Into the Woods—A ‘Better Endings’ Revision

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For those new to this blog, or as a refresher since I haven’t looked at this topic directly for awhile here, I am interested in the principle of BETTER ENDINGS.  In fact I have a book in progress about this principle, as it applies not only to literature or mythic constructions but also, and more importantly, to our own lives.

There’s a concept I have learned from Eckankar about working with dreams. If you are dreaming and you do not like what is happening in your dreamscape,  you can change the dream while you are in it as a lucid dream activity; or, immediately upon waking you can rewind the dream and change its ending in your imagination.  This may help you to release the stress associated with the situation encoded by the dream. (I recommend Harold Klemp’s THE ART OF SPIRITUAL DREAMING for many helpful dreamwork techniques.)

But here’s a plus factor: If you can become skilled at changing your nightly dreams, so too you increase your capacity to make changes in your day-to-day life, effecting BETTER ENDINGS! What IF…you had taken that job, stayed with or left that relationship, gone on that vacation? You can re-vision your past choices and attitudes to bring about better coping skills and to realign your Life Path with your most ardent goals.

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Our topic this month of The Sacred Marriage has lots of fertile grounds for ‘better-endering.’  Let me try my hand at a Better Endings rendering for the Sondheim play “Into the Woods”:

I love the play (and movie) Into the Woods’, but I do not like the bitter ending. Why does the baker’s wife have to fall off a cliff to her doom?  The guilty party in confusing her was the philandering Prince, whose charming charisma and political power allows him to believe he can take advantage of any woman in the realm, even forsaking the beautiful princess Cinderella whom he has gone to such great lengths to woo. No, I do not like this bitter pill of an ending, at all!

In my Better Ending for this fairy tale, the Baker’s wife lives on to raise her new baby with her faithful husband.  Cinderella comes upon her charmer of a husband trying unsuccessfully to woo his rival Prince Valiant’s Rapunzel, and Cinderella lets Prince Valiant know what she has seen. The two Princes have a swordfight.     In a final, mutual flourish stab, they pierce each other at the lip of that fatefull cliff the Baker’s wife had been slated for, and they both go toppling over to their deaths.  Cinderella, now freed from this sordid affair, is Queen! She invites Rapunzel to be a story teller for the realm, and together they effect feminist reforms for their Peoples.

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images are from pixabay.com

So, there you have it, a Better Endings retelling for Into the Woods that aims to address the true meaning of The Sacred Marriage.  We marry our values, our integrity. This serves the Whole.

Is there a story about marriage or partnership—either fictional or in your own life—that you believe could benefit from a Better Ending?  Envision it! Write it down! Make the relevant changes!

I welcome your Comments and Stories.!

Inner Guidance

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Let me make no mistake about it, we are living in difficult times. Whatever our beliefs and values may be, they are under siege by opposing values or by the tenuousness of “truth” itself as a standard upon which we can collectively agree.

Some call it a return to tribalism: a refraction of identity into sub-cultural group affiliations. Clan-like factions abound; whom can you talk to or trust? Any stranger might explode at any moment in a public space, opening fire upon the innocent.

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What matters then, in such times of potential turmoil? What goals may still hold value? Where can you turn for reliable guidance? 

On a more positive note, you can always Go Within to find truth by attending to your own ‘inner counsel’. I assure you this is not merely a solipsistic response to collective uncertainty; it is an age-old, universal capacity that has steered the course of history. I believe that when we seek our highest Self and the companionship of Spirit or Divinity Itself in our deepest repose through active contemplation, prayer or meditation practices, we can connect with that which is greater than ourselves alone.

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“The One with the All One” is a spiritual image that comes to mind.  Or, “One for All and All for One!” In other words, when we seek our own answers that ‘ring true’ within our highest (NOT our lowest or our conditionally biased!) states of positive, life affirming consciousness, we assume our relation to the Whole of Life Itself. To me, this brings us to a position of unconditional love. If we act from this love, all will be in accord with that which serves the highest Good.  That’s my hopeful belief, anyway.

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This month I am inviting you to reflect on the role of Helpers in your own—in all of our— life journey. Inner Helpers come to meet us where we seek them out—be it in a contemplative state or in our dreams.  If you keep a journal that includes a dream diary to record your insights that arise from your inner guidance, then reviewing your journal entries once a week or once a month can help you to recognize the help you are receiving in the form of your own Inner Guidance.  Maybe you will uncover a Theme recurring in your dreams or even in your daydreams.  Keeping track of your dreams and daily insights holds open a channel of communication with your ‘inner counsel’ that can help to always to steer you in YOUR right directions.

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images are from pixabay.com

There are many excellent books on the subject of dream techniques and inner guidance. Two I have learned from are THE ART OF SPIRITUAL DREAMING, by Harold Klemp, and INNER GUIDANCE by Anne Archer Butcher.

I welcome always your insights and stories!

 

 

 

Contemplative Hopping (Internal Threshold Crossing)

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Story 1:  Yogic Flying

Sometime in the late 1970’s, a group of Transcendental Meditation practitioners first stunned the world with their release of video (before the Web even!) demonstrating “yogic flying” or “hopping” while in a deep meditation state of consciousness. They would levitate and shift position on their mats apparently as an exercise of Mind over Body.

Yogic Fliers reveal that we are capable of controlling the body directly through thought or Mind. What else can we take away from their example?

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Story 2:  Conscious vs. “Unconscious” States of Consciousness

For a graduate school assignment in linguistic semantics one week, our professor asked us to compose better semantic accounts than standard dictionary references for a related set of terms.  I chose CONSCIOUS and UNCONSCIOUS and compiled a wide range of definitions in order to sort these out and arrive at a holistic semantic analysis. What I discovered was that any state of consciousness that is not “conscious” or a “waking state” perception or experience people tend to lump together under the very large umbrella of “unconscious” in American English parlance.

Included under the far-reaching semantic domain of “unconscious”: unconscious, subconscious, dream state, daydreams, ‘other side’, Mind, (unconscious) thought, brain synapses, Self, soul, precognition, memory, lack of awareness. What I noticed about this wide range of concepts is that, simply put, Americans comprehend on the whole very little about anything they cannot directly See, Hear, Taste, Smell or Touch. All the rest, which in my view is the whole-enchilada iceberg under that tiny tip of “conscious” sense awareness, is lumped together as “unconscious.”

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As one who has engaged in daily, active contemplation and dreamwork for at least 44 years, I have discovered that the “Inner” is much more vast and is much more open to exploration and freedom of experience than the “Outer” realm of matter and conscious awareness.  There are many (perhaps infinite) levels of consciousness beyond the outer physical senses and body, and you are free to explore this diverse multiplicity of states and levels of consciousness through various modes of meditation, contemplation, active imagination, dreamwork, prayer, paranormal investigation and/or mindfulness techniques.

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That which is BEYOND the physical body states is neither defined by the mind nor contained or controlled by the Brain.

Implications for Contemplative Hopping—Internal Threshold Crossing

Using Jung’s approach of active imagination, a mode of contemplative envisioning and inner action, I encourage you to try your beyond-the-physical wings!  You do have them, at least figuratively speaking.  Dreams of flying (with or without wings as they are usually not needed!) are a very common early mode of inner travel or shifting of attention inwardly.  Explore an inner landscape, for instance, of an outer place you will soon be visiting “out here.”  Or actively contemplate the results or consequences of some anticipated move or action by yourself or others.

