Putting Tic-Tacs Up Your Nose (Or, Overcoming Opposition in All Things)

People who know me well probably grow tired of hearing me talk about one particular topic: Opposition.  I’ve been teaching this principle to students for over 20 years, and it can be summed up in this statement: THERE IS OPPOSITION IN ALL THINGS.

Now that’s a bold statement, but it is in fact an eternal principle.  The entire universe functions the way it does in part because of the LAW OF OPPOSITION IN ALL THINGS.

A Baby Girl and the Law of Gravity

We’ve all experienced opposition in all things.  In fact, we couldn’t accomplish the most fundamental tasks without it.  Think of a baby.  Let’s say she’s about 3 months old.  In your mind, see yourself taking her out of her crib and placing her on a blanket on the living room floor.  Almost all of us have done this at some point, so it’s probably easy to conjure up this scene in your mind.

There she is lying on the floor, and the law of gravity holds her fast to that blanket.  She may shake her arms and legs, but the fact is, she ain’t going nowhere.

Now, fast forward 9 months, and she’s about a year old.  What does this same scene look like now?  She’s no longer stuck fast to that blanket, is she?  In fact, any efforts to keep her on that blanket are going to be absolutely fruitless.

So what changed?  The law of gravity certainly didn’t!  But she did!  Those arms and legs that were flailing about when she was 3 months old have now grown larger, longer, and stronger (partly because she was flailing them about when she was smaller).

She grew enough in strength to work against the opposing force of gravity, and now she can pull herself up, stand, and maybe even walk.  But the opposition is still there.  If it weren’t, we’d be in big trouble.

Each of us started out in a situation similar to that little girl.  But when we swung our feet out of bed this morning and stood upright, we could not have even taken the first step toward the bathroom if that opposition wasn’t there.  You see, gravity is constantly holding us to that floor, and it feels as if the floor is pushing back against us.  Then, as we use the muscles in our legs and feet and push off against that opposing force, it propels us forward in the direction we want to go.

The Power Embedded in the Law of Opposition in All Things

Now this is a big deal, because THERE IS OPPOSITION IN ALL THINGS.  If you look for it, you will find it in every aspect of your life.  And just as we use our natural abilities to push against gravity and propel ourselves forward, so too can we use opposition in other areas of our lives as the means of moving forward in our relationships, our work, our education, our health—you name it!

In these other areas of our lives, sometimes the opposition is not as obvious as the law of gravity.  There can be other forms of physical opposition.  Our own subconscious mind can present a form of psychological opposition.  At work, there may be institutional opposition.  And for that brilliant thought we just posted on Facebook, there very likely will be intellectual and social opposition.  (Hardly anybody gets all likes, right?)

But What If the Opposition is Overwhelming?

So what do we do when those moments come that we face opposition head on and there doesn’t seem to be a way around it?  Well, at least one way to deal with it is by using the Tic-Tacs-Up-Your-Nose Method.

Okay, here’s the story.  Many years ago when my youngest son (who’s now in his mid-30s) was just a little guy about 6 years old, I left him and his older siblings watching TV to run down to the end of the block and pick up a newspaper.  When I got back, Brig came running down the sidewalk toward me, tears streaming down his face, and screaming, “I got tic-tacs up my nose!!!”

I looked at his little face staring up at me, and it was all I could do to keep from laughing.  There were actually 2 bumps—one on each side—where the mints had lodged in his sinuses.

“How’d that happen?” I asked.

“Jeremy told me to do it.”

Ah, yes—that explained a lot.  But I’ll save that for another post.  I told Brig that everything would be okay.  Once he stopped crying, I had him watch me as I demonstrated.

“Okay, this is what I want you to do.  I want you to do just the opposite of what you would do if you were blowing your nose.  Okay, I want you to suck in through your nose, like this.”

I then demonstrated by drawing my breath in through my nostrils.  He followed my example and did the same thing.  The mints shot through his sinuses and down into his throat.  He hacked a few times and then swallowed the tic-tacs.

Search for the Alternative Path

Completely healed of his terror that little odd-shaped candies would be permanently implanted up his nose, he just said, “Oh.”  Then he happily trotted away to play.  You see, it never occurred to him to simply send those candies down another path.  Since they entered in one direction, he assumed they had to come out the same way.

Sometimes when facing opposition head on, we overlook another potential route to success.  We get so caught up in a particular paradigm that we believe there is only one path and we must power through the opposition, like the child who overcomes the force of gravity.  (But don’t forget that the opposition actually enabled her to grow stronger until she could stand and eventually walk.)

Oftentimes, there is an alternative.  Sometimes, we can turn in another direction, push off from the opposition we’ve been facing, and head off on a completely different path that takes us eventually to the same destination.

Author: John A. Cowgill

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