Liminal Lives … as Change Agents

 

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Artists including painters, musicians, writers, actors/directors, photographers, and others (including some scientists) who apply their artistic perspective or highly focused talents and perspectives to the work or the vocation they love, often spend much of their lives as what we could call liminal persons.  They might feel or be perceived as “outside” the norms of society, either by happenstance or by design.

As Outsiders, liminal persons can develop a point of view or vantage point at odds with normal convention; it is often this very ‘oddity’ about them that allows them to contribute original or even revolutionary ideas.  They can help a culture or a community to bend and flex in ways otherwise less likely and can help a society to adjust more quickly to new conditions. 

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The Beatles when they first erupted upon the musical scene in the ‘60s were one such liminal group. They broke up thought forms by what at the time was considered even radical hair styles, musical beats, and ideology as represented in their lyrics. Mostly they sang about love, but the love they celebrated was broader and deeper. They wrote of world peace and love as a generational construct at odds with their own society’s post WWII and more recent Korean War global conflicts and the controversial war in Viet Nam. It was important for the Beatles to stand outside conservative norms in order to move society forward, even bringing non-Western spirituality to the fore in their later songs and lives.

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Socrates in classical Greek times was likewise viewed as an Outsider to the established order. He went about encouraging free thinking in public arenas through his method of philosophical questioning. Socrates’ decision not to escape his sentence of drinking hemlock for the crime of “corrupting” traditional Greek thought of the time was in itself a violation of norms, forcing people to think about his premise of the immortality of Soul.

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Let’s list some more names of historically well-known liminal persons whose departures from norms helped humanity to be more open to new ideas or even to revolutionary change:  Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein, Rumi, Gertrude Stein, Frida Kahlo, Emily Dickenson, William Butler Yeats, Lord Byron, Albert Camus, Immanuel Velikovsky, Nelson Mandela, Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Michelangelo. You can add to this list to form a litany of change agents who in the times they lived were relative loners or outcasts.

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images are gratefully from pixabay.com

So we see the genius of Life inflecting in such broad strokes of diversity–often accompanied by intense sacrifice or by long-term personal isolation and hardship–so as to illuminate and break through boundaries of perspective and limitations of human consciousness in ways that have allowed our species not only to survive but to thrive.

Vive la difference! as the French might say.  Or, as Lennon and McCartney contributed: “Imagine!”

I welcome YOUR Comments and Stories.

Building Community with Your Archetype Allies

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We have been focusing on one archetype Ally per month with this year’s blog theme, introducing one after another of 12 universal persona or character archetypes that are part of the makeup of the human psyche for everyone though in different proportions situationally and culturally. Let’s not lose sight of the fact, however,  that the goal of recognizing and exploring all 12 of these primordial parts of Self is ultimately in order to integrate their unconscious potentials and to align them within the Psyche as an interactive Assembly or as a Council of Allies. You want to be able to call upon all of your archetypal perspectives and Strengths, together as a combined force of holistic energy, as you go forward to Live Your Dream, Now!

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I know that many of you readers are, like myself, also writers or artists of varied backgrounds and media. Consider the EDITOR in You. Archetypally one might at first assume that the Editor will draw upon either Communicator or Elder Leader strengths; or Artist or Idealist or even Teacher… but actually ANY of the Twelve might be associated with your artistic process and goals. If you limit your energetic focus to only one or another of these deep  unconscious energy reservoirs, you may limit and unduly constrain your creative, productive output considerably.

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For example, sometimes in the past (less so recently) when I would be writing an academic paper for a conference presentation or for a journal, I used to every once in a while hear this strong, sudden inner voice that stated emphatically, “Heil Hitler!” Whenever I would hear this, I would know it was time for me to step back, take a break, and re-read what I had been writing with an eye to seeing that I was being too forceful or didactic with my writing style and voice. I would need to simplify, add some humor or use less academic jargon in order to SOFTEN the message and to broaden the appeal of the article or presentation. Maybe I was in that moment channeling (as it were) my Elder Leader’s authoritarian traits but then my Nurturer or Artist intervened to call my attention to this unbalanced, overly strict or controlled focus. I always found the message amusing but it was also instructive; I learned to listen when this happened so as to know when to ease up and shift my approach to be more inclusive of a wider set of INTERNAL voices and values.

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The more integrated you become through attending to the multiplicity of perspectives within your REPERTOIRE of archetypal Ally orientations, the more holistic and integrative your creative and day-today work output—or parenting, or travel enjoyment, or whatever you are doing—will become. So I invite you to PLAY and to ENGAGE personally with the material I am presenting with this blog from day to day, week to week, and month to month. We are building here a COMMUNITY OF ALLIES that you can draw upon, always.

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I invite your insights and stories about your own archetypal creative experiences!