When I  was to make a big move from Buffalo (East) to Arizona (‘Out West”)  some 38 years ago, every night I asked to be shown something about the life I was about to embark upon plus I asked questions to trouble shoot this grand adventure. I was shown four people I would later meet (independently of one another) along with some glimpse of their role in my upcoming life.  I was also shown that  the experience would not be without its hardships but they would be necessary (karmic, let’s say), and when I later experienced what was foretold in these dreams very directly, I had been forewarned so was better prepared to meet the challenges.

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images are from pixabay.com

Let’s call your active inner explorations (past, present or future) to be forms of inner Threshold Crossing. I like to say, you don’t have to die or nearly die in order to explore the Heavens as well as really anything/ any state your Heart desires. Sages like the poet Rumi, actually, encourage us to “die daily.” This means you have the spiritual freedom to explore and investigate beyond the limited reaches of brain-mind or body.

See? I welcome your comments and stories!

DESCENDER Dreams, Part Two: Messages from the Deep

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With the last post, I invited you to recall and reflect upon dreams in which your DESCENDER part of Self (persona archetype) reveals itself to You. Often such figures show up in lower or deep spaces and they can represent feelings that you have “submerged” or aspects of You that simply feel more comfortable in the shadows or quiet recesses of your Self.  When such images show up in memorable dreams, take notice! They may illuminate for you how that “part of You” is feeling with regard to some current situation in your life. They have Deep Messages for You; your DESCENDER can be your Ally in bringing ‘buried’ perspectives and feelings to your attention.

This week, as I have been reflecting on some of my own DESCENDER dreams, one of them—a very dramatic dream experience—makes sense to me now in a different way than I understood before.

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The Dream: “I Can’t Believe My Life Has Been about This!”

(Dreamwork Tips:  Give a title to a significant dream in your dream journal or when telling it to bring forth its Message to you more clearly.  Also, write your dream in first person, present tense so you can be more present in the experience; this can help you better feel its import.)

Background:  I experienced this dream while I was traveling in Ireland.  I traveled there in part because I had had another significant dream a couple years earlier which had felt like a “past life” dream.  In that earlier dream I saw I had endured abuse, but the dream encounter I had while in Ireland, while also appearing to relate to a past life, turned that earlier experience on its head!

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I am in a lower level area of some structure; the flooring either is made of or has alot of dirt on it and there is dark wood all around. I am being shown this place by a familiar, masculine Spiritual Guide who is with me. As we walk through the space it feels very familiar to me. I say to my Dream Guide:

“I know this place; I have been here before.”

My Guide says nothing, waiting for me to remember more.

“People died here,” I say slowly. Then it hits me hard: “I had something to do with that; I was responsible for their deaths!”

My Guide remains silent but I feel his support. I know there is a reason I must be here.

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Then a group of people come down from a stairway into this semi-darkened, lower level place. It is a group of rural Irish peasant folk. “Salt of the Earth,” I think to myself as they come into the area accompanied by a Priest. The Priest sets up a table and puts a candle on it, so I know he will conduct some sort of ritual. (I sense it is to be a cleansing.)  Two of the peasants are a brother and sister; suddenly I know these are people who had lost loved ones because of my action that had resulted in their loved ones’ deaths.

The peasant sister (in her early 30’s or so) and I approach one another intently.

I say to her:

“I am so sorry for your loss.”

She says to me:

“I am so sorry for what you have had to endure because of this.”

Then I wake up, but in the process of awakening I say three times out loud, each time with more force of awareness:

“I can’t believe my life has been about this!”

I called a friend in the U.S. as soon as I was awoke (early AM her time):

“Jan, I’m a murderer! I mean it really, I am a murderer, many times over!”

My friend helped me to realize this had been “a dream.” I knew intuitively though that it was a very real encounter, relating to a deeply buried memory.

Message:  This dream event occurred around five or six years ago, yet I remember it as if it were this morning.  In processing the meaning of the dream, I have felt it had something to do with the experience of personal loss or separation in this life from relationship partners of various sorts: friends, romantic partners, family, and pet companions. My strongest desire in all my relations has been for permanence and “continuity,” yet some of the closest relations I have shared, I have had to let go of for the sake of that Soul moving on in their lives or journey.

But this week, while reflecting on this poignant DESCENDER Dream, I am understanding the message in a more holistic way. My whole life HAS “been about this.” The personal growth book I have written, a manual for life mapping that will be published in a matter of months now after nearly fifteen years of development (Your Life Path), aims to help readers to COMPLETE their Life Path with a conscious focus of intention to fully Realize their Life Dream!  Perhaps after my action in the past life ordeal had prevented some people from fulfilling their  dreams, this time I must give back this opportunity.

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I don’t know exactly what the memory could have been about. Perhaps I was an officer on a ship taking people to emigrate after the potato famine and for some reason I did not allow lower berth peoples to surface for food or shelter (maybe rations were low and some could not survive, so I chose to only let the more privileged passengers have the rations). Or maybe I was an officer who shut off access to an upper level in a castle against servant class folks while we were being attacked. Either way, “I was responsible for their deaths.”

Whatever the “real life” validity, dreams DO matter; they have a substance and vital meaning all their own. Writing your dream recall in a Dream Journal is very helpful. Especially the most significant dreams will then linger with you, revealing several layers of meaning over time.

Have you had a significant DESCENDER Dream? Have you fathomed its message? Feel free to share, here or with a loved one. Honor your DESCENDER by listening, attending, and ACTING on the Message received.

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome  and invite YOUR Comments and Stories!

P.S. to All: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

 

 

DESCENDER Dreams, Part One

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Have you had significant, memorable dreams where either you are in a dark or “lower” space such as in a basement or valley or the lower level of some house or structure, or where someone else who is a main character in your dream is in such a “lower” or “deep” space? This may be your DESCENDER Persona archetype (part-of-Self). Pay attention and you may learn something important from this often ‘submerged’ facet or energy within your Psyche.

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My DESCENDER dreams often include a young girl, around 10 or 12, who inhabits a lower level of a tri-level house (interestingly my favorite kind of home; I live in one now and sleep in the lower level!).  I have learned to tune in to engage in conversation with my Little Linda part-of-Self, as I call Her.  She embodies my quiet side that would rather stay in the lower, shaded regions rather than have too much concourse with the public or other people in formal sorts of situations. She may be that facet of my Self that most suffers situational anxiety when it comes to ‘professional’ social gatherings.  I embrace this part of myself as a vital and important aspect of my identity. I go to Her in active imagination for  ‘Archetype dialogue’ conversation rather than requiring Her to come to the surface, though sometimes She does reveal Herself in our more conscious experience. She loves to walk along a lake or through a path in the woods, and she is a great companion when I am otherwise alone with my dog Sophie and feline Loki and Emily Friends.

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Please be assured, I am not encouraging nor will recognizing your Archetypal Personas stimulate any sort of dissociative mental or psychological condition such as schizophrenia or Multiple Personality Disorder.  In fact, as William James wrote about at the turn of the 20th Century, we are indeed all of us “multiple” as an archetypal assembly of sub-identities integrated by the superordinate Self, and in fact it is those who have not allowed their diverse archetypal character modes to be well attended to or integrated who may be more susceptible to ‘splits.’ You can easily tell the difference between an archetypal part-of-Self persona and a dissociated “voice”: archetypal elements within your Total Self System ARE YOU and feel naturally to be a point of view that is part of your Self perspective or outlook, though they may represent various sub-selves or distinct outlooks, see?  Jung, Hillman, Myss, Houston, Pearson, Campbell and many other archetypal psychologists have well described the archetypal landscape of the archetypal Unconscious.

