The provisional life might be defined as a vague malaise: current relationships, work, and lifestyle feel like placeholders until the ‘real thing’ arrives—someday. If early life circumstances made over-conforming to others’ needs and expectations necessary, persona can be over-developed and shadow denied.
The person may orient to external sources for self-definition, acceptance and direction, because deep roots in shadow’s dark, fertile soil of authentic feeling and experience are lacking. The recovery and discovery of the true self comes from engaging the inner world: dreams, reverie, creative endeavors, service to something greater—and perhaps a wise guide on the road to wholeness.
Jung says, “If the risk is not taken, the meaning of life is somehow violated, and the whole future is condemned to helpless staleness…” Or we can be alive while we’re alive.
“I find myself in an old abandoned church. I am climbing up a ladder and next to me is a being, half-bird & half-human. I feel attracted to her; I kiss her. In the next scene, I push her away from me. Now she is a bird. Another person helps me to get the bird out of the church. The bird wants to come back in. I have a guilty conscience because I try to push her away from me. Now the bird person is back in the church. And in the last image, I find myself with her walking around the church and the being tells me “people can’t fly because they don’t have wings.”
Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki).
Mary Oliver. When Death Comes and other poems.