Archive for July, 2011
Today’s post is going to be short as I am going to be leaving shortly for yet another engagement with the outer world. I took this photo simply because I like flowers. In choosing this photo for toady’s post I thought that it would simply be just a photo with no significance. Of course I should know better as all images have something to say other than the obvious. Though I was focusing on the lily that was open, trying to get an angle on the shot that would highlight it best, I didn’t realise that I was also taking a photo of the unopened versions. Seeing them together I am reminded of the Jungian idea of how the one, the individual is both masculine and feminine. Enough said for today with a likelihood that I will be back later tomorrow with a post that has more depth and more words in resonance.
I took this photo two days ago and find that it an appropriate image for today’s post which I am writing while sitting in my second airport of the day. I guess I could legitimately say I am spending a good part of my day up in the air. It will be good to finally arrive at my home later in the day, but even there life is somewhat up in the air as my brother-in-law, Michael will be staying in the house and I will be his chaperon/guide for the next few days. For those who have been following for some time, you will know Michael as a young man who has Alzheimer’s. It will be good to be with him again but at the same time, he serves as a reminder to me of how fragile and tenuous our time as conscious beings is in the world. I see in Michael my own fading from consciousness back into a shadow world and eventually back into the darkness from where my existence sprung more than sixty years ago.
I am finished with the selection of photos and the placing of the photos in a paged document that will become a PDF and ebook in the near future. The writing component of the book is underway and has altered from my original intentions largely due to my experiences in British Columbia with my mother, her mate, and my brother. Light and Shadow – consciousness and unconsciousness the circular journey that ends where it begins though it seems linear to our western world minds. As you know, I am using the visual of a rail track as the “linear” approach as I follow the day from dawn to sunset where light produces large shadows that shrink as one approaches midday and then lengthen again as one approaches the ending of the day. This is a journey that is about light, about being up in the air in terms of conscious awareness of self. As consciousness wanes, one is again brought back to earth to become again part of the earth. For our minds, this is a one-way journey from birth to death, a straight line as if we are literally on a rail track rushing towards the end of the journey.
I have another four days left to finish the book and publish it to the SoFoBoMo site. I will make it available here as well on the “free ebook” page as well at the same time. Now, back to the business of flying.
This is one of the animals on my brother’s small mountain ranch which includes other goats, sheep, donkeys, dogs and cats, and a fair number of horses. When I took the photo the colours were much brighter. I purposely muted the colour for the post, mostly because my mood is muted. Being away from my wife is a large part of my mood. Though the process of taking care of “mother” care is demanding and exhausting emotionally and even physically, there is something about the presence of one’s significant other that gives one a different sanctuary for safe and caring retreat. Temenos is also found in relationship as well as space.
Temenos is also to be found within once one has learned to honour one’s self, when one has learned that this core of one’s being is actually a portal to a holier, holistic presence. Within one can find God, or as Jung identified this holy, holistic presence, the Self. The capitalisation of the word self is purposeful as it brings God within rather than the distant and separate notion of God that most religions would have us believe. Keeping God externalised opens the door for God’s shadow, Satan to gain dominance within. Our psyche needs balance. Too much God within fills us with hubris, allows an archetypal possession which is just as damaging to our psyche as would be possession by the shadow when there is not enough God within.
Two red-tailed hawks are searching for a meal on the foothills of the mountains near Kamloops, B.C. The bird life and wildlife found in these hills is surprising with the sightings of deer several times a day. Though the people in the area are ranchers mostly raising horses, there is a sense that fences here are meaningless to the animals and birds sharing the spaces. And this, the sharing of space is what struck me.
I am working with my brother on my mother’s care needs. She is currently living with her life partner in a house that is a full hour from her hospital where she takes dialysis treatments. Both are elderly and at this point in a position where they are at risk living on their own in any house in any location. Neither want to be separated and admit that their situation is serious. Yet, they remain in the fiction that they can return to a life of relative normalcy where they continue to care for each other, cook and all the other things associated with living independently. My brother and I have now obtained the necessary documents to make decisions regarding health care and finances for my mother. The way forward seems simple enough if there was only our mother to consider. But, they share a space that is not simply a house. And that fact makes a world of difference.