So, Dream! Allow your various parts-of-Self Personas including your DESCENDER to manifest in your dreams so you can encounter and engage with them. You will learn more about your Self from understanding their viewpoints and feelings.

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome and invite your comments and stories. Have you had a DESCENDER dream?

Jaguar Dream

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Sunday morning I had an interesting dream that I feel relates to the Warrior archetype concept that we are focusing on this month. In my dream I am preparing to take a big journey, to embark upon a transition/ turning point or a move. I have a pet Jaguar, young, all black (sleek, beautiful!), that I load into a large pet carrier in the rear of my car to bring with me on the journey.  There is a bicycle in the pet carrier, too, with a rear wheel that spins while I drive, so the Jaguar does not have a lot of free space in there. That’s mainly the dream, except that throughout the night I woke several times realizing I had made part of the dream journey, then went back, and gradually as I was waking I thought I wasn’t tending to the needs of my Jaguar in the rear of the car. In the dreaming itself this did not seem to be an issue, but it was to my waking awareness.

It feels to me that the Jaguar is my Warrior Archetype Ally, in the form of an animus/anima figure. (In my archetypal ensemble cast, I tend to have both masculine and feminine ‘anima’ images; maybe because I am rather androgynous myself.)

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(Combine these to see more like my ‘real’ road companion, my pet Shorkie, Sophie)

The spinning bicycle wheel (while I am in motion, driving through the ‘move’) that occupies the same space frame as the Jaguar is a compelling dream image. I guess that may be my Mind, spinning rapidly as I negotiate my way through this upcoming big transition.  But my Warrior-Jaguar instinct or intuition is also important for me to rely upon, and to properly care for and attend to.  I need the Strength of my Warrior-Jaguar Ally to help me negotiate when I reach my interim destination. (This may be the book deal I anticipate or a choice I may confront about that since the proposal began circulating yesterday.)

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It is interesting to be writing this blog during this time as well; sharing about the unfolding process and how archetypal psychology influences my own journey.

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Have you had a dream image that may represent your own WARRIOR Archetype Ally? What form does it take? What message does it have for you regarding your life situations?

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images from pixabay.com

I invite and welcome any story you may wish to share about YOUR Warrior Ally.

Find the Gold, Bring It Forth

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In the opening post this month it came through that the Mystic archetype is that which is able to “find the Gold and bring it up” to the surface of your awareness. This is a part of you that sees through surfaces to what lies beneath; that perceives the true and the good—or their opposites—despite outer appearances. Such a valuable Ally!

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It is important to pay attention to this Seer side of you. How can you tune in when your “inner tuition” is trying to alert you or draw your attention to something your conscious mind might be denying or blind to? You must be willing to connect with this ‘deep’ facet of your awareness in order to follow its promptings or to accept and acknowledge its truths.

People are often afraid of their own Mystic potentials.  Perhaps it will reveal to you something you would rather ignore, like the actual state of a relationship or even an opportunity for significant change that will require that you take a step forward in a direction you may not yet feel ready to take.

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So remember to pause, to ask, to LISTEN to what your Mystic Guide wants you to realize or understand. It may appear to you in a DREAM manifestation, as a Dream Guide or an elder Wizard or Teacher. Keep a dream journal and write in it often, then also review your dream entries on a regular basis to reflect on patterns and themes showing up in your unconscious dream promptings. Then once you acknowledge and understand your inner guidance, contemplate how you can ACT. I would encourage you to act in tandem with your inner Mystic, to allow it to guide your actions forward. It will lead you  according to your deepest sense of truth and value, so it is unlikely to ever steer you wrong.

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images from pixabay.com

I welcome your insights and stories!

The Dream Master

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Archetypes appear often in their purest forms within our nightly dreams, where they can bypass the conscious mind to deliver important messages. Here’s a significant dream I feel fortunate to have experienced involving my own Dream Master:

I have been hiking (in the dreamscape) in a mountain region with a small group of fellow travelers. We have come to a level plain in view of our destination, which is a spiritual Temple perched atop the mountain we are ascending. We are accompanied by  a Guide whom I recognize as a spiritual Teacher.

The Teacher steps center to address us. He tells us there are two pathways by which we can make our final ascent to reach the Temple at the top of the mountain. One path, off to his right as he addresses us, is a wide, long and winding trail that leads eventually to the apex by a slow, easy trek. The other approach, he points out, would be by the canyon wall just beside the open area where we are standing. There is a redrock canyon spire wall that leads right up to the Temple.  It is our choice which way we choose to take.

The group of hikers splits, as the majority head off to take the long and winding trail. I notice that these folks are middle aged or more senior, like me.  The other group is a couple, a young man and woman who take one look at the canyon wall and, one-two-three, they have clambered up the cliff and they have already reached the Temple! Well, in my younger days I hiked often in redrock canyons in Arizona, so that is the way I want to get to the top of the mountain, too.

I approach the canyon wall and start up. I get just three or four footholds upwards when I get stuck! I cannot see a way upward that I can reach from where I’m at, but I can’t see a way to get safely back down, either.

I look down to the clearing below and I see the Master there, looking up at me. He is wearing the colors of Superman, with a blue suit and even a small red cape!

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images are from pixabay.com

   “Master, can you help me?” I ask.

   The Master immediately directs me with his hand, pointing to where I could step down to.  He coaches, “No, not quite; just a little further down, now to the right.”

   My foot finds the  foothold he is directing me to, and quickly I am back down in the clearing. I step toward my Dream Teacher and thank him.

   “I have the ability to watch,” my Teacher says.

   That message is Golden to me. My Teacher ‘has the ability to watch,’ and He is always there, ready to help if I will but remember to ask.

   As I awaken I know I will be going over to the wide, winding pathway upward, grateful for the lesson and humbled by the ordeal.

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Have you had similar dreams with your own Dream Teacher?  What key lessons has he or she imparted?

You can always ASK before going to bed or in an active imagination form of contemplation any question for which you seek deeper understanding. ASK your Inner Teacher, then pay attention! Listen for outer “waking dream” events that offer serendipitous answers to your question. And ask before going t sleep to remember your dream that provides insights about your question. Imagine your Dream Teacher with you in your dream.  For remember, your inner Teacher “has the ability to Watch.”

I welcome your comments and stories.

Happy New Year!

 

Vinci cum Amor, or, Act on your Dreams!

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This week I have had two dreams, the second of which this morning was clearly a blog gift dream for this month’s theme of partnering with your Lover archetype Ally to Live Your Dream, Now!

A little backstory first: I have been waiting for nearly three months on a stipend check from an international university, for service I have given on a Masters committee for one of their students. Lately there has been  some angst on my part because their financial office is telling me I need a “swift code” for my bank in order for them to complete the transaction, and my bank does not use swift codes.

