Tag: Jung

A RENDEVOUS WITH DESTINY: The U.S. Election

A RENDEVOUS WITH DESTINY: The U.S. Election

us election 2016We are coming face to face with our history and our destiny. This morning I attempted to put thoughts about the election into words. This is a turning point for us as a nation. I feel it. I sense it. I pray we chose the light.

Here’s what I wrote on Facebook:

My first election vote was cast in the McGovern vs. Nixon race in 1972. Focused on my own young life, I didn’t take time to read much about the political stance of either candidate. I did, however, use my intuition and my senses, as I watched the candidates speak and interact, to determine who I believed had the strength of character to further our country’s values.

I voted for McGovern. Even at that young age I sensed Nixon’s underlying character flaws just bey watching him. History revealed the true results of that election in this regard. Did my vote count? It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that it did not, and perhaps it didn’t. Not everyone sees what we see, but we must never stop fighting for what we believe.

This election is by far the most unusual in my life time. For the first time, we have chosen a candidate to run for office who does not have the typical background considered qualifications for being President. This is less important than the fact that we have a candidate who does not have the core principles and values upon which this country was founded. Not even close. Therein lies the true danger, in my opinion.

STRENGTH OF CHARACTER

Strength of character is more difficult to perceive, but nevertheless profoundly influences how an individual lives their lives personally and how they lead. Think Lincoln, Nixon, Kennedy, Obama and how their character shaped our future. The US President symbolizes what our country stand for. He/she is the face we show the world. Our world is shrinking and we dare not stray far from our origins if we are to continue to be a world leader.

This election has forced us to face our shadow. We have had to look into the eyes of egoism, hatred, division, anger, despair, frustration, meanness, prejudice, abuse, and self-aggrandizement. It isn’t pretty. We must be careful not to assume that we hold none of these characteristics. We all carry a shadow self, that when buried too far out of sight will jump up and bite us in the butt. Right now, in the national arena, we are experiencing this. As a collective we have been ignoring our shadow. It’s time to take a hard look and choose the light.

shadowWe have the choice.

We tend to believe that we are powerless on the national scale. This is not true. We do have a choice. Every day. Each small choice adds up to the big ones that appear at election time. The way each and every one of us answers this question on a day-to-day basis, results in our collective choices nationally. It’s up to us.

Will we choose fear over open heartedness? Will we choose hate over acceptance and tolerance? Will we choose self-respect and self-esteem over ego gratification? Will we choose generosity and compassion over the need to be in control?

We are being challenged to stand by our principles, to stand by the fundamental values upon which this country was built. This election is not a vote for policy, it’s a vote for decency, respect, equality, kindness, acceptance, tolerance and the fundamental, underlying core values upon which this great country has stood for centuries. Are we willing to let our ideals slip through our fingers and into the hands of fear?

VOTE from your heart, not your fear. VOTE every day in as many ways possible for your highest values. We must walk our talk not only in the way we vote, but the way we live. This is the only way we will keep this country on the path of good.

[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]”We are the engines that give life to those that emerge from the crowds.”  ~ Caroline Myss [/tweetthis]

After I finished writing this post, I read Caroline Myss’ post today. She says what I was trying to say much better. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read it.

This Election is an Encounter with the Force of Destiny by Caroline Myss

On Loneliness

On Loneliness

 

It is … only in the state of complete abandonment and loneliness that we experience the helpful powers of our own natures. ”   Carl Jung;  Modern Man in Search of a Soul

 

Much of my life I spent locked in the cage of a deep and pervasive loneliness. It did not matter that I had friends, family or people around me. I struggled with this abiding isolation, helpless to make it go away. I berated myself for not “doing” the right thing, or “attracting” the right people into my life. Why when I married my best friend and was surrounded by children and friends that loved me was I still assailed by loneliness?

Figure at the Window by Salvador Dalí
Figure at the Window by Salvador Dalí

As I grew older, my parents died, my children left home, my husband and i were living with the consequences of a life time of destructive patterns of interaction, was I found myself in a “dark night of the soul”, as described by St. John of the Cross in his poem and treatise by that name – Dark Night of the Soul (Dover Thrift Editions). I saw nothing but endless isolation ahead, and death. I knew that I had to face my fear of being alone once and for all. I knew that I had to face it alone. That was all I knew, and it was terrifying. I believed there had to be a different answer to the problem than I had heretofore found and I became determined to find it.

