Entries in psychology (2)



For months now, I have been wanting to sit down long enough to write and share the internal process that I experience when I challenge myself to tackle activities that require clearing out the old, discovering anew and reclaiming the value found in the abandoned or forgotten spaces. These spaces I speak of exist, both inside me and outside me, in my home and in my environments. There are the closets, the archival attic, and the weeded, tangled corners of my mind, as well as my outdoor property, that have spaces and places that need attention.

Although to most, I am considered a pretty organized person, not a pack rat, life never stands still while I sip my coffee and take five. I can hear the weeds growing in my garden, so what do I do, but turn up the music louder.  I am convinced that there are just some days, weeks, months and now years like that in our lives. While we have to accept that our motivations wax and wane like the moon cycles, karma never forgets. There is always that one day when we have to face our spaces, our places. Unless of course, you are like my mother who just left it all for her children to inherit. It still makes me wonder what kind of karmic debt she carries in her afterlife? I have the feeling though, she got one of those monopoly game cards that said "Go Free and Collect $200". 

Recently, while wrestling vines in the backyard that were strangling trees and flowering bushes, I discovered that I could weave those menacing flexible, pliable vines around my door way into a textural, sculptural arch. It was to my surprise and delight that 24hrs. later, a pair of morning dove selected this as a perfect nesting site; shortly after, my moon flowers and morning glories began their ascent too. I was reminded that transformation is a creative process that emerges out of the willingness to address the ugliest of situations. Being a therapist, I have been witness to many profound healings that began with difficult and painful histories. I was also reminded of the teachings of Dr. Carl Jung, an Austrian psychiatrist, analytic seeker of metaphor and the collective unconscious, who spoke to the essential birthrights and evolution of man's consciousness to carry the creative archetype of the Magician. It is this alchemist in us that knows how to  turn the unhealthy into health, the dark into light, fear into love and backyard messes into beauty. 

My latest task at hand, as a Magician, is the arduous process of clearing out a thirty year attic of family memories. I am reminded of who I was as a young woman, mother, spouse, student, entrepreneur, healer and therapist. I am also reminded of who I am not any longer as I attempt to squeeze into my old pair of leather, hip hugger, bell bottoms! The love letters, postcards and photos I discover force me to review the naivete, idealism, impulsiveness, willfulness, adventurous, romantic and visionary person I was. In these moments, as I stand in the sweltering heat of the attic before my personal heaven and hell while the sweat pours down my face, I become choked up.

I am feeling my life before me. A life that could not have been more passionately lived. A life that was bold with beliefs and convictions that carved out my destiny. A life that was blind to understanding my own parts in sabotaging happiness and acceptance. A life of unconditional love visible in the tattered remnants of hand made items, valentine cards and children's toys. A life that always asked questions and always sought answers. A life lived with doubt, pain and sadness. A life of laughter, playfulness and wonder. A life of dreams that came true in expected and unexpected ways. A life lived unafraid to know the truth.

The questions that I carry down with me as I descend from the steps of the attic, are full of their own cobwebs and the light of day will help bring clarity to answer them. Who am I now? What in me remains the same? How have I evolved or devolved? What within myself have I forgotten or stored away until now when I can better appreciate its value? What do I want or still need to reclaim from myself, if anything?  Doesn't it come as no surprise at all why we postpone facing the spaces, the places, that we call home?





We most often use the common term "growing pains" when we are talking about youthful bodies stretching and growing beyond what feels comfortable within one's own skin. In time, the muscles, ligaments and skin cooperate and lo and behold, we become more grown up. Then before you know it, the time comes again for the same metamorphosis to happen, only now the territory that needs to grow is internal. This is called soul growth or soul evolution. Hence, what was once growing pains now become "learning pains".

Life, by its very nature, is designed to keep you growing, evolving, if you will. Every soul has a natural impulse to become so much more than one permits oneself to imagine and grow toward.  My experience as a body psychotherapist has taught me that individuals, as humanistic soulful organisms, have the capacity to respond in proportion to their measured sense of safety and security. If you feel you are standing on solid ground within yourself and in your environment, you are more capable of accepting and creating the needed changes in your life. When life feels continually tumultous and perhaps, even dangerous, then it is harder to respond wisely on your own behalf. We are reminded of the recent kidnappings in Ohio and the women who felt too trauamtized and therefore paralyzed to risk their freedom.. 

I know from my own experiences that when I have resisted my own forward movement, it was during times that I didn't feel grounded in myself. I had moved from one location to another and although my bags were upacked I was emotionally unsettled. I further complicated my life by creating distractions that took me further from myself rather than settling in. I used clever deflections and excuses such things as: higher pursuits, business projects, my children's needs, house cleaning, partying, decorating, shopping, or worse yet, helping others improve their lives! I eventually always came back to the same inevitable, restless feelings. When I was finally ready to or forced to face my own personal truths, I grew immensly.

What is most important to remember is that when your own avoidance factor catches up to you, and you will feel forced to deal that an emerging response, try not to react. Realize there is a great difference between responding and reacting and each one leads to a different outcome. Reacting is connected to quick impulsive behavior and can cause damage and regret. It generally is harsher, more adolescent, desperate and sourced in a deeper fear that never got resolved from the past.

Learn to take a deep breathe and ride the wave of your pain, anger, loss and fear all the way through. If you do, you will learn what you still need to address within yourself while everything else falls to the side. You will realize that the pain you have carried and avoided has been waiting for your attention so you can heal. Your growing pains are your learning pains. They exist to serve you in growth that wouls otherwise not occur. Carl G. Jung, mystic, psychiatrist, father of archetypal psychology reminded us , "There is no coming to consciousness without pain." Suffering is a part of your personal path toward wisdom. It is through addressing your suffering, as Buddha reminded us, that you become free from the illusory fears that keep you held and bound in captivity. Once your soul can breathe and stretch again, you discover that you are comfortable being in your own skin.