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David Diana
Jul 15, 2010

Boxing or Ballet

It is simply part of the human condition. We twist ourselves around a discursive thinking process where logic and reason prevail. Our minds ramble on and on trying to make sense of an idea, conflict or challenge.

•Should I play it safe or be frivolous?
•I want to do this, but maybe I’m not good enough.
•Is the idea I have good or bad?
•Should I sign up for boxing or ballet?

Several weeks ago I attended a writing workshop by best selling author and teacher, Natalie Goldberg. She made the argument that 90% of writing is listening and receiving. I thought the statement was worth sharing because it can be applied to just about anything you and I do!


In an attempt to free our minds from the trap of polarity, Natalie walked us through various exercises. One of which required each person to list conflicts they struggle with on a consistent basis. She asked us to map them out in a typical “this or that” manner.

The group began taking turns sharing what they had written. And that is when I heard one woman in particular. She stood up and deadpanned, “Boxing or Ballet”. It was rich in symbolism, and I found it to be a fantastic metaphor about identity formation and the struggle to break free from the boxes we are placed in.

Sometimes, in order to find an answer, or to simply find your footing, you must go beyond the obvious options. “Boxing or Ballet?” Perhaps there is a third or fourth choice somewhere along the continuum.

Breaking through the noise of labeling, judging and analyzing is of great benefit to aspiring writers. It frees a person so they are able to speak from someplace else. I’m wondering if you and I can take that same challenge? Step out of our comfort zone and find new insight.

Maybe it starts by taking a small risk.

I don’t know what exactly…breakfast for dinner? Allowing yourself a few moments each day to sit and relax? It could be any number of things.

Crack open your everyday structure, break through the obvious choices, and give yourself permission to view something from an entirely different angle.

Boxing or Ballet?

Why must that even be the question?

David P. Diana is a counselor, author, and a director for a behavioral healthcare organization. He writes a weekly blog on sales and marketing for counselors (

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