I chose this photo two days ago for a blog post then didn’t use it. As I began this post last night I didn’t know where it was headed. The feeling between my brother and I was that we had reached an impasse – give up or separate the two knowing that our mother’s physical well-being would be in the best possible hands. After choosing the photo for this post I suddenly realised that there was a third approach to consider, one that kept them both in each other’s space perhaps in a revised fashion. This means we need to reapproach our dialogues with both of them and carve out something different, something that was not an option just the day before. This is how I will spend most of this afternoon with no guarantees that I can do more than has already been accomplished. Yet somehow, there is now a better path to follow in having them maintain a psychological and physical sharing of spaces relationship.
This is the view I have been meeting each morning while staying with my brother in British Columbia. There is a distinct silence in the early morning so far off the main roads and urban areas. It is as thought the space is inviting one to enter into a different level of consciousness, one that is deeply rooted with the earth, a soul space. I see my brother engage in a ritual of silence before the demands of his life kick in to fill his day with busyness. This is a ritual I have watched happen each of the days I have been here, a ritual I know must be part of his life , a moment of peace in a sacred place.
Rituals and sacred spaces – these are vital to the spirit and to the soul. My writing here is part of my ritual, a ritual that has been abandoned for a few days. Why have I missed posting here? I could say that life has kept me busy and I wouldn’t be lying as it has been an intense number of days, but that would still be an excuse. The ritual also needs a sacred space with both creating a sense of temenos. In Jungian terms, temenos is defined as: “A Greek word meaning a sacred, protected space; psychologically, descriptive of both a personal container and the sense of privacy that surrounds an analytical relationship.” – a physical space, a psychological space, a holy space, a place where one one engages in honesty with oneself and becomes part of an unconscious holiness. I haven’t created such a space for myself because of being distracted. It is only in pulling away from engagement with the local world I finally give myself permission to hear myself and rediscover the portable sacred space that exists within myself.
So what do I learn? There is a place and time that is always there for me if I allow myself to go there. Temenos is found within, not necessarily without.
Today’s photo was taken this morning from the south slopes just outside of Pritchard, British Columbia. I realise that the photo is a typical scene from the interior of British Columbia and doesn’t need much commentary other than the fact that it does record a statement of reality – water, air, earth, clouds, mountains, shadow and sunlight. But, there is more than what the eye can see, at least in terms of surface vision.
What isn’t seen is how the land is doing. The unusual weather patterns have been working here as well. Those engaged in farming here are used to irrigating their fields and to hot temperatures. Of course, this is from the perspective of what we expect because of what past patterns have taught us to expect. We lose the larger picture of what the patterns are in bigger spans of time. We also lose the perspective of how weather in one location is impacted by weather in other regions. We are seeing an earth trying to tell us something, talking to us about change, about the need for change.
Change isn’t about retreating to the way we did things better in the past because in truth we didn’t
Another photo taken from a walk in the hills yesterday. Today is my birthday and I am now 62 years old. As I key this onto the computer I am sitting in an airport preparing to make the journey to visit my mother. I have become a more frequent visitor to her place as I now make the journey once a year. It is about duty, not about being a good, loving son. She is my mother and that is a good enough reason for now. The bond between mother and son is fragile in terms of our relationship. There is history obviously, but that is not a story for this post.
Each of us has a Mother Complex whether or not we realise it or will admit it. It doesn’t matter what kind of person one has had or has as a mother or what the relationship is or was like. All mothers are charged with power that is archetypal and all mothers somehow wound their offspring whether they so so consciously or unconsciously. The wounds are sometimes hard to define, hard to trace to their roots, especially for those loving, kind and nurturing mothers who are careful with their words and with their emotions. All mothers have a shadow that enters into the relationship with their children. And it is this shadow that wounds the psyche of their child.
