When a painful thought or emotion arrives, do we accept it as it is and flood it with open, non-judgmental awareness? Or do we engage more actively, enter into relationship with it, get messy and burn with it, ask it why it has come, turn it into a partner of the inner world and explore its meaning, purpose, and essence?
Acceptance and change. Being and becoming. Healing and holding. Transformation and rest. These are the great archetypal energies that we meet along the way.
As all archetypal opposites, we will never settle them into some tidy package in which we can land and take refuge. They are unresolvable, wild, and free, creative emissaries of the mystery. Inside the opposites, in that rich middle place of intimacy without fusion, the water of life is at flow.
The invitation is not one of resolution, but of curiosity and exploration, as we are asked to become archeologists of the inner landscape.
At times, it is rest and acceptance that is the medicine we most need, while at other times, the remedy is more active, fiery, and more involved, more messy, less clean and whitened, and oriented in relationship. Neither are “right” or “true” or “better,” but each are skillful means which we can call forth in a moment of activation, shifting to the other in a future moment, and then back again as we answer the call.
Mindfully allowing the fires of the inner world to emerge, to dance for a while, and then dissolve, with presence, acceptance, and kindness. At other times to go into the content, following the thread, longing to know it in a different way. To speak to it, listen to it, to know it at the deepest levels and in all its subtlety and nuance.
Each of these paths is utterly valid, a profound offering for yourself and others. We need not take sides but engage each with curiosity, as experiments in self-love and the love of the world.
In the end, to discover how it is that we’ve come to imagine ourselves, others, and this world; and even more importantly, how we might re-imagine and re-author the poem that is our lives, and re-enchant this place with unique, wild, unprecedented being.
Shared with gracious permission from A Healing Space. Photo by Jose Antonio Alba.
I am a psychotherapist in private practice, working with individuals, groups, couples, and families. My practice integrates developmental, relational, and contemplative perspectives/ approaches to psychospiritual growth and healing.
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