So the first dream, which I had a few days ago after having sent a rather stressed out email to the international university’s  staff who had informed me about the glitch mentioned above, presented me as being too demanding and overbearing, standing at a banker’s window. I was making the clerk there very nervous. He sirred me (I get that sometimes because I have a low voice and might interact in a “masculine” manner just from being a professor): “Excuse, Sir!” (My retort: “I am a woman!”) then the clerk turns the whole matter over to a superior, who does not seem at all inclined to be helpful.

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I woke from this dream aware that I had better ease up on this guy by email. So I sent another email, this one thanking him and simply expressing my concern over the situation.

Second dream then, this morning:

Someone who is a student I am working with in the dream is taking fencing lessons from me. (I was a competitive foil fencer in college and for many years after.) An older person says to the student:

“Follow your Teacher’s (my) famous words, “Vinci cum Amor!”

I woke with that fine phrase turning over and over in my mind:

“Victory with Love!” (or, ‘Conquer with Love’)… Vinci Cum Amor. 

When I looked up the Latin word for ‘love’ today to try to be accurate in sharing (Amor? Amore?), online I found this site (click here), about Virgil’s very similar famous line:

“Amor Vincit Omnia,” “love conquers all things.”

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And so it does. Victory with love; approach your goal with love. Sometimes we must compete or act assertively, but we can—I can—do so with impersonal, detached Love instead of aggression.

In fencing I found that loving the sport, bouting for the sheer joy of heartful competition–to hone and gracefully engage my abilities–was always more successful than ‘fighting’… because it issued from and expressed a mindful Balance!  Sword-play trumped a ‘battle of wills’—or, blades—any day.

Besides, it was so much more fun!

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How can you apply the credo of VINCI CUM AMOR in your own life?

I believe in paying attention to and learning from my dreams; this allows me to work in tandem with Spirit and my Inner Guidance according to my own higher consciousness…with support from my Archetype Allies!  Today while reflecting on this dream theme, I read a signpost along the roadside that said: “WE FLY WITH YOU!” THANKS, inner Guides and Archetype Allies!!! I fly with and for you, too!

I welcome your own stories and insights!

Just Ask! Meet Your Dreamtime Nourisher

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How does your NOURISHER Archetype Ally show up in your life or Psyche? Often we are more nurturing of others than of ourselves, but your NOURISHER is there for you too!

One way to get in touch with or to explore your own Nourisher nature is by identifying when and how your NOURISHER appears in your dreams.

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Can you think of a dream or perhaps a recurring series of dreams that have included some form of Nourisher character or theme? Cooking or feeding others in your dream, or being fed or served nutritious food by someone in your dream are sure signs of your unconscious NOURISHER persona. Or simply a dream theme involving any form of Giving and/or Receiving a gift could also reveal your NOURISHER nature.

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If you don’t recall a specific instance of your NOURISHER appearing in your dreams, or to explore this vital archetype Ally further, Just ASK!

Before you go to sleep, invite your NOURISHER to appear in your dreams, to reveal himself or herself to you. During the day, think lightly about how you will invite your NOURISHER into your dreams that evening.

Remember to write down your dreams, all you can recall on waking. The form that your NOURISHER might take in your dreams could be a bit surprising or disguised, especially at first.

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I recall a recurring dream theme from several years ago that involved my suddenly discovering a pet–usually a horse or an aquarium with fishes–that I had forgotten I had, so therefore I had neglected to FEED or to give water to them! I was able in these dreams to find food to feed them, but when I awoke I felt awful and would review what this dream might mean in my life at that time. Was I neglecting to communicate with a loved one? Was it my own Soul I was not nurturing regularly enough? I would take this dream as a sign that I needed to nurture and nourish in any way possible, and usually this led me to some form of giving and/or receiving that would help me feel I had addressed the ‘neglect’ revealed in the dream.

I would ACT on the dream message, and that is something I encourage you to do whenever your dream indicates a needed or a corrective course of action.

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Nurture your NOURISHER, and it will serve you well in turn!

I welcome YOUR comments and stories.

 

Tuning In to Your Mystic Awareness

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How can you tune in to your own inner Mystic Guide? Let’s count some of the many ways available to you:

Active imagination

Meditation

Contemplation

Yoga

Dream work

Archetype Dialogue Journaling

Prayer

Mindfulness

Each of these natural modes of accessing your unconscious and/or spiritual awareness offers great potential for engaging your Mystic archetype as an Ally who can help your conscious self by sharing deep insights. Let me describe a few of these methods, then, that you may wish to practice.

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Active imagination:

This is the technique Carl Jung himself used which he wrote about extensively (e.g. see the marvelous new Reader’s Edition of Jung’s The Red Book). It is a mode of creative visualization. You can journal about your inner experience after returning to your normal waking perspective.

Contemplation:

Contemplation is an active, engaged form of meditation. You maintain awareness while asking an inward question for inner guidance, or you can travel, either astrally (in your emotional state of consciousness), mentally, or via soul travel, to explore dimensions of consciousness beyond the Physical realm. With active contemplation you may assume the perspective of being in the state which you wish to observe, and release your conscious mind to allow whatever experience is relevant from that perspective. You may begin with active imagination and then shift into a contemplative experience.

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Dream work:

Dreams occur from many different levels of consciousness, so different kinds of dreams reflect these different levels of perception (and action). Lucid dreaming occurs when you become aware within a dream that you are dreaming; achieving lucid dreaming can help you to be more conscious of your ability to control your outer states of consciousness while waking as well as your dream state.  Archetypal dreams—which Jung was interested in—appear with symbolic content that can reflect either universal, collective archetypal imagery (e.g. a snake can refer to transformation, or a circle can refer to completion or wholeness) and also personal unconscious archetypal parts of Self can appear as personas in your nightly dream. Waking dreams may also happen (more so when you pay attention as such), wherein you realize an outer occurrence has a symbolic component or gives you an answer you are seeking in a serendipitous manner. Some mystical philosophers would remind us that the outer life is as much of a dream as a nightly, “inner” dream scenario.’ (A good primer: The Art of Spiritual Dreaming, by Harold Klemp.)

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Archetype Dialogue Journaling:

Using active imagination and contemplation, you can enter into a conversation with your own personal unconscious archetypal ‘parts of Self’. This is the approach I use with the Life Maps Process, and it is the approach Jung used that is described in his The Red Book.  Once you become proficient at invoking and ‘shifting’ between these perspectives, you can journal a dialogue with your varying archetypal personae as it occurs. This can allow you to explore your conflicting attitudes and motivations. These different archetypal perspectives may be identified with “typical situations” in your life; that is, with the distinct ROLES you have established and that you enact daily.

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You can approach your MYSTIC archetype for a direct, dynamic dialogue or within a soul travel type of inner encounter.  Remember, all you have to do inwardly is to ASK! And then, accept what happens with a loving heart, ready to learn, and record your experience so you can interpret and remember the insights gained.

The Mystic Archetype

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Magi, Guide, Master, Seer, Guru, Oracle, Clairvoyant, or Sage; and Merlin, Glinda, Gandalf, or Dumbledore: all fill the shoes or hold the torch of the MYSTIC archetype. And each of us, I am happy to observe, harbor within us the full potential for expressing the Mystic ourselves.

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MYSTIC is a Water archetype corresponding with Pisces.  It often brings life lessons that involve a Descent and reemergence.  The Mystic holds the key to answering many a mystery or question. Remember to call upon your own Inner Mystic when your query is profound.

