Living a Passionate Life: Finding Fulfillment
Reaching Second Adulthood
After hearing all this, I wasn't surprised when Madeline told me she'd started dating again. There is a vital link between following a dream and reopening the pathway to sexual pleasure, intimacy, and companionship. The object of both pursuits is the wish to achieve mature love and sense of meaning and purpose.
Madeline had reached a stage I call Second Adulthood, which stands in vivid contrast to First Adulthood. In our First Adulthood, we survive by figuring out how to please and perform for the powerful people who protect and reward us: parents, teachers, mates, and bosses. The great transition in the passage to Second Adulthood for women is to move from pleasing to mastery. It is then that a woman is fully ready to speak with her own voice.
Second Adulthood is an ideal time to follow yet another path to a passionate life -- spiritual exploration. In most Western cultures, we are led to believe that the spirit is separate from the mind and body. As a result, many of us confine our spiritual searching to a single day of worship. Or we find ourselves half hoping for some life-altering spiritual awakening or "religious experience" that will lift us out of our ordinary consciousness.
In fact, we can build spirituality into our daily routines by meditating, praying, practicing yoga, or even taking a brisk walk to clear the mind and release those wonderful feel-good hormones called endorphins. (Any of those options beats having a cigarette, another drink, or a blowup with a loved one.) Taking a spiritual path requires no specific orthodoxy. It does not expect clear answers. What it does demand is reading, thinking, and contemplation of the great questions of life and death, faith and doubt. The pilgrimage is the point.
Once you commit to pursuing a passionate life, any one of these paths may start you off. A sexual resurgence may be the stimulus for a personal renaissance that is also spiritual. A spiritual awakening may trigger a renewed commitment of following a dream. Any or all of these paths can gradually transform a two-dimensional young woman into an immensely more alluring "seasoned" woman. Sex, passion, and soul go together. Do what you love and love will likely find you.