Oooh another juicy stage – so much to explore in this stage of becoming your own person, of breaking down external expectations from others and of being on a journey to wholeness.
This stage is first experienced as a teenager when there is the conflicting desire of comfort and security vs independence and the quest to discover your life’s purpose. It is the stage of individuation, building your healthy sense of self, your ego and finding your place in this world through trial and error. It can be a time of high adventure, excitement and delight but can also bring sadness, nostalgia, fear and loneliness as you are PULLED into the next stage of life while a part of you wants to stay exactly where you are.
This stage can occur many times in life when you find yourself with conflicting desires:
- intimacy vs solitude
- familiar vs new
- being vs doing
- masculine vs feminine
- certainty vs uncertainty
- comfort vs challenge
- Shadow vs light
- fear vs excitement
- emotions vs thoughts
This dilemma can be experienced both internally and externally as we endure the tension of conflicting opposites, both true in their own way. It is this point of tension, this internal struggle that lights your inner fire. It is the energy of the two opposites colliding that propels you to fulfill your potential and to grow and develop. Each of the opposites is valid and essential in order to be whole.
This stage can represent the hero’s journey to slay the dragon, to do the inner work and to make peace with the opposing truths. It can be a time to ease our relationship with our parents and to increase our self awareness and self confidence. Only through this journey is it possible to realise you are a complex and amazing being and you can stand in your truth as you make your way in the world.
What are the conflicting desires within you right now? For me there is a need to stay with what I know and I feel so much sadness and nostalgia as my kids go through this phase and journey out into the world and my identity as nurturer and Mum changes. But at times there is also a glimmer of excitement and freedom (& fear) as I see that I am being pulled into forming a new identity, a new way forward, out of my comfort zone into the unknown. I have found it so useful to do mandalas around this stage to realise within me that these conflicting desires are in fact both true and part of the whole journey.
Something so appealing about this stage is that often we believe we need to choose one way or another, or we suppress one desire (our shadow side) yet often in these creative mandalas and in this stage it becomes obvious that there is a new 3rd way, an integration or bridge between the two opposites. We can use creative self expression to find this third way, to embrace change with energy and with passion. We can all be Yin AND Yang with the two combined as is shown so beautifully in the yin yang symbol.
In DBT this 3rd way is described as the Wise Mind; where we combine the best of our emotion mind and reason/logical mind. Wise Mind represents what would happen if you brought more of your emotion mind to your reason / logic mind or vice versa.
So what are your conflicting desires right now and what is your 3rd way? What would your wise mind say?
Resources for this blog: The Mandala Workbook by Susanne F. Fincher & Mandala Magic 2017 by Julie Gibbons