It is often in the heroic journey of midlife that one dares to confront the mother complex, one of the monsters that one encounters on the journey. But like all the monsters and demons found on the journey, the complex only wants to be honoured for its presence, not denied. With acceptance of the mother complex, life becomes a bit easier.
I have been spending time in the hills when the weather permits, not often as the weather has been quite uncooperative in terms of heavy winds, dark skies, rain or very cool temperatures. On Tuesday I finally was able to get back into the hills to enjoy moments of sunshine, warmth and an intimate relationship with the earth and life.
It is interesting that each time I visit these hills which provide a sanctuary from the noise and the crowds, I am gifted with the presence of animals. I don’t always take their photos, but I go get to see them and they get to see me; this Mule doe for example. Of course, I am alone at these times, no distracting noises from other people or dogs which would break whatever bond exists. When others are present, the animals are seen, but only in passing as they run off quickly. When I am alone, the running stops. And finally, when they do move away, it is not in a fear response. I wonder why this deer stopped long enough to engage me, eye to eye over a short distance? What was she thinking? What was she trying to tell me? Did she want me to follow?
In searching for answers, I came upon the following:
Just as the deer has an uncanny sense of where to find the green freshness earth provides, we can ask the deer within ourselves to seek out our inner treasures. In meditation or day dream, go on a spiritual hike with the deer. See yourself walking in the woods with the deer leading you into amazing depths within your soul. Each step you and the deer take will lead you deeper into your spiritual knowing, and to limitless treasure within.
The deer (particularly the doe, females) has the capacity for infinite generosity. Their heart rhythms pulse in soft waves of kindness. Match that graciousness by offering your trust to her. She will reward you by leading you to the most powerful spiritual medicine you can fathom. (Avia Venefica, Behind the Signs: Animal Symbolism)
Ah, that resonates even if it isn’t a Jungian who has written the words. One of the things that I have learned is not to question the source of the words or images that resonate, but to look at the resonance itself which is tapping into one’s own psyche giving us the opportunity to discover something long hidden, something new-to-us as conscious beings.
Is she my guide or my totem? I have to say that she is a guide for me at this moment in time, one of many guides that have made an appearance in my life, guides that have been both animal and human.
The walk in the Mondou Hills yesterday gave me a few more nature photos that spoke of life in positive terms such as this mother duck with her ducklings swimming on a smallish valley lake. I took the photo in the early afternoon while the sunlight was fairly intense and the temperatures were high, just the way I like it. I had gone into the hills hoping to get a photo of a hawk or eagle in search of food. In spite of my intentions, nature had other ideas in terms of which gifts I needed at the moment.
I now have all of my photos taken for my latest book project and have begun getting words and photos merged together in a PDF for the SoFoBoMo project. I have decided to create a new page for this blog site where I can store the PDF photo books and other documents for ease of access for you, my reader. Please feel free to download the books for your own pleasure. They are free e-books.
There are a lot of different animals that find their way into the path of my camera lens such as this little fellow. I would have to say that I am fairly lucky when it comes to having wild animals pose for me as I wander through nature. It is as though they recognize that I am no danger to them.
The animals we meet in life are connected to us. Obviously we share the same environment, the same spaces. As we reduce the habitat for the wild side of the world, we become poorer, even unhealthier. Modern man often forgets his roots in nature, his connection to the earth through the body and through the soul. Modern man races toward a future that is all about logos, about what the mind can do. And, in the process of laying claim to the world through the exercise of his mind, his soul withers and retreats into darkness.
And like a cornered animal, the soul will bite back when pressed into the darkness far enough. We now call it midlife crisis. Some call it a nervous breakdown or burnout. Call it what we will, it is about the animal rebelling against logos and demanding balance. And, balance is everything.