Coming through a dark night is never easy, but it is always life and spirit altering. In my dark night I discovered a connection to myself and to my soul that now sustains me in a way nothing else was ever meant to do. I understand that now. One cannot escape loneliness through action or connection to others. One must heal the emptiness inside that separates us from ourselves. Only then can we gain true intimacy with others. It sounds simple, It is not.

Carl Jung discovered this as well. He discovered and articulated our need to discover the “powers of our own natures” and to live from within our own creative powers, using our own rich and magnificent resources. We have far more inside of ourselves and at our disposal than most of us ever imagine; more than most of us can even conceive, particularly when we are locked in the fear, dread and scarcity mentality of our culture. To discover our inner strength, the bubbling fountain of life energy that is ever-present to us, it is necessary to disconnect from anything that pulls us away from it and from that which draws our attention to false solutions and weak excuses. Only then, will we discover the richest part of this life we are now living.

Have you experience a “dark night of the soul”? Have you experienced deep and abiding loneliness? What did you discover there?

Unraveling Ourselves

Backwards Thinking

 

Defining Life Realistically As We Age

Defining Life Realistically As We Age

Duke Gardens
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Duke University
Durham, NC

“Defining Life Realistically” is Carl Jung’s third task of his Seven Tasks of Aging. Speaking of a reality check, I can’t imagine being brought more back to earth than I have been over the last decade. Yikes! I think I’m still trying to find my balance.

When we “cling to illusions that are contrary to reality, then problems will surely arise”, according to Jung. We come into the aging process attached to so many illusions. Most of us are in no way prepared for the first intrusion of reality, whether it be the sudden death of a loved one, a broken marriage, children run amok, a health crisis, a lost job or any number of other life challenges. 

These may very well strike long before midlife, but when they occur in our youth we still believe to some extent that our life will go on forever. At midlife we very much begin to see the end and a sense of urgency descends. I was 19 when my father very suddenly and unexpectedly lost his job. He was sixty. Too young for retirement, too old to be hired by someone else in his field. He sent out over 200 resumes and received nothing. (Fortunately this is less true now.) I watched him crumble, his lifelong pursuit of a good, secure and stable life fall by the wayside. My belief in corporate America was shattered. I was able never able to recover my confidence in it and have been self-employed ever since. 

I carried forth with the illusion for the next twenty something years that I could create my own independent, successful lifestyle. I did not have to be controlled and dependent upon something or someone outside of my control. My midlife awakening was that I was wrong about that as well. I had faced endless obstacles trying to create an independent, successful lifestyle. I had encountered circumstances and events beyond my control. I had not been able to accomplish what I set out and worked so hard to accomplish, and I was running out of time and energy to keep trying.

I had been living in a dream world. I had not faced reality, and because of that I was simultaneously driven and living in a self-destructive state of mind. I had to let it go. I had to let the illusion go. I had to face reality. 

There are so many things that wake us up as we age. Our bodies are another never ending source of reality checks. Weight loss becomes harder. Building strength and endurance becomes a slower process. The damage we’ve done through fad diets, too much stress, indifference to our needs is harder to repair. We are no longer on the same track of trying to look a certain way. The illusion that we will one day, if we work hard enough, become a perfect size 6, or 8, or 10, or 12, slips through our fingers as middle age sagging and bulging and softening begins. 

This is all as it should be. A problem arises only when we cling to our illusions, cling to the idea that we can at sixty obtain the body of a thirty year old woman, that we can or should achieve complete control over our careers, that we are, in fact, not subject to the laws of the universe. Beliefs such as “I deserve, or am owed a happy marriage”, or “I have to have youthful skin at sixty” leads us to resentment, despair, anger and frustration. 

Coming to terms with what is, in a culture that wants us to believe we can have and do whatever we desire, is a challenge. It is, however, our challenge to embrace as we age. It is our task to take on and, it is in our best interest to do so. When we ignore this task and cling to our illusions we remain stuck and unable to step into the awakening of our inner life. 

What have been your wake up calls as you age? How have you navigated them? Are you aware of other illusions still needing attention?