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Mystic may appear in your dreams or in your spiritual practice through meditation, prayer or contemplation. Pay attention when he or she visits with you in a dream, as your Dream Guide is able to impart vital insight to you while your conscious mind is less likely to interfere. Is this Inner Guide, then, merely an archetypal part of your Self or may It also be a spiritual agency appearing from another dimension? That hardly matters so long as you receive the message. And, it may be either, or both; for archetypes are simply FORMS, whether personal or transpersonal. We project archetypes onto others as well as identify with them within our own psyche, and spiritual guides certainly also appear to us in these same modes.

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Consider some questions you might pose to your inner Mystic that you might otherwise not ask at all.  Your deepest questions ARE worth investigating beyond what your outer mind can explore. For example:

Who Am I?

Why Am I Here?

What is my Life Mission?

How May I Fulfill this Worthy Purpose?

Now then, May You Dream! And remember to Ask!

How Will You Get There?

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This week we are contemplating the ensemble of “Big” life questions: Where are you Now? Where are you going? And for today through Saturday:

HOW WILL YOU GET THERE?

On Thursday I asked ‘What is your Shangri-La?’; that spiritual destination you aim to return to or arrive at in order to best fulfill your sense of personal Mission in this life. Then I had a significant dream Monday night that really supports my motivation to communicate about the principle intrinsic to our question this week:

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I was co-teaching to a large class of students. One woman I had been talking with individually addressed the class with her profound answer to a question we had been discussing. Then I went to address the full class with that same question. But as dreams go, a shift occurred, and as I approached to speak, I saw the students were being assembled by some beings in white coats or uniforms , down and off to the right a ways. They were being assembled in a circular formation around something red in the center. I addressed the class anyway, figuring somehow they would be able to hear and sensing this was a very important question for them. I asked them:

“What is your purpose here? Not ‘What is your purpose HERE’, but ‘What is your PURPOSE Here?”

Now then, that dream became prophetic the next day. I was preparing for a large class I am co-teaching which involves conducting mainly college seniors through a full life mapping rites of passage cycle. I was already going to share the dream, as it is of such obvious relevance!  While prepping for the class, I was reading “Confrontation with the Unconscious” by Carl Jung (in Joan Chodorow’s Jung on Active Imagination), and I was also reading in Jung’s The Red Book, both of which were assigned for the class. You who appreciate Jung will appreciate what happened next as “synchronicity”: The very image from my dream of the students being assembled by white clad agencies in a circular formation around a red center is almost identical to a dream that Carl Jung himself had that revealed to him the importance of the integrated Self as an archetypal CENTER of consciousness! Jung dreamed of a town set up in a circular fashion (with milky white colors) with an island in the middle, and on the island was a magnolia tree with “reddish leaves”!

So in my dream I dreamed Jung’s dream within my wider dream, and it was about helping the students to orient around the concept of the Integrated (both conscious and unconscious, unified) Self/ soul and to answer: “What is your PURPOSE Here?”

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Wow! So now for this blog post, let’s take this one further step to consider how the question being posed in my dream (and Jung’s archetypal image of wholeness at the center of Selfhood) pertains to: “How will you get There?”

Knowing your PURPOSE orients you to your GOAL. The CENTER, which is Self or Soul, IS the Goal.  (as stated in Jung’s words re. his dream: “There is nowhere to go beyond this Center”!

How then will you approach the center of your divine Self? One way or another, it is through integrating outer and inner, conscious and unconscious domains of consciousness.

Through the class I am teaching this semester an image has come through:

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Do you see? This shows our conscious awareness, or the “outer” reality itself, as being like a film AROUND all that which is in the dynamism of the Unconscious, or “inner”. We live outwardly as if this were the sum of reality, but we are only surface dwellers in that light. We must go within, make a Descent, find a way to maintain connection with the content of our unconscious awareness.

That is how we can get There…

I welcome your insights and stories!

Childsplay and Active Imagination Techniques

 

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I consider myself to have been very fortunate as a child to have shared a best friendship with Karin, who was as much interested in creative imagination and adventure as I was. We were so interconnected through “childsplay” of various forms that when I remember my past in this life, I often say that my Childhood WAS Karin (…later extending to Barb, Diane, Ro, Pattie, Franco, Sebrena, Kery, Jan P,  Jan J, my sisters, Corinne, Gianmichele, Zvia, and Kathleen; gratitude for all these human companions, plus always my beloved pets!). But Karin and I had a special latitude in our very actively imaginative play, from when we were around 7 to 12. She lived with her mother in a beautiful, woodsy area in Pennsylvania; there were willow tree vines on which to swing across a creek, and lots of little green clearings within circles of large trees that made excellent forts, or rooms, or spaceships, or hiding places, or worlds. We played outdoors a lot in her yard: we played WWII soldiers, Indians (never cowboys), spies, and horses (that was my fave; we were just horses, wild and free, or one of us–playing a human–would rope and befriend the other, leading to many high spirited adventures!) Then indoors, when not practicing our violins together (we aimed to play “Santa Lucia” together at Carnegie Hall one day), we built elaborate universes, mansions made of Golden Book walls filling the upper and lower areas of a ping pong table at my family’s home. We created lives there for her Barbie, my Ken (yes, always the tomboy…); and we would weave adventurous, intricate life stories for our alter selves extending for over months at a time.

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I am glad I had Karin as my playmate, along with family and other friend adventurers throughout childhood and beyond. I don’t remember ever closing down this creative flow and in fact I can gratefully say it has continued always, through writing, dreaming, daily contemplations, daydreams, reading, and travels. Compiling the Life Paths Portfolio Handbook as a self-help toolkit, based on coaching people who have used this method for their own life mapping adventures, has helped me remain engaged with my own Active Imagination playground!

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One vital tool for using active imagination as a personal growth and development sandbox is to establish an ongoing “Archetype Dialogue” contemplation and journaling practice, which I highly recommend for anyone. This is what Carl G. Jung engaged in, which he in fact called an active imagination process. For Jung it resulted in his The Red Book: Liber Novus, and it spawned his general approach to understanding and working with “Archetypes of the Unconscious.”

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We all can have some access to our unconscious archetypal sub-selves—what I like to call our ensemble cast of mythic characters–through engaging our imaginative faculties and by remaining attentively engaged with our dreams. While some psychologists and others who have read of Jung’s forays into his Unconscious Archetypal domain through active imagination and journaling concluded this was evidence of Jung’s own psychological imbalance, he countered that since he was in control of when he would engage his archetypes and since he used these inner encounters to gain a more balanced and integrated Psyche, quite the opposite was true. Joseph Campbell similarly has cautioned that when people do NOT attend to their inner archetypal impulses, that could result in a form of ‘schizoid’ split in a person from “not listening to” their own inner selves, or Soul.

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 Many scientists, artists, and writers have likewise relied upon active imagination to keep open to the Creative Wellspring within each of us that allows us to be adaptive, flexible, playful, creative and productive in making of our lives that which we would fashion out of choice rather than only of necessity.  It is said that Edison never slept more that 20 or so minute catnaps at a time in order to stay primed at that creative aperture of consciousness between waking and sleeping.  Many artists share how their ideas have come through visions either sought or unexpected, as have scientists such as Kekule, who in 1890 dreamed of a snake swallowing its own tail and thereby developed a model of a benzene ring. Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA with Watson, theorized it is important to use dreaming to ‘forget’ our non-productive or fixed ideas so that the subconscious mind can better explore and reveal its secrets.

