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What is “BetterEndingsNow!” to Me?, by Dr. Joshua Bertetta

{Dear Readers: Here is a treat (for me especially!). Joshua Bertetta of the intriguing blog The Story of the Four, and Ptero’s Card, has taken time to reflect on BetterEndings Now which he has been graciously following. Joshua is a scholar of comparative religion, mythology and archetypal psychology, and I am always grateful to have him “Watching,” as I am also grateful for every one of you who reads this blog whether or not you comment. You are always welcome to share your own insights and stories. So here is a guest perspective, from Joshua Bertetta. I wil add some graphics because that is always fun to try to be synchronistic with GraphicStock images…}-Linda

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Dr. Linda Watts’s BetterEndingsNow! and its companion, Life Paths for Better Endings, rooted in C.G. Jung’s theory of the archetypes and James Hillman’s archetypal psychology, is a program, which, as much as it offers guidance toward discovering and manifesting one’s dream, is, to me, as much about the process as it is the final goal.

As someone who holds a Ph.D. in Mythological Studies with a degree emphasis in depth psychology, I am well familiar with Jung and Hillman, as I reflect upon Dr. Watts’s work, the element I have come to most appreciate is its simplicity.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a simple program—it takes work, but the work, aside from enlightening, can also be fun (as well as scary, as any process of self-discovery can be). What I mean by simple is two-fold. One the one hand, BetterEndingsNow! is free from psychological jargon. Yes, a participant is introduced to archetypes, but anyone familiar with Jung and Hillman know each defines and uses terms like “soul” and “psyche” in specialized ways. You don’t need to know all that to participate in the Life Paths process. In other words, you don’t have to be a specialist in analytical or archetypal psychology.

All you have to do is follow the steps, beginning with “Your Origin Story,” along as they proceed—simple.

Looking at Dr. Watts’s program, I particularly appreciate her understanding of life as story—as myth. There is too much baggage associated with the word “myth” these days and in many respects this baggage makes me sad. “Myth,” from the Greek mythos, simple means story or, perhaps more accurately, plot.

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Stories have arcs; they have peaks and vales; they have climaxes, themes and conflicts as well as a whole cast of characters.

Is that not life?

Too much today, I think, is life perceived by many as a simple sequence of events. Freud (to whom Jung and Hillman are in debt) revolutionized psychology because he understood life is a story. Hence his “talking cure” was a means by which his patients could understand their lives as stories and thus initiate a process of self-understanding and healing.

Of course Jung and Hillman would continue their own projects much in the same trajectory and I think what Dr. Watts has done is to distill this process by offering insights into such a journey in addition to introducing us to a means by which to understand central themes of our lives and the characters we meet along the way. By this I mean those archetypal presences that are at work in us and through us our entire lives. Dr. Watts not only introduces us to such archetypes, but offers a means by which to enter into a relationship with such.

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Jung and Hillman located the source of modern humankind’s suffering in the loss of meaning and the loss of imagination, respectively. Dr. Watts’s work follows in the same trajectory in that though using our imaginal capacity to connect with archetypal figures and to see our lives as stories, as myths. This is a key component in Jung’s and Hillman’s psychological projects. I might even say the key component, for when one is connected to the depths of experience, which are archetypal in nature, meaning in life is restored.

In the end, as I look at Dr. Watts’s list of primary archetypes (see “Meet & Greet Your Archetype Cast of Characters”) I would not hesitate to say that the Teacher archetype is present in her work. Offering guidance as she does as well as teaching us along the way, so much is clear. She is a university professor after all. But there is more.

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What makes BetterEndingsNow! special is the presence of the Nurturer. The program Dr. Watt’s sets before one does take work, yes, and again, such work can be hard. But there is a gentleness to her approach, embedded in her language. Like a mother, I see BetterEndingsNow! as open hands, hands available for the taking, and like a good mother, there is a quiet care present. Like a mother watching her baby learn to walk, that after those first few wobbly steps, she stands back and watches her baby go; yet despite the separation, the mother is always there, there to offer her child care, love, and guidance.

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Thank you, Dr. Bertetta. You have read this blog well to understand its intent deeply. I find that many authors and bloggers such as yourself and several others whom I have discovered through putting this material “out there” (which somehow always feels like “In There”, somewhere we all share consciousness together) are converging to bring similar messages through. I love Joseph Campbell and Jung and Hillman, among others (e.g. also Gail Sheehy, Jean Houston, Carol Pearson, Mary Catherine Bateson, Fredric Hudson, Julia Cameron, and  Carolyn Myss),who all are helping us realize our lives AS Mythic and therefore we can explore our own narratives and develop these in the direction of fulfilling our Golden Quests. Thank you for your reflections! – L