Task 1 Facing the Reality of Aging and Dying

Task 2 A Life Review

A Life Review

A Life Review

Fleurs - Jean Claude Papeix
Fleurs – Jean Claude Papeix

When my mother was in her nineties, she became obsessed with telling me stories of her life. I heard about people, places and experiences that she had never shared with me, or perhaps anyone, before. I understood her need to go back and revisit her life in light of Erik Erikson’s Stages of Development. The last stage, “Ego Integrity vs. Despair”, he considered the stage when an individual developed the virtue of wisdom. He contended that during this stage an individual reflects on his or her life and makes a determination as to whether or not it was of value. Their conclusion leads them either to despair and to the belief that their life was wasted or to the conclusion that life was meaningful and of value to society. 

Mom often repeated the same story again and again, almost word for word, as if she had been rehearsing it for a lifetime, but needed to share it one more time, to make it “right”, or make sense of it somehow. It was clear to me that she was struggling to reach a place of acceptance and affirmation. Many times she ended her stories with the wrap up, “It’s been a good life”.  I worried whether or not she actually believed this affirmation as she was so prone to despair throughout her life. 

Now, as the years add up for me, I have already begun to see this process taking place. I am thirty years younger than she was at the time. Had she been thinking about these things for some time, but had never been able to quite resolve the conflict?  Or did I start the process early? Or perhaps, is there another way to look at it.

Carl Jung’s second task in his Seven Tasks of Aging is a “Life Review”. Life tasks seem to arise on cue in most individuals, but we still have the choice as to whether or not we accept the challenge. We decided when and how to step into, and engage, the process in order to be prepared for the next step the task must be taken on.  We learn from a life review as we wrestle with our mistakes, our regrets and disappointments and realign ourselves with our beliefs and our values. Perhaps that is why memoirs are such a popular genre these days. People have more time and freedom to take on this lengthy review process.

we all begin the process before we are ready, before we are strong enough, before we know enough; we begin a dialogue with thoughts and feelings that both tickle and thunder within us. We respond before we know how to speak the language, before we know all the answers, and before we know exactly to whom we are speaking.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves

More by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

It is in the process of a life review that we find our answers. Through participation in the tasks of aging we grow in wisdom and become increasingly congruent. it is important to remember that though we are called to undertake these tasks, it might be better to think of them as on-going processes.  We learn and grow when we embrace them, but they ebb and flow, sometimes urgently calling us, sometimes slipping out of sight for a time. Rising to greet the urging when it appears rather than shying away from it will enrich our lives as we age. 

Have you begun the task of a “Life Review”? What have you discovered?

Aging Is An Inside Job

Aging Is An Inside Job

Aging Is an Inside JobIt seems like a hundred years ago that Sophie Lumen of The Art of Aging began to amass her spectacular following on Facebook. We stumbled across each other and immediately recognized that we were kindred spirits. We joined forces in heart and mind to take on the challenges of aging. An artist and spiritual guru she spread love and acceptance everywhere she went.  Even though Sophie has been on a bit of a sabbatical, The Art of Aging is still gathering followers, and she posts from time to time on her website Feed the Beauty. I have a feeling that she’ll show up again one day shining even brighter than before. I tell you about Sophie because one of my favorite quotes of hers has always been “Beauty is an inside job.” How very right she is!

I also believe that aging is an inside job. As we get older everything in and around us pushes us, and not so very gently I might add, away from externals and toward getting right with ourselves. We are being directed to start facing our fears, healing our wounds and traumas, figuring out what we truly believe and value and learning to start living congruently…aligning our insides with our outsides. We can’t do this by obsessing about our gray hair, our sagging breasts, our wrinkles, our decreasing strength. We can’t do this by focusing on externals. External concerns are only a diversion, an escape, a habit of avoiding the real issue at hand.

Are there real life concerns? Of course. They, however, must take a back seat to the inner work that needs to be done. The inner work will make the outer work more manageable and clear. Carl Jung outlines this process in his 7 tasks of aging. It’s a good place to start to see the basics of this process.

Carl Jung’s 7 tasks of aging

  1. Facing the reality of aging and dying
  2. Life review
  3. Defining life realistically
  4. Letting go of the ego
  5. Finding new rooting in the Self
  6. Determining the meaning of one’s life
  7. Rebirth – dying with life

These are no light weight tasks! Then again, we always complain about not wanting to waste our lives! The inner journey can appear daunting. No wonder we shy away from it. It doesn’t make it any less compelling or necessary. I’m pretty sure the alternative isn’t any better. We just think it is.