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The book and recently released film Heaven is for Real adds a spiritual dimension to the practice of active imagination which I believe is also very important.(Or, read Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander in this same vein.) OOBE’s, NDE’s, and some forms of dreaming (e.g. lucid dreams, prophetic dreams, past-life dreams, etc.) can reveal to us that there is so much more to Reality—and life and death—than can be understood by physical science alone.

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What are some favorite ways YOU exercise your Active Imagination?

Where does it take you to?

I welcome your Comments, Insights and Reveries!

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  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 will 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

 

 

Your Dream Messages

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Descent is a vital process whereby a person can ‘sink’ into their unconscious depths to discover or learn about their deepest motivations, challenges, abilities, and needs.   Western cultures tend not to emphasize the Inner or unconscious dimensions of our psyches, favoring rather the Outer, surface appearances. This can be problematical, because we tend to “bury” our conflicts or sensitive issues, often resulting in unbalanced behaviors and emotions and ‘off-kilter’ attitudes.

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One of the easiest ways to take stock of your inner unconscious messages is through paying close attention to the content of your nightly dreams. You can establish a two-way communication with a deep level of awareness by asking for help in your dreams, then tuning in!

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Two very common forms of archetypal figures that might show up in your dreams are what Jung called the Shadow (or Shadow aspects of any number of archetypal forms), and animal figures.  The classic Jungian Shadow is a same gender, dark figure that appears to dog your footsteps or threatens you in your dream. Animal figures—sometimes representing what Jung would call Animus and Anima archetypes—may reveal aspects of yourself that you tend to project onto others and may need to “own” in order to better integrate your intrinsic strengths and awareness.

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A dream dictionary is a helpful tool (see the Art of Spiritual Dreaming, by Harold Klemp for this and many other helpful dream techniques). In the back of your Dream Journal, you can keep a log of the special dream images that show up in your dreams. Some of these will change in their appearance and in their significance or message to you over time. You are the best interpreter of your own dreams, so long as you pay attention and ask yourself what the message of an image or dream story is, to you.

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I went through a period of many years of dreaming about being chased by Tigers or Bears. I would admire the Animal, but then I would run from it, sensing that in its wild nature it would come after me; and then it would! Over time I came to realize these graceful, powerful animal figures represented my own strengths that I was not owning; I projected my own strengths into others for fear of wielding too powerful and thus possibly dangerous feelings. Once I was able to hold my own anima/animus powers in a balanced way, these dreams ceased.

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What are some of your own Shadowy figures that turn up and recur in your dreams?  What messages do they bring you? If you are not clear about their meanings, I invite you to engage in an active imagination. Go within, and ask to be shown what these images are meant to teach you. I did this once after a Bear dream in which after petting a cub, I realized the Mother would come after me and my sister. I sent my sister to climb a pine tree, and I clambered up behind her. Below me I saw this graceful, powerful Mother Bear scaling the tree as though on flat land. When I asked in an active contemplation two days later about the message of this dream, the whole scenario replayed before my inner eyes and I heard: “Even though you run from Her, she is pushing you to greater heights!”

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Hopes & Dreams; and: Touche! What I Learned about Transforming Self-Limiting Beliefs through Fencing (Best of Better Endings, Day 5)

Touche! What I Learned about Transforming Self-Limiting Beliefs through Fencing

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I am 5’3″ and weighed 110 lbs until around 30. I was a rather shy, skinny, short and nerdy sort of kid and I thought of myself accordingly; until, one day at high school in 11th grade, my friend Lawrence opened a conversation that would forever change my life:

“Say, ‘Yes’!”

“Okay! …What are we doing?”

Fencing! There’s a fencing class that starts this week at the Arts Center, and you and I will be there!”

Fencing. Who knew? I would learn more about life and about myself and others that next several years than I could ever have anticipated with that simple agreement with Fate in the form of my friend, Larry. I would come to revise my notions of what is possible in this world, a Life Lesson I would come to apply regularly, not only to my own choices and actions but also by imparting these lessons to those I would ultimately teach, and coach, later in life.

After the 10-week class in fencing I took with an exceptional fencing teacher who became a lifelong friend, I went on to fence on an intercollegiate team at SUNY College at Buffalo that placed in the top ten in the nation in 1975, a nearly unheard of result for our small college team. So, here are some lessons in transforming self-limiting beliefs or postulates that I learned through the art of fencing:

1) Focus. The “peak experience bout”, as I used to think of it philosophically, is one in which both fencers wholly incorporate their opponent’s ‘field’ within their own. That is, they are intuitively in tune with every action and intention of their opponent. This results often in “La Belle,” a very close match in which both fencers are so deeply immersed in the swordplay that they are not even thinking but they are acting and responding unconsciously, in the Moment. Both are winners, here!

2) I learned when to advance, when to retreat; when to initiate, feint, parry-riposte, or revise an attack. I learned how to stand my guard and not be intimidated by bluster or a nasty look. Being in the Moment and trusting your well-trained instincts and intuition leads more often to success than to failure.

3) I can do it!  Put all negative self-talk behind you and “go forth, brightly!” Be mindful, centered, aware, and ACT accordingly. Or as a fencing coach who was a former Olympian would put it, “”Suck it up!” Pull yourself together if you lose one point; focus on the present point only; exhale as you lunge! “Et, la!”

4) Whatever your personal characteristics are, you can use them to your advantage. Being short and lightweight,I was fast. I learned to maintain greater distance than normal from a taller fencer until ready to launch an attack; then I would use moves like a running attack (fleche) or a double-to-triple ballestra (short hops before a lunge) that would close the distance too rapidly for a taller opponent to counter. (An attack is made with the extended arm in foil; the tall opponent would not have room to attack with such a maneuver.)

5) Fencing is life. For my entire life, I am a Fencer. It doesn’t matter that now, at 59, I am out of shape and overweight. Fencing became and remains a way of thinking, a way of being in the world. I find myself applying the logic and wisdom of fencing daily, in all kinds of life situations.

Fencing–like any sport, musical instrument, art or skill that you hone with ardour and diligent practice (think, Karate Kid, for a more popular example)–can instill a healthy, positive self-concept and a balanced or “centered” point of view, a positive attitude of response-ability to life events. Of course, I often have to remember these lessons, hopefully more inthe mindful Moment; if not, then in retrospect, remise!

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Chela and Ariel–A Better Endings Pet Reincarnation Story

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I know that not everyone accepts or is interested in the idea of reincarnation. If not, that is fine, but please humor my story today. I want to tell a true, Better Endings story which I associate with pet reincarnation, but you are welcome to interpret the story however you like.

Chela was an orange tabby/calico cat that I shared my life with for 11 years. Chela was an amazing feline friend. She would ride around the house with me, draped across my shoulders. Outside, we would play a game where I would chase her in a big circle around the back yard; then I would turn around, and Chela would chase me! We were very bonded. Chela relocated with me on my “Big Move” from Buffalo to Arizona (see that story here from Feb.5). She also came with me for my dissertation study year at Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico. She was my touchstone there, or should I say a refuge of the Heart.

When I returned from Zuni to Arizona, I spent 6 months as an intern at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Chela couldn’t be with me then, so she stayed with a friend in Phoenix. At night in Flagstaff, though, I would close my eyes while sitting up in bed playing a recorder instrument to the tune of “Greensleeves”. I would imagine that Chela was with me then.

