Nature Nurtures!

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(Photo by Joshua Bertetta; see his blog

at  http://jbertetta.wordpress.com/)

While continuing to explore the value of the NOURISHER or Nurturer archetype in our lives this month, I am reminded that Nature is Herself a Nurturer! We are each embraced and supported by ‘Mother Nature’ constantly, from the air we breathe to the Sun’s gentle nourishment, to the water which makes up around 57-60% of our bodily substances.  We are immersed in and composed of the biochemical elements that compose the very world we live in; our bodies are vehicles created of these same elements for Soul to get about here, to grow and to thrive interactively with others composed of these same substances, nurtured by these same natural forces that convey and express our spiritual essence in this world.

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Reposted from Balaji Govindaraji’s FB page

at https://www.facebook.com/balaji.govindaraj1?fref=nf&pnref=story

(quote is from Spiritual Wisdom on DREAMS (pg. 4), by Sri Harold Klemp)

 I am grateful to have my buddy/dog Sophie to take for walks all around the region we live in and wherever we travel. All of the parks in my home town I have named “Sophie Parks.”  We especially enjoy exploring woodsy parks or trails. My heart lifts and breath expands and steadies even on these relatively short jaunts with Sophie. Nature is cleansing, healing, settling, balancing. And so, we can seek Nurture through Nature.

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Sophie

How do YOU integrate Nature as a Nourisher in your life?  How often do you allow yourself to do so with your current routines?  One thing any of us can do at any time is to step away from the troubles of the day or the situations in the family or world that may bear down on you. Take yourself and maybe bring someone you love to the Park, the Woods, the Open Space, the Trail into the Mountains, or row your kayak on the Lake, or walk the Oceanside, or camp. My sister Lee, a pastor for the United Church of Christ in Connecticut, walks along the Ocean near her home every day and posts daily photos on Facebook:

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Photos by Rev. Lee Ireland (my sister in Connecticut) from her FB page 

https://www.facebook.com/lee.ireland.1048https:

//www.facebook.com/lee.ireland.1048

Nature resonates with your own inner nature and allows your Inner NOURISHER to breathe and to calm you and to direct your attention to that which is permanent rather than transitory.

I welcome your insights and stories!

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

 

 

Guest Story: “The Professor,” by Joshua Bertetta

{I welcome a special treat to share with you today: a story from (professor) Joshua Bertetta. This story, inspired by our weekly topic of the Twelve Universal Archetypes–especially The Teacher– transports us to the depths of the unconscious. I like how the Teacher archetype here also reflects our topic of next week: Guardians of the Threshold. An interesting connection re. Teachers as Gatekeepers…! Thank you for your story, Joshua. – Linda}

Universal Archetypes—The Teacher

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“The Professor”

By Joshua Bertetta

 

“Is it true? That there was once a monster who guarded these hills?”

“Ha!” The ragged man bellowed, then leaned close to the boy and for whatever reason, began in a whisper. “Monsters, my young friend, lurk everywhere. And I mean more than just the si’lahs and the sa’alus and the abominations raging in the Fire. The Cedars of El-Banon grow in the cities too, but there the lurking monsters do not look like those in your dreams or in your fancies. Some are real, others, your own making. Have you ever heard about the ghuls who rise from the dead?”

“Ghuls that rise from the dead? I don’t think so.”

“I’ve been hearing a lot more about them lately. That is, did, before I left.”

“What do they do?”

“They eat human flesh.”

“Like the si’lahs?”

“Yes, but they’re dead.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“I know. That’s what I think too. But what they say about them is what, I guess you could say, intrigues me the most. They say the only way to kill them is to destroy the brain. Piercing their heart won’t kill them, cutting off their head won’t kill them. And if they bite you, you’ll turn into one too.”

“Gross.”

“So what I’ve been thinking is that these ghuls are us.”

“Now that’s just crazy.”

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“Wait, wait. Hear me out. See, I would say I myself was a monster, maybe I still am. You see, mine is the type of mind that seeks answers through reason. But I forgot how to dream. Since I left, I began to dream again. For me, the academic life, a mind focused only on the reasonable, the rational, is nothing short of a nightmare. In more ways than one. On the one hand, many like myself will do anything for a name—oftentimes to the extent the name means more than the students, than the teaching. And what do we teach?” His hands matched the veracity with which he proceeded. “Nothing new. Sure, some say they are blazing a path unwalked, but really they are just wrapping old ideas in new parchment and calling the whole package new. So focused on ideas, and when one becomes so particularly focused on one idea and starts calling it the idea, telling everyone he has the right idea? They lose sight of the bigger picture. Those are the ones you really need to watch out for. But I digress…where was I?”

“Monsters, you yourself, a monster.”

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“Oh, yes, well…maybe I didn’t digress. Maybe I did. Anyway, what are monsters other than those who settle for contraction? People nestling themselves in their single idea and around their idea—an idea they tell everyone else they must believe or agree with—they build bigger and thicker walls. Harder crusts. Walls built around the nightmare of a single idea are made from the failure to live, to expand, the mortar that holds them together made from the failure to love. Life out here produces peace born in slow movement. You know the city—it’s too fast. We try our best just to keep up and it just whizzes on by. Out here, there is no contradiction…Well, that’s not exactly true—there is contradiction when I find myself in my old way of thinking. Paradoxes, things that just don’t make sense. Do you see?” He clapped his hand and looked overhead. “That’s when I understood! As much as I have tried to unravel contradiction, paradox, they just made a mockery of my mind until I realized its futility. So out here my mind no longer gets stuck—not as much as it used to—and in those moments I hear song.”

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Joshua Bertetta, an aspiring fantasy author, holds a Ph.D. in Mythological Studies with a degree emphasis in depth psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and is currently on the adjunct faculty in Religious Studies at a private university in central Texas. He maintains a blog at jbertetta.wordpress.com which contains excerpts from his novel in addition to short stories and thought provoking essays focused on mythology, religion/spirituality, and culture.