In the coming weeks, I will begin to address each of these tasks in more detail.  I hope you’ll hang around and offer our experience and insights.

Have you tackled any of Jung’s tasks? Where are you in this process? Where are you getting stuck? Please leave a comment if you have time. We have so much to learn from one another.

Recommended Audio Series for the Midlife Woman in Transition

Recommended Audio Series for the Midlife Woman in Transition

CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, PhD

The following selection of audio books are among the most powerful that I have found that speak to the heart of the midlife woman in transition and the joy of becoming a “dangerous old woman”. I own each one and have listened to them numerous times throughout the last several years. Dr. Estés is an American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst. A powerful story-teller, she weaves universal life lessons into her stories and her stories into her life lessons.

A few of her works are in print but most are only recordings. Dr. Estés’ voice and presence in the process of the reading and telling of her work is infinitely more powerful than her words on the printed page alone. I highly recommend her work. She has a powerful message for all women, but most especially for the woman over fifty.

NOTE: All of Dr. Estés’ Audios are available on Audible. A special offer should appear in the left margin of this page. I do make a few pennies from anything you purchased via my site. So, thank you. It is greatly appreciated, as keeping things going is often a challenge! Audible is where I purchase all of my audio books.  I have found it to be the most economical option available. I listen to many of them over and over again because, particularly Dr. Estés’ audios. She is such a magnificent storyteller and like a good movie you watch a second time, I pick up something new every time I listen and I enjoy the experience.. The investment has been well worth it.

The Dangerous Old Woman


Dr. Estés asks, “Did you know, you were born as the first, and the last and the best and the only one of your kind, and that eccentricity is the first sign of giftedness? These are two of the crone truths I have to offer you.”

If you have any doubt, come join us at the fireside of the Dangerous Old Woman for the soul-healing wisdom that will ignite your creativity and support your highest calling in life—to become a dangerous woman of wisdom yourself.


Warming the Stone child 

Healing for the “Unmothered Child”

The pain of abandonment, both real and metaphorical, can cast a shadow over our entire adult experience. Warming the Stone Child investigates the abandoned child archetype in world myths and cultures to find clues about the process of healing the un-mothered child within us all. Along the way, this gifted storyteller and Jungian psychoanalyst instructs us about the psychology of abandonment in childhood, how it affects us in later life, and its curiously special gifts and powers. Join her as she illuminates:

  • The Inuit fable of the Stone Child
  • Symptoms of the adult “abandoned child”
  • The story of the Little Red Cap
  • The English tale of the Stolen Woman Moon
  • The four types of abandonment
  • Re-creating the inner mother, and much more.

Mother Night


Rescue the Gifted Soul!

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés says that the most endangered species on earth is the human soul. “What if our world is starving for soulful gifts only you carry? What are you waiting for? Lost, pushed back, can’t find the door, can’t see in the dark? ‘Mother Night’ knows the way.”

On Mother Night, Dr. Estés teaches us to retrieve our beautiful gifts abandoned in the unconscious through neglect, ignorance, and fear. Gather with her at the fireside for nearly 10 hours of original teaching stories, poetry, commentary, and her special prayers of blessing over your creative soul.


Women Who Run with Wolves

First published three years before the print edition of Women Who Run With the Wolves made publishing history, this original audio edition quickly became an underground bestseller. For its insights into the inner life of women, it established Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés as one of the most important voices of our time in the fields of Jungian psychology, myth, and women’s mysteries.

Drawing from her work as a psychoanalyst and cantadora (“keeper of the old stories”), Dr. Estés uses myths and folktales to illustrate how societies systematically strip away the feminine spirit. Through an exploration into the nature of the wild woman archetype, Dr. Estés helps listeners rediscover and free their own wild nature.


The Power of the Crone

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés Presents Part Two of Her Masterwork on the Dangerous Old Woman

“Dear brave souls, I warmly invite you to come be at the fireside with me and the Dangerous Old Woman and the Power of the Crone. Who is the crone? She is the most dangerous, the most radical, the most revolutionary woman in existence. Whether in fairy tales or in consensual reality, the old one goes where she wants to and she acts as she wishes; she lives as she chooses. And this is all as it should be. And no one can stop her. Nor ought they try.”—Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD

When Does Wisdom Come? Fulfilling the Callings of Soul and more.