Archive for the ‘wounded’ tag
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)
Cattle and cattle egrets found together in a field on the outskirts of Playa Jaco somehow find a way to live together in spite of being very different. Theirs is a symbiotic relationship, providing each other something that is needed and receiving equal benefit. When I think about this, it isn’t much different in many human relationships.
Of course, I don’t think I can include most intimate relationships, most marriages in this willingness to both give and receive in spite of differences, Rather, I am speaking of many other community relationships. For example, a friend is skilled in various crafts but doesn’t have much skill with communications technology. Since the opposite friend has the skills needed in communication technology, but is lacking in working with tools, a relationship is able to grow and thrive giving each person a sense of worth in relation to the other.
In another situation, one who has a need to talk, to have someone listen compassionately is a valued friend for someone else who is grateful for friendship where there is little demand for talking, something that is a difficult task other than to offer a few pleasantries. Most of our human lives including in the workplace are filled with just this kind of symbiotic relationships. Yet, in intimate situations?
The difficulties that regularly arise between different attitude-types are legion … Jung’s observation was that what initially seems to be an ideal union may in time become uneasy and embittered.
One might think an understanding of typology would forestall such enmity and allow two people to live in peace, each acknowledging and appreciating the value of the other, but the reality is that even many individuals who have a good grasp on their psychological make-up may find it difficult or even impossible to tolerate an intimate relationship with someone of a different attitudinal orientation. Hence so many acrimonious divorces and separations. (Sharp, Jung Uncorked: Book One, 2008, pp 86-87)
I think that this is easily enough understood in itself. Intimacy requires a high level of trust where one’s “self” is held in esteem by the “other.” When intimacy between opposite types is enacted, it becomes critical to deny the “self” in favour of “other.” Where on dominates, the other is diminished. This takes me to the words of Jung:
Where love reigns, there is no will to power; and where the will to power is paramount, love is lacking. The one is but the shadow of the other. (Jung, CW 7, par 78)
And therein lies the problem. Especially when life causes us to fall to our knees, bruised and wounded, when we begin the work of healing the self and the soul, that is when strive to survive knowing that in the end, regardless of whom we engage in intimacy, we are alone. Our journey is an individual journey even if shared with an “other.”
This photo is yet another scene from the front of my house looking south in the late afternoon. There is a sense of foreboding as though the coming night will bring storms, spiritual and spacial. I have only three more photos left to place in the second SoFoBoMo book (this one didn’t make the cut) and ten pages of writing. With today’s weather, the work will progress rapidly. Today’s entry highlights the twelfth of the seventeen stages, the Refusal of Return.
Wounds become sacred
Dreams become familiar friends
Return becomes a threat
Lessons have been learned. The journey, a search for meaning has resulted in healing one’s soul and discovering the worth of one’s self. One knows that there is much yet to discover, however there is a well-earned hope that what yet remains to be discovered is there for discovering. One has found meaning. Even the pain and suffering that has wounded the self from childhood to the present state has been graced with meaning and purpose. One discovers, not a victim, but a hero in answering the call to this journey.
Daryl Sharp commented about this journey, the search for wholeness and meaning and those who have dared this journey by saying that those:
… who have heard the call to an individual life, are the chosen ones. Under cover and by devious paths they set forth to their destruction or salvation, seeking by direct experience of the eternal roots. Following the lure of the restless objective psyche, they find themselves alone in the wilderness. Will they save their souls, become personalities? Will they individuate? Discover who they are, really? (Sharp, Who Am I Really?, p. 134, 1995.)
To have dared this journey has been rewarded with the greatest of all boons. Now what?
The next step along the journey is to step back into the world taking the treasure back into one’s community so as to effect change in the consciousness of the collective.
What? Leave this wonderland for the drab world that had so wounded?
On a recent visit to the Dzibilchaltun Mayan ruins, I had the opportunity to photograph a few of these beautiful birds. This was my second siting of this type of bird here in Mexico. I had to chase this bird to finally get a decent shot with the camera. I guess it likes to play hard to get/catch. And, this makes me think of eros, romantic love, a passionate longing and desire. The Greeks called it theia mania, the divine madness (madness of the gods). In our modern world we talk of cupid’s arrows, love at first sight both of which when looked at closely are about loss of control to other. We become wounded. The tail of this motmot does give the impression of being fletched arrows ready to wound another with eros. In a small series of books (He, She, We and The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden), Robert A. Johnson looks at eros. In this last book, The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden, Robert notes:
“Where there is no terminology, there is no consciousness. A poverty-stricken vocabulary for any subject is an immediate admission that the subject is inferior or depreciated in that society. Sanskrit has ninety-six words for love; ancient Persian has eighty; Greek three; and English simply one. This is indicative of the poverty of awareness or emphasis that we give to that tremendously important realm of feeling. … Of all the Western languages, English may be the most lacking when it comes to feeling” (page 6)
No wonder we get confused in trying to define love. And without the words, we suffer.