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Chela developed a severe arthritic condition in her spine, so I had to let her go when she was only eleven. She appeared to me about a week after her passing. In a dream just before waking, I went to pull an envelope with a picture of her from my chest (heart) pocket. Instead, Chela energetically walked out from the envelope, as if to say, “Don’t remember me as a dead form; I am here with you now; I am still living, as Soul!” Chela then led me to where she was staying on the ‘other side’. She brought me to a beautiful, verdant clearing in a wooded valley, full of trees on the perimeter, and colorful flowers, and animals of all sorts! There was a small, wooden stage in the middle of the clearing.  Chela jumped up onto the stage and addressed her animal friends:

“This is Linda; she’s the one I’ve been telling you about!”

So, I went onto the stage with Chela and said hello to her animal friends.

Around 11 months later, I had another dream one morning. I was returning in the dream from a castle where I had been visiting a friend who had been a mentor for me before she herself had passed on, my philosophy teacher from undergraduate college, Dr. Antoinette Paterson (Toni). She had been the person who had introduced me to Chela one day when I went to her college office for an Independent Study session.

               “So, do you want to see the most beautiful Being in the Universe?” she had asked.

               “Yes!” I answered, and little kitten form Chela, who had been delivered to the Philosophy Dept. office in a box from a student, slept in my arms during our session and came home with me that day.

So, 11 years and 11 months later, in my dream I was leaving this castle area after visiting with Toni, and I saw at the entrance gateway a beautiful little female, fully grown, black-and-white-with-orange-splotches cat. I knelt down with my heart full of gratitude to greet and pet her as we felt like very old friends.

That very morning, I went to my university in Tempe, AZ  (ASU), where I met with my main mentor there, my Ph.D. advisor, Betsy. The first words out of her mouth to me that morning were:

               “Could you possibly take a kitten?”

               “Only if she is black-and-white-with-orange-splotches!” I laughed.

                “One of them is!” Betsy answered.

Ariel (that kitten-cat) was a Harlequin, tortoise shell, Calico. She had Chela’s orange-white tabby stripes etched lightly on her forepaws and temples! Ariel and I were close companion family for 20 years. Whenever I would play “Greensleeves”—as I often did—on the same recorder instrument I had played on in Flagstaff, wherever Ariel was and whatever she was doing, she would jump up onto my chest and purr loudly, rubbing affectionately. I played “Greensleeves” also on the day she departed again; this time, she passed away at home, in my arms. I felt she was graduating from the Physical plane altogether this time, progressing as Soul to become an angelic spirit-form. I have seen her since, but in forms I shall not venture to share here. As I say often to all of my pets now, our love is Forever, “twenty-four seven, times Eternity”!

3 REASONS TO DREAM BIGGER! by Jeff Moore

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(Re-blogged from) February 4, 2014 · by Jeff Moore, Life Coach and author of  Everyday Power · in Show The World Your Greatness. ·

What has happened to your past dreams? What happens when you get excited? How often do you tell yourself things like, “That’s not possible for me, I need to be more realistic?” I truly believe that we might not be able to do everything, but we sure enough can anything, something or even just one thing, that will make a significant impact, not only on our lives, but in the lives of others. In today’s world and the way communication and information is – there are just too many real life stories of people making a massive difference in the world, for us to settle for being ‘realistic’.

The time to stop talking yourself out of your greatest dreams, desires and goals is over!

The time for wishing is over.

It’s time to make it happen.
Here are 3 Reasons WHY YOU should dream BIGGER!

1. If it’s not BIG, you’re selling yourself short. Before I moved to India 6 months ago to live and teach, I threw a going-away party so I could see all of my close family and friends together. I could have kept it low key and invited about 15 people. Instead, I decided to go a little bigger and invited more than 70 people from family, high school, college and the workplace. What I learned is that whether it was 15 people or 70 people, the same amount of planning, stress and energy went into the situation. So why not have 70 people show up? Why not plan big, love big and in this case – party big!

          Our dreams and goals are the same way. Either way, we are going to be tired in the morning, tired from work and looking forward to ‘me’ time at the end of the day. Either way, we are giving tons of energy, attention and time to our work and our responsibilities. We might as well direct that energy towards larger and more impactful dreams and goals. It just makes sense.

2. Think about all the people you can help, inspire and give too.There is a world out there that needs great people doing great things. Be one of them.

If you don’t go for your dreams and goals, the whole world suffers.Live your largest life. Make the biggest impact on as many people as possible so when it’s all said and done, you know that you did not tip toe through life, you lived with force, passion and power. It’s possible for ALL of us! As the French writer, Emile Zola wrote, “I am here to live out loud!”

3. How do you want to be remembered? What do you want to leave behind? What do you want to give to your children, family, your community or charity? It’s about legacy now. What can you give and do that will outlast you. Legacy doesn’t come from playing it small. What would your life look like if you committed to your dreams?

Jeff

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On Saturdays we focus on First Principles of Better Endings. Dreaming BIG is fundamental!

What are your dreams?  Are they “big enough”?  How can you expand your reach even further? You are invited to write in and share your Dream!  I love the idea that in in expanding our dreams, we will be of greater benefit to others in the process of realizing our own highest potentials.

So Thank You, Jeff, for reminding us that by reaching for a Star, no dream is impossible.

“There’s Gotta Be More”, by Mandi (Caged No More)

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I am ‘guest re-blogging’ Mandi of Caged No More’s post from Feb. 3 on her site. She was hoping for some feedback but didn’t receive much then, so maybe we can give her some feedback from here. Our topic this week is “Better Endings” via dreams and dreaming. In this light, Mandi’s honest questioning is worth focusing upon, not as a ‘cautionary’ tale but as a reminder that wherever we are at, Better Endings are RELATIVE, often based on taking and celebrating one small step at a time.

And so, Mandi’s story:

There’s Gotta Be More…

Posted by Caged No More

So…There’s this battle inside of me, a war I’ve been waging for a few years now. It has nothing to do with my father’s depressing condition and quality of life, my Bipolar disorder, or past eating disorder issues. It’s personal, and circumstantial. You see, my world was shaken and changed forever in 2004. It wasn’t just the diagnosis of Bipolar, it was the dark, and tragic events that led up to, and followed that burned deep down through my veins, bleeding into my soul. I made decisions that were poor, but I did what I had to do to survive my inner struggles and to just make it.

At age 18, I had a complete scholarship at the private college I was accepted into;a full ride as they call it. Not only that, the V.A. or Veterans something where my dad is a Vietnam Veteran were happy to supplement any of my other needs at the time like cost of a new computer, transportation, help with shelter, and so on. Plus, my GPA and mile long list of honors and extracurriculars in high school made me look like a major asset. Basically, I had it made. I could have gotten my B.A. in Psychology for free. No student loans to haunt me for years to come. Maybe even some great help in continuing with my Master’s as well, if I had completed it all by a certain age. I think it was 25 or something. I had so many hours left for government help, but as I was in and out of college through the years, they expired on me. I strongly believe in never looking back, never saying I could have or should have. However, this was a bitter pill to swallow. Not only all of that, but my mental illness made my life a nightmare for a long time. Things most definitely did not turn out the way I had planned, or the way I designed my future in my sentimental scrapbook all of the senior’s in high school receive…

The plan was to complete my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, continue with a Master’s focusing in Counseling Psychology, and finishing with a PsyD. Beyond there I would work my way into my own private practice, have a very nice, substantial income, and in the process fall in love! Upon falling in love, my soul mate and I would marry, honeymoon someplace exotic and tropical, and later have around 4 kids. I would be very, successful in my career, a sexy, slim and trim, wife, and at the same time an amazing mommy to my precious kids, that I’d dreamed of having for years. However I did complete 60 full college credit hours without debt…Hold up!

