It is snowing this morning in ChangZhou. It rarely snows here, I think that this is the third year in the past ten years that ChangZhou has had snow. It came just at the right time for me. It tells me to slow down, to sit back and reflect. This is the time to step outside the alchemical fireplace; this s the time to cool off and allow the psyche to “temper,” to regain the boundaries of self as separate from the collective unconscious. The cold snow falling on these bamboo leaves and the gazebo outside of my living room window reminds me that I need to “cool off” as well so that the journey through IndoChina, a journey also through the images of the collective unconscious, has time to be processed and brought into some form in my consciousness.
As I reflect on the journey through IndoChina, I am reminded of Odysseus’ journey. Both journeys are basically journeys of the psyche more than they are physical journeys. Now that I have had a day back in my apartment in ChangZhou, I am beginning to realise that I have been on a wild ride of a journey for the past thirteen years. Thirteen years ago I made a decision to do something different, to dare moving from a quiet and busy life in a quiet town on the Canadian Prairies. It meant that I had to leave a home that I had invested in for twenty years in order to challenge my personal monsters and to find my strengths in the process. I shifted my sense of self and began an exploration that has continued through to today’s post and will likely continue until the day I lose the capacity to wonder. These words were spoken by Odysseus:
“I will stay with it and endure through suffering hardship
and once the heaving sea has shaken my raft to pieces, then I will swim.” (source: James Hollis, “Embracing the New: Avoiding a Routinized Life” The Huffington Post)
Well, that is what I have unconsciously done, avoided sitting still in one place, avoiding a “routinized life” as it is called by Hollis. Remembering the story of the Odyssey, I remember that there were interludes of time in which the hero was able to rest and renew energy levels before engaging again the wild ride. There are inns and pubs along the dusty trails of each of our personal journeys where we can catch our breaths and get ready for the next leg of the journey.
So, it is time to sit close to the warmer air coming from my heater and relax as I watch the snowflakes fall. Soon the snow will melt away.