Happy Wednesday! Today I'm reflecting on the power of cultivating opposites. Exploring the crevices of our being that are not as easily understood, connected with, or comfortable.
I believe all of us are whole. All of us are multi-faceted. All of us have the beautiful qualities that we observe in others, in ourselves. The practice is perhaps learning how to connect with those qualities in an intentional way. Sometimes it may be like finding a great book on your bookshelf that you did not know was there, and other times it may feel like rediscovering a favorite book that collected dust on it. That literally happened to me this morning as I was called to my bookshelf and found an old book with deep wisdom inside of it that I hadn't opened in years...directly connected to my latest opposite cultivation.
In Eastern philosophy frameworks like yin and yang, masculine and feminine, serve as a means of emphasizing that we all are composed of different energies at the center of our Being that manifest in different qualities and characteristics. The combination and potentiates of each of those energies is unique for each individual. And I've been thinking lately that part of exploring our "middle way" is intention exploration to uncover the energies that reside in us that are weak and are asking us for attention.
Here's what I mean. Late last year I got a beautiful garden of flowers tattooed on my left arm. This permanent artwork is a reminder of my next phase of cultivation and where my untapped strength lies...in the Divine Feminine. Living in a busy city, working in a government bureaucracy for almost a decade, problem solving, a "go getter" culture, and the reality of living on my own as a single woman has meant that I've been strongly connected to the warrior, the do'er, the analytical problem solver, the thinker, the "masculine", the yang, energies inside of me. This has served me well and these energies remain an essential part of who I am. But it has become clear that my next phase of internal exploration is cultivating the opposite. Cultivating ease, observation, reflection, listening, feeling, intuition, and feminine.
What I've learned in the past from similar practices to cultivate the "opposite" or other side of each energy is that it forms the bedrock of deep wisdom and insight. It's how I was led to meditation many years ago. Many years ago the idea of silence, sitting still, and doing literally nothing, felt foreign. Now Silence is one of my greatest teachers and I spend time with it each morning and evening. Opposite exploration was how I started going on retreats. The idea of spending immense amounts of time alone felt strange. Depressive in fact. Now retreats are an integral part of my self care and have supported me in deepening my own spiritual path. It's how I connected to martial arts after spending many years as a ballerina and uncovered the steady warrior side of myself. It's how I learned how to allow things to cool down and take space during conflicts rather than the need to problem solve now that led to less drama and more mindfulness in relationships. The cultivation of opposites has helped me connect more fully with the Wholeness of my being already there and find my own middle path.
I wouldn't be writing these Joy Tip Wednesdays or doing the work I'm doing without the cultivation of opposites. The cultivation of opposites led me to my purpose, my passions, and ultimately...myself. So for this Joy Tip Wednesday I want to invite you to play along and explore a new side of yourself. Here's how:
- Choose a quality or tendency that feels strong in yourself. Something that feels comfortable. This can be anything. Perhaps it is that during conversations you usually talk. Or perhaps you always listen. Perhaps it is that you spend a lot of time alone, or you are always with people.
- Identify the opposite...it's other half. Find the beautiful opposite of that beautiful quality. Perhaps the opposite or other side of empathy and compassion via listening in a conversation is support and encouragement through sharing. Or introspective and reflective qualities of being alone are paired with the curious and connecting qualities of spending time with people.
- Decide one way to practice connecting with this opposite. Chose an action that feels reasonable, doable, and is one step out of your comfort zone.
- Check in to see what you learned about yourself from the experience. What did it feel like connecting with a different side of yourself? Of life?
- Feeling bold? Try it again. Take another step or explore another quality and keep learning about yourself. Be receptive to what wisdom comes your way.
This is not about changing the core of who you are. For example, if you find you are an introvert, this is not to force you into being an extrovert. It is instead, to expand the field of your experience. To practice taking steps out of your comfort zone. And to exploring your most authentic expression of all the multi-faceted parts of yourself.
Have fun with this. It can be an exciting adventure. I've been reconnected with the Divine Feminine side of myself and having a blast. I've been learning so much about myself and each time I practice cultivating a new opposite, it's like meeting another part of myself for the first time. And while at times it has felt uncomfortable, I feel more Whole each step of the way.
Now go out there and discover the immense depth of the Universe you are composed of, already residing deep inside of you. And if you are brave enough, you may be surprised at the jewels you find at the center of your being as you lift the veils from your experience.
PS. Are you curious to learn more about the Wholeness of your being or to truly discover who you are? I'd love to support you on your journey. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time to connect and see where your journey can take you.