, and 60 years together and they still leave room for other people and activities and ideas. They accept that there are unfilled spaces between them, and that that’s a good thing.

Both of my dogs resonate with me (I did choose them after all). Cricket’s Sturm und Drang and high drama and need for closeness speak of the volume of emotion coursing through me all my life. The noise of her happiness and pain and excitement and rage, and her unbearable joy in love and curiosity and new things, resonates with me. And the way she studies the things she loves so carefully and with such attention, is just like me.

"Food!!!!!!!!"

“Food!!!!!!!!”

Butterfly is this sweet grief, this place of joy and pain mixed together that I remember from visiting my grandfather, and going out for ice cream sundaes at six in the morning because Grandma couldn’t stand to wake up to children in her house. Butterfly is joy tempered by patience, and when she knows what she needs, endless stubbornness and knowledge that she is right. We are the same! This is me! Well, not all of me, but some. And I could make room for more soul mates like these, because there is more of me to be met.

"I think I can...I think I can."

“I think I can…I think I can.”

I am always on the lookout for people who will resonate with me and I’ve had to learn to give the chemistry more time to grow – but there are still people who, right away, glow for me; people whose energy reaches across the room to me so that I can feel it in my fingers and on my face. I don’t understand this. I worry that I can’t live without this kind of glow.

What if, in two or three ways, you have that full on orchestral sound in your ears with someone, but on the fourth note: cacophony? Or, you’re both in sync, but your families hate the sound of each other? Or what if your families like each other and you have no major cacophonies, but the harmonies between you are only middling, is that better?

I don’t know. Maybe I should just leave it to Cricket to decide.

She's ready.

She’s ready.