Archive for the ‘healing’ tag
I was fortunate to get this photo from the ground as the nest was set quite high on a pole found on the cutline south of Canmore. I walked far enough away up hill in order to attempt to get more than a bit of the osprey’s head in the image. For those interested in learning more about osprey birds, check out the wikipedia entry here.
Being a parent is a great experience and I treasure all the moments of fathering and parenting two daughters and one son. They have grown up and are now experiencing the role of parent as well. As with the baby birds in this nest, the children grow up and leave “home” to make their way in the larger world. For a parent it is as if things have fallen apart, as if one’s world has been broken. As I get older, I am finding more and more that things are falling apart. But what is important for me to understand is that in falling apart, things transform. Life presents me with an opportunity to be a new and improved version of myself.
Things fell apart for me in a significant way during the past winter as many of my readers know. I have finally reached the point where I am somewhat thankful for this. Without the falling apart, I would have delayed even longer the healing that was waiting deep within. Perhaps I would have waited too long, never getting the opportunity to put things right for my soul, my heart.
“Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. (Chodron, When Things Fall Apart, p. 8)
I went searching for an image today as I knew I didn’t have one that would illustrate the idea that came to me while reading James Hollis’ book, The Eden Project. I found this image of Christ’s wound by Luis Guillermo Arroyabe that was found on the Ecce Homo web site. I have an opportunity to engage in a five-week seminar using this book for the foundation of for the discussion and investigation of Other and Sacred Other (Divine Other) within the work of individuation, the work of becoming a conscious (more conscious) adult.
I want to begin the post with the idea that we are all wounded, everyone without exception. We aren’t necessarily aware of being wounded, but our wounds do help shape our response to the world and how we are in relation to the world and to others. The image illustrates the wounding to one’s heart or soul (psyche) by Others. These Others are our parents, our significant others, and any whom we allow to enter into close relationship. Like the archetypal image of Christ’s wound, we learn that the wounding is necessary if we are to transcend from unconsciousness to a state of consciousness. One can either get stuck in one’s wounds as a victim, or one can expose the wounds to light and begin a process of healing, of renewal.
So how does one bring light to shine on these wounds? How does one engage in the process of becoming conscious, of healing, of resurrecting Eros? I want to respond to these questions by bringing Hollis’ words here for you to consider.
“Implicit in the task of becoming conscious of wounded eros are certain questions which constitute an inventory of self and Other. If we do not ask them of ourselves, then our partners will, or we will hit some wall which obliges us to begin. Among them are:
- Where do my dependencies show up in the relationship?
- What am I asking my partner to do for me that I, as a mature adult, need to be doing for myself?
- How do I repeatedly constrict myself through my historically conditioned attitudes and behavior patterns?
- Am I taking too much responsibility for the emotional well-being of the Other? Am I taking on his or her journey at the expense of my own, and if so, why?
- Am I living my life in such a fashion that I will be happy with the consequences of my choices? If not, when do I plan to start? What fears, lack of permission or old behaviors block me from living my life?
- In what ways do I seek to avoid suffering?
Such questions reach down and into our souls. They stir old wounds, test our defenses and illuminate the strategies we play out with our partners. Finally, they reveal not only why our relationships are wounded, but also ways in which we can heal them by first healing ourselvesemphasis mine] (Hollis, The Eden Project, p. 99)
As promised, I am writing to talk more about the workshop I attended following an introductory evening presentation given by Guy Corneau to the Calgary Jungian Society. The workshop was limited to a smaller group because it was an active participation workshop that engaged each of the attendees at some very deep levels, moving all of us in unexpected ways.
Guy talked to us about how healing works. The idea that doctors, medicine and other strategies heal the body was dispelled and replaced with the truth that “healing comes from within.” What we think, feel, believe, and need are what allows the body to do its work. All the health care modalities are needed in order to create the conditions for the body to heal itself.
We get sick because of the toxins that arise through feelings, need, negative beliefs and feelings as these create dis-ease and dis-equilibrium within. Guy looked at the following as sources of dis-ease:
- imprints from the past, existential fears
- wounds of living and the protective measures we enact, dissociating from self and attending to others
- self-imposed wounds including a lack of space for self
- society, church, politics, community, culture, economics
- emerging situations such as floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc.
The idea was then brought forward that we can change our mood, to shift from negative (dis-ease) to positive (self-healing). Guy then had all engage in a Golden Meditation, an exercise in searching in the past for some particular positive (peace, joy, etc.) and allow that feeling to be centre of the meditation, to follow it and hold it. When the meditation was done, we were expected to continue holding that feeling and talk honestly about it with a partner – powerful!