I am now at the opposite end of the spectrum. I’m living poverty line, but fortunate enough to be able to have very fast internet, allowing me to blog like this and keep up with social networking, a decent place to live, a nice car, for now, and food. Most of my clothes were bought by my mother. She has been such a blessing in these dark times. Oh yes, and most importantly, my biggest blessing is my health insurance. It’s the best available, but with this insurance comes a price…No, I don’t pay for it. At all. It’s just that in order to keep it, I must stay in the predicament that I am currently in. For a long time I declared myself a slave to the rules of our government. I became very bitter, and quite ungrateful for this priceless health insurance I currently have. In manic times, I considered going down to the government office that pays me and telling them “I quit!” I feel trapped. I tried the “Ticket to work” program, only to have it blow up in my face. My attempts were unsuccessful because the timing was off. I wasn’t mentally ready for that at the time. Though over a year ago I landed a job at a psychiatric hospital, I was unable to keep it. In fact, I only made it through 4 hours of just orientation. It would not have worked out anyway because the position required me to be aggressive with patients that lost control, do CPR, and handle chaos and crisis on a daily basis. I was high on caffeine upon applying for the position (It induces mania for me as it exacerbates my Prozac which is an anti-depressant, pushing me up too high into a manic episode).

So you see, I want to work. I want to be like everybody else. This is crazy because I’m the one that goes around preaching non-conformity constantly. I just have this ‘get up and go’ about me. I am most definitely a morning person, so upon waking up, I evaluate what I have to look forward to for the day, and desire to get out and get things done. Problem is…now there is nothing to get done, other than to go to appointments or the pharmacy. How did I get here? Why am I here? I was always a good person, except when under the grips of mania, or a deep, dark depression. As time went in during the short amount of time I was in college, my moods or emotions dominated me and all of my capabilities. I had to withdraw. In fact, a few times as my credit hours were acquired over a period of 4 years, which was not only devastating but humiliating.

Since all of this went down this past decade, I have applied and even enrolled in several online universities. Of course, I never went through with any of it. Now I am in a pickle as I ponder on the matter of returning to school, taking out student loans to pay for it, and questioning if I will even be able to work when I must get a decent job within 6 months after graduating to begin paying back these loans. I am not in debt in any way right now. I don’t want to create a large debt either. I don’t trust our government as this country I live in, the U.S., is in such a shape we’ve never seen before. Why take out loans now, when who knows what could happen in the next decade??? I just don’t want to set myself up for failure. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in myself…but, how do I get there? Should I just try to find a job using the 60 hours that I have as a selling point? It worked at that mental hospital. Over the past few years, I have applied to several nice jobs that would make me feel good about myself, as I have college and worked toward a goal career. These jobs had higher requirements and standards. I never met the qualifications. The only jobs I was offered interviews for these last couple of years were for restaurants and things like PetSmart. There is nothing wrong with these if this is where you are. I do not disrespect it at all. It’s just not what I’d dreamed of. I need some type of technical degree for something like a medical assistant or something. I know I am absolutely not going back to a regular college or university to finish that B.A. as my memory is not what it used to be. I think that traditional college isn’t for me now, as I am on both Lithium and Lamictal, which even my psychiatrist agrees affects cognition.

All of this brings me to my actual point. If I take out student loans I am unsure of how that will affect my government situation, and I know for a fact, upon getting a job, after a very, very short period of time that fancy insurance of mine will cease. I will no longer qualify. How can people be so rich with health insurance and so poor financially? There is no middle class anymore. I am on 4 psychiatric meds, but have been blessed to get off of the most expensive one which was 900 bucks a month, and no I am not making that up. Then, I take a stomach pill for the damage years of Bulimia have brought me, a Thyroid pill due to my taking Lithium causing that, and inhalers as I am an asthmatic. So, could I pull off the co-pays for this stuff with a job? I am also very needy in the medical area. I somehow get injured a lot and am quite accident prone, but that’s beside the point. I need really great insurance because of my mental health condition and everything.  I go into therapy and get an entire hour with my therapist absolutely free because my insurance is worth millions.

What to do, what to do…

I am tired of feeling stuck. I just feel I am not living my fullest potential. I have so much more to offer this world. I am not ready to retire because I am not even 30 yet!!! On a more positive note, as I’ve mentioned here in the past, I am finally at my all time, optimum level of mental health! When I fill out this survey every time I go see my p doc, Its been a perfect healthy score these last 3 or 4 months! I am focusing better now that I am off of one of the medicines I began in 2006, I’m concentrating well, reading now, and showing interest in activities like reading, writing/blogging, movies, staying in touch with special people, being better at accomplishing things around the house, I am not scared of going to Church with social phobia anymore and everything! I have my strong points.

I know my posts are typically uplifting and positive, but I am just sharing where I am career wise with you guys. I feel there’s more to my purpose on this earth. I am totally open to any and all input from all of you. Please do comment if you have any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions. They would be so, very much appreciated! I am sending love to all of you this morning! I hope you have a great Monday, wherever you are and whatever you may be doing! Thank you if you have read this far, I know it’s a lot.

God bless!!!

-Mandi

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Dear Mandi,

Thanks for letting me re-blog your story. I wanted to do so because it is important for our blog participants to recognize that “Better Endings” is not all about Polyannish thinking or misplaced optimism. I am interested to see all the work you have done to cope with and to a large degree even to overcome many of the very challenging conditions you are blessed with. And yes, I do see your obstacles as blessings, as your own unique gifts that can help you to grow even in directions many people will not experience in this lifetime.

I notice that you have provided some possible answers to many of your own questions in the process of writing out your thoughts:

“I need some type of technical degree for something like a medical assistant or something. I know I am absolutely not going back to a regular college or university to finish that B.A. as my memory is not what it used to be.”

Since your health condition has improved and you have been able to stop some of your meds, this sounds like a good possibility, if it’s what you really want. You are obviously a very intelligent person, as is clear through many of your blog posts—compassionate, thoughtful, and honest.

With Life Mapping, I try to help people realize that anyone can “Live Your Dream, Now!” The emphasis is on YOUR DREAM and NOW.  Better Endings is not about tomorrow or pie in the sky. What is your Dream, that you CAN “Live, Now”, as you continue to define and live into your Life Dream? You are living with greater clarity since you transcended one drug. You are now in position to be able to contemplate the direction you would like to go, Here/ Now. You are learning from all of your hard won experience, lessons you can help impart to others facing similar problems.

I guess the most I can say, as to a friend, is, keep moving forward, one small step at a time. A flower bud is tightly wound at first and then it opens beautifully when it lets in the Sun and the nourishing force of Life which it draws from the core, from the soil and stem. Stay open to the nourishment and centered guidance of your dreams. Listen to your deeper Self, and…blog on! – Linda

I welcome Comments and Insights on behalf of Mandi, from all Readers & Dreamers!