Archive for February 28th, 2010
This is a beautiful bird that I managed somehow to capture with my camera even though it was raining. I was on the balcony of a backpacker’s hostel in Santa Elena when I took the photo. For this fellow, the ordinary is not what appears to be the norm. He is flamboyant, almost cheerful with his life, bowing down before whatever it is in life that makes one rejoice in being alive knowing that one has a life with meaning and purpose.
Okay, so that is stretching it a bit, but this is about active imagination as I’ve mentioned many times. These photos are symbolic, evocative and resonant for me. I look at life through my lens, both the camera lens and that which is within me that filters all that comes in. For me, the inner lens sees a world that is framed in Jungian ideas. The camera simply frames what “I” see and how “I” see it. The process is more a symbolic quest for me as I rummage through the clutter, cobwebs and ghosts of the unconscious; for me this is a quest for life.
For me, there is no straight line of facts and figures, no template to follow in order to uncover a life that has meaning. It seems that each time I try to follow a trail that already is in place, someone else’s trail, I get lost and need to retrace my steps back until I find a familiar place. Then, knowing that it is painful to have to backtrack, defeated, I start to inch forward again making sure that the trail I follow is one that I forge, one that my intuition and gut tells me is the right one for me. Not doing this would leave me desperate, fearful of being lost; not lost in space and time, but lost to my soul.
“You see, man is in need of a symbolic life – badly in need. We only live banal, ordinary, rational or irrational things – which are naturally also within the scope of rationalism, otherwise you could not call them irrational. But we have no symbolic life. Where do we live symbolically? Nowhere, except where we participate in the ritual of life. But who, among the many, are really participating in the ritual of life? Very few.” (Jung, CW 18, par 625)
Now I understand my need to escape the paths taken by others, it is more about the need to participate in a symbolic life. Following the worn pathways leaves one in a meaningless rut. Yes, we try hard to construct meaning from our careers, from the lives of our children and/or grandchildren, from our investments and from our social position. Some expend a lot of effort and money to rebuild a home, to renovate, to upgrade, to beautify according to the latest fashion journal only to feel that once done, they are again missing something forcing them to reinvest more and more of doing the same thing hoping for different results. These are lives of quiet desperation, banal lives. I am lucky. I retired and now have the time and will to follow a different path. This is the greatest gift to me thanks to living through a midlife crisis.