This month’s blog post is about a concept introduced to me by Eric Maisel (and if you haven’t read anything by him, I highly recommend!) A concept that I am getting to know and experience more- and the more I do the more I grow clinically, personally and creatively- and so want to take the opportunity to introduce it to you: it is the concept of dualities.
Dualities exist all around us in life. Opposite end-of-the-spectrum forces that naturally oppose each other and create tension. Philosophers are no strangers to discussing them- Heraclitus’ theory was based on constant change between opposing forces as the source of all movement and natural existence. He said, ““All things are in flux; the flux is subject to a unifying measure or rational principle. This principle (logos, the hidden harmony behind all change) bound opposites together in a unified tension, which is like that of a lyre, where a stable harmonious sound emerges from the tension of the opposing forces that arise from the bow bound together by the string.” The important concept for us as creative people is recognizing the value of dualistic forces in our own lives and embracing them fully: that neither part of these pairs of power is more valuable than the other.
If you get thinking about it there is no end to the pairs of dualistic forces at work in our world, and really what we are doing is operationalizing concepts so we can talk about them (which is fine- it is what language is for!) But of course, as a creativity counselor, what I am interested in specifically are two categories of forces in your lives- creative dualistic pairs and psychological dualistic pairs. Some of the classic pairs in creativity are process vs product, technique vs idea, flow vs stuck or block etc. In psychology they can be emotional pairs like happiness and sadness, anxiety vs peace. Some even blur the categorical boundaries between psychological and creative pairs such as struggle vs success or perfection vs imperfection. Take a moment to consider what sorts of dualistic pairs have presented themselves in your creative and psychological lives.
Just like step one of the process of creating your best life at Creatively is to know your creative self, knowing what forces are at work in your mind and heart and motivate you are important. If you know you regularly struggle with perfectionism, perhaps you can take time to try to accept imperfections. If you know you struggle with sadness, perhaps there are opportunities to find small moments of happiness. This is the type of room for work recognizing these dualities can give you.
The concept of dualities is pretty simple: both parts of a dualistic pair are equally important and powerful parts of your life story. In fact- in your life you will constantly experience and oscillate between these forces. To value one over the other is to deny important experiences and parts of self and life. As Heraclitus famously said, “It is in changing we find purpose.” And so, Creatives, it is with this topic today I propose to you recognizing areas of resistance in your life- places where we can learn to live our lives more fully and authentically, the way your creative soul was meant live.
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The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.