Why Does This Always Seem to Happen to Me? — Writers’ & Artists’ Story Prompts

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This week we are focusing on “habitual Better Endings”. Think about it. Do you know of someone (If it’s you, grand!) who always seems to come out on the light side of things, who habitually manifests  success? What do they do (or, you) to establish Better Endings? Is it persistence? “Grit”? Positive affirmations? Or is it simply that they always EXPECT for things to work out for the best, and then they usually do (or, if not, they have learned how to accommodate the results)?

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Conversely, do you know anyone (again, it could be you) who just seems to magnetize drama, trauma or disaster into their world? How do they do that? For them, what new habits might we recommend for them to try, to break through a sense of inevitability of misfortune occurring in their lives?

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Have you ever known someone (it could still be you) who has turned this around; someone who maybe used to attract misfortune habitually but who now seems to have obtained a “Midas touch” of success and positivity, instead? What did they do to transform their approach that we can all learn from?

Instead of our usual weekly “writer’s/artist’s prompts list”, this week I invite you to ponder the above three scenarios with regard to our topic of “habitual Better Endings”.

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I invite, welcome and encourage all responses and I will publish your stories or creative expressions.

Better Endings to You!

Better Endings Pet Stories: A Writer’s or Artist’s Prompts List

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Better Endings is all about reflecting on our lives from the point of view of what has helped–and not–in advancing our goals and dreams or those of others.  Animal ‘pet’ companions are certainly a great Better Endings resource to draw on when reflecting on positive influences in our lives.

The following Prompts List offers topics you might use to reflect upon “Pets and Better Endings”:

  • finding a pet (or, being found)
  • travel with your pet(s)
  • learning life lessons from your pets
  • losing a pet
  • helping your pet pass on
  • pets’ health
  • healing companion pets/ therapy pets
  • pets and dreams
  • angel animals
  • children and pets
  • bringing pets home
  • special characters of pets
  • pets and love
  • your life savers
  • pet reincarnation stories
  • communicating with pets
  • gratitude for pets

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Feel free to share your photos, poems, insights, and stories this week about Pets and Better Endings. Also please notice the Life Maps activity of the week (right panel) that allows you to compose an assemblage of memories of the pets you have shared your life with across your own Life Chapters.

Better Endings to you and to your Animal Companions. – Linda

Change It UP!

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This week I have noticed a theme in blogs and Tweets I’ve been reading from others. You have to fall sometimes, or take a step back, in order to go forward with greater strength and find success.

This past Thursday morning, while thinking about this theme, I dreamed about a football play. It was an unconventional play. The QB tossed the ball, underhanded, to a receiver some 5 yds ahead. He caught it, looked around, and saw the defense closing in; he could see he had nowhere to run. So, he threw it back to another receiver behind the QB. The player there caught it and, also seeing the defense about to close in on him, he threw it even further backwards to a teammate back near the other team’s goal posts. I knew as the dreamer that the intention was to open up an area without defensive players, so a player could run forward less obstructed after catching the ball from well behind the line of scrimmage. The last player trying to catch the ball, did not, but neither did the opposing team’s players intercept. The play was dead. But it had only been a 1st or 2nd down, so the same team lined up again at the line of scrimmage and the next play, the QB passed a regular forward pass that was caught for a 1st down; forward motion was restored.

Writers and other artists are very often the Innovators for art itself and for culture. New ideas have to start somewhere and it often takes an unconventional thinker or artist to advance ideas and to “change up” how we think about or view the world. This is the basis , to me, of the Beatles’ wild success; it was not that they started by doing anything entirely new, but they ‘changed up’ the way it was being done. They set a new beat that perhaps changed up slightly the heartbeat of the collective world. They broke up thought forms by being unconventional in several ways. Their haircuts—at the time; in retrospect this seems silly now—astounded and offended many parents of their young, devoted fans. Teaming with the Maharaji, courting “revolution”, daring to “Imagine”, they changed up rock and roll and, with it, they elevated an entire generation around a basic theme: openly expressed, unconditional Love.

What’s the message here? CHANGE IT UP! What do we have to lose, really? We must be true to ourselves and forge new grounds where that seems the direction we are given to go with our talents.

If the backwards seeming football play I dreamed of this morning had succeeded, it would have been a wild success; it would have forged a whole new concept in how to move a football forward on the field of play. If, on the other hand, it had been intercepted back near the opposing team’s goal, of course it would be seen as a monumental failure. But, in the end, what does that matter? A “touchdown,” points scored, on this side or that, is only that. I admire the player who got the random idea to “Change It UP!” and started the ball rolling in an entirely new direction. In the dream, on the next play, his team moved conventionally forward again, anyway. Still, the game was forever changed. The other team now knew their worthy opponents might do ANYTHING to succeed. It would be more difficult to defend against this new form of play. It was, in my view, an artistic accomplishment. Perhaps, by the next game, it might become a formal new play in the team’s playbook, one they might incorporate into their team strategy, with tweaks, over time.

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What, to you, is an example of this Better Endings principle of “Change It Up”? If you are forging new directions, pushing genre boundaries, Change It UP! Follow your OWN North Star!