Then there was a shift towards a second activity which looked at relationship in terms of reconciliation/pacification. In terms of others, especially those we hold very close to us, even intimately, Guy said, “you really don’t know the person objectively” one only knows one’s response to the person, one’s projections of self (both positive and negative) upon the person. This second meditation, that of learning to deflate emotion that hurts and gets in the way of healing. I will outline below the flow of this meditation:
- entering into guided meditation
- travel with the mind to the heart/soul within
- invite someone with whom there is a conflict to a circle in front of your soul
- build a bridge between your soul and this other
- bring the conflict to presence – what hurt you? – using “I” statements express feelings
- feel what the conflict has done to you
- explain to this other what you really felt from your “heart”
- choose your next step to this person, choose your attitude, your words, your behaviour
- repeat this as many times as needed until you are “clear” about what will actually happen when you take it from meditation to outer life in order to deflate the conflict and its emotional control that leaves you a victim of that emotion.
There was more, but this will have to wait for another post in a few days. Tomorrow, there is a guest editorial waiting for you. Be well and heal yourself.
I was fortunate this weekend to be able to meet and take part in a week-end presentation and workshop with Jungian analyst, Guy Corneau, a Canadian analyst from Montréal, Québec. Guy had been diagnosed with terminal, stage four cancer in his lungs and three organs in 2007. Obviously, since he was here in Calgary, something happened to him that makes for a story well worth telling. In short, he decided that he wanted to live and decided that to do so he would have to use all of his resources – people, medicine, and any other modality that might have his body change its mind, such as tai chi, meditation, writing poetry and playing guitar. Of all these modalities, in his opinion, it was a practice of engaging in a dialogue with the cells of his body that became the key. By 2009 there was no trace of cancer left in his body. If anything, his body was in the best physical shape of the last thirty years of his life.
Below I will highlight a few key points that struck me:
- the body understands feelings more than it does what physically happens to the body
- the self needs to be rooted back into life
- the ego must give up the familiarity of darkness or the body will die prematurely
- use active imagination to create a positive vision for self
- dare to risk when there is nothing to lose but darkness and fear
- we have a subscription for unhappiness that we need to cancel
These are powerful statements. As I listened hypnotized by the words and ideas, I saw so much of myself being exposed, and in listening to his story, heard my own story. When we left China, my wife explained to those we left behind that I was going to Canada to deal with brain cancer. The truth was that I do indeed have cancer that Guy described as being narcosis of the psyche, a cancer in my head that is willing my body to darkness and death.
As he told his story of healing, I heard a story of my first death sentence as a child, and what happened to me that resulted in that death sentence being lifted. I contracted acute nephritis at the age of four and there was little hope that I would make it to adulthood. As I now come to understand it, the first four years of my life lived with a dark mother who was abandoned by my father sowed the seeds of the disease (dis-ease), and the return of my father which lead to a deeper emotional abandonment by my mother triggered the outbreak of the disease.
I was in and out of hospitals with sickening regularity yet something changed in my life and my feeling state when I was fourteen that resulted in the doctors being puzzled by the disappearance of the disease from my body. That year, was the first year in my life that we stayed in the same house for a whole year with the belief that I would be there for a long time. I began to have friends, I had a horse which I would ride in the open countryside, I spent time studying the stars lying on my back, and I got a guitar and played my heart out. I had embraced living for the first time and my body thanked me.
Knowing now, that I have it in me to heal because I have done so in the past, I feel a huge relief. A road map had been presented to me, a road map for healing in the adult world. Thank you, Guy.
As I was walking along the sidewalk upon the return from a longer walk in the countryside, this little bird was huddling in the protection of the tree, closer to the calm centre. Often, we do the same thing, we retreat from the buffeting winds of the outer world for the presumed safety of the shadows. Do we necessarily know what we are really doing when we do this, or is it just an instinctual respone?
Robert Johnson has an interesting point of view:
When we experience inexplicable conflicts that we can’t resolve; when we become aware of urges in ourselves that seem irrational, primitive or destructive; when a neurosis afflicts us because of our conscious attitudes are at odds with our instinctual selves – then we begin to realize that the unconscious is playing a role in our lives and we need to face it. (Johnson, Inner Work, 1986, p. 5)
I found this quote which I had highlighted in my copy of this book this morning, the first thing that caught my eye. Synchronicity? Perhaps. Why do I suggest synchronicity? Well, if you have been following the posts and the comments, you will have found that some of my posts are in response to the comments. I had no intention of deliberately responding to one of the latest comments through a post, but it somehow began to emerge. First, the photo. Retreat into a safe place, an assumed safe place. Only, it isn’t so safe at all as in this shadow zone, one is not alone at all. The ghosts, shadows and memories crowd into this safe place making it seem more a prison than a safe container.
Waking up to the unconscious is something can disable the psyche, especially if one is not also strong in the outer world. The best strategy when in this position is to find a guide. Of course, I am biased and would suggest that one find a qualified, certified Jungian analyst. Why? Well, this allows one to remain in charge and not become an obedient follower. In my opinion, this is the best and safest route to take when attempting to become a whole person, a healed person with a healed soul.