While we live on this earth, we exist in a dualistic environment. Hot. Cold. Day. Night. Left. Right. Male. Female. High. Low. Work. Play. Joy. Sorrow. Rain. Sun. Light. Dark. Sweet. Tart. Treasure. Junk. Head/Thought. Heart/Emotoin. Good. Bad.
For everything that exists, there appears to be an opposite. In order to know one and appreciate one, we need the know and appreciate the other.
Two concepts (how interesting) come to light with this month’s mandala:
- Without experiencing the negatives, how can we fully appreciate the positives? And vice versa.
If we experience sunshine every single day, we become complacent of the joy of sunshine. When I lived in L.A. the constant sunshine depressed me. I longed for a rainy day. When it rains all the time, we tend to take the rain for granted and wish it would go away; forgetting how joyful it can be to walk in the rain or how valuable it is for our gardens.
How can we truly know and appreciate joy without having experienced sorrow?
- What one person considers negative another considers positive. And vice versa.
It’s been said that this concept is what makes the world go around. For me, all I need do is visit one of our wonderful thrift shops in town to experience the treasures that people donated as “junk”. Some people might consider it a negative that a person speaks loudly; to someone who’s hard of hearing, a loud voice is greatly appreciated. Or for an orator, speaking loudly is a great trait; for a librarian…that might be an issue that needs to be addressed.
One man’s meat is another man’s poison.
When it comes to emotions, we tend to stuff, hide or override the negative ones and only focus on experiencing the positive ones; hence the potential for the abuse of food, drugs, and/or alcohol. As Dr. Brené Brown explained in one of her TED talks: when you numb one feeling you numb them all. So while we think we’re only numbing our anxieties, without realizing it, we are also numbing our ability to experience joy.
On a Personal Level
With regard to #1, our challenge becomes one where we take inventory of our day-to-day lives to see where we may be out of balance. Are we eating too much? (yes) Are we eating too little? (never) Are we working too much? (yes…but) Is there enough play? (no) Where are there excesses and where are we lacking? Are we giving/doing too much here and giving/doing too little over here? Throughout the month of March, become aware of areas that appear out of balance. Then find creative ways to restore that balance.
With regard to #2, our challenge becomes one where we embrace and honor all aspects of ourselves; positive and negative…which raises the issue of our definitions of positive and negative. Just how positive or negative are these aspects? I suspect that if we were to examine all our traits, we might be surprised to learn that, given certain circumstances, our perceived negative traits are really positives. There is a time and place for all aspects of ourselves.
If there’s any anxiety about expressing perceived negative traits explore creative ways to do so. For instance if expressing anger is difficult (unlady-like and all the BS), grab a pillow, connect with that anger, and then start banging it on your bed…the pillow and the bed can handle it. I did this years ago and at first it seemed silly however as I continued with it, I really started feeling it and it turned into quite a powerful and cathartic experience. Highly recommend it.
When we create balance in our lives, we become a more whole human being (a mandala), experiencing life to the fullest.
Ponder this as you color this month’s mandala.
Maureen, The Mandala lady
ps: if you’re looking for a fascinating book on the idea of balance, read “A Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor
Be sure to download Section 3 of the 2013 Mandala of the Year