Education is the Key

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Life is the greatest teacher, when we allow it to be. Every one of us could title our Life Story: The Education of (Your Name).

Education, or learning generally, is the key to unlocking more than just knowledge but potentially wisdom.  What is that difference, for you? For me it is not merely knowing WHAT, but WHY and ethically HOW.

Education is  a reciprocal relationship with with life and/or with other beings. We teach–intentionally or not–from our experiences; we learn from observing or interacting with others or with nature or Spirit.

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At best, our education equips us to embark upon and to learn and teach from new, “fresh” experiences.  An experience is new only if we can approach it from a fresh perspective, applying what we have learned previously. I like to remember the psychology premise that says, if you keep repeating the same ‘mistake’ or running into the same “wall,” then perhaps it is time to go AROUND it.

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images are from pixabay.com

One way to tap into your daily education is to journal and/or to actively contemplate every day.  In your journal you can ask:

What Have I Learned Today?

What Have I Taught?

How might what you discover from journaling about or reflecting on these questions equip you for something ‘new’?

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments

Family–Where Our Lives Begin

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For May, our Life Theme topic is Family. In the over 550 life maps I have helped people create, I would estimate over 95% contain Family or an aspect of that (e.g. Parents, Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Grandparents, etc.) as a primary theme that has been a fundamental ‘shaping’ factor in their lives.

Of course, for most Westerners at least, Family is most often the dominant Life Theme in one’s early, formative years, then after a person ‘leaves the nest’ for school or a job or marriage, the original family may be less of a direct, daily influence. Yet because it was THE primary influence throughout childhood, our family is with us ALWAYS, unconsciously if not physically.

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pictures are from pixabay.com

So, reflect about how influential your family has been in shaping the person you have become. For this opening week I invite you simply to journal or tell a story about the role your Family has had in your life. I may add my example next time.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

The Sacred Marriage

 

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This month let’s focus on the stage of the Hero’s Cycle known as the Sacred Marriage.    To Joseph Campbell, drawing from Jung, this is that stage by which the masculine and feminine energies of the Hero are merged, allowing the Hero to go forth as a more integrated Whole Self as s/he continues to pursue their Quest.

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To Jung more directly, this is a union of the Animus and Anima and brings about a major transformation of character.  If it represents the actual goal of the individual, it can even be seen as an alchemical achievement of the highest magnitude: Mysterium Conjunctionus!   Masculine + feminine (both energies coexisting within both men and women), or Soul + Spirit, or even Earth + Heaven/ Human + Divine: this is the apex of integrated unity, gold out of lead.

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While the Sacred Marriage is often depicted via an actual Marriage of two characters, ultimately it is an internal achievement, as the individual attains a balance within of their animus and anima traits. Because of this, it can occur within anyone as a solo accomplishment or it could manifest as a relationship union.

Integration or even fusion as the Sacred Marriage represents is a significant spiritual development for it allows the Self to emerge as fully formed, as an expression of Soul.

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images are from pixabay.com

A CONTEMPLATION AND JOURNALING PROMPT:

Can you relate to the topic of the Sacred Marriage?

Do you feel you have achieved this INTERNALLY, whether or not you are partnered with your spouse or a significant other?

If so, what does this open up for you in terms of pursuing your greater goals? If not, how shall you achieve this; again, internally?

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!

 

 

 

Checking In With Your-Selves!

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Are you engaged in some process that takes a long time yet brings a personal goal to fruition?  School can be like that, or now for me, writing for mainstream publication. I find this activity proceeds necessarily sometimes in fits and starts. During the fits or slow slog periods of editing yet one more time, I find it helpful to check in with my internal selves: those archetypal persona character modes that each have their own perspectives on our shared as well as their distinctive goals with regard to the project at hand. For it may be one or more of these Archetype Allies that has slowed the progress as a way to call attention to an opportunity for improvement before I can move forward more productively again.

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Mindfulness is a popular term these days for this sort of checking in with your Self–or, more accurately for my purposes, your selves!  I like using an Archetype Dialogue Practice to help integrate conflicting internal viewpoints. I use an active imagination technique, such as Jung recommended, to “sink” into a subconscious level of awareness where I can make contact with my internally diverse viewpoints or parts of Self.

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You can think of these archetypal personas as being associated with the various roles (or, masks) you occupy in life, as all of us develop somewhat distinctive points of view from the perspectives of each of our role types (e.g. Parent, Teacher, Lover, Nourisher, Idealist, etcetera).   You can have a conversation inwardly and/or journal a dialogue while you are imagining connecting with these internal parts of Self.  Just allow the interaction or conversation to proceed naturally. This is actually a level of subconscious interaction we take part in unconsciously much of the time, as we weigh a decision or an action.

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Below is an excerpt from a journaling form of Archetype Dialogue I engaged with just a few days ago about the slow process of editing for publication:

ELDER LEADER     You need to finish the edit and begin taping for the webinar. Time is waning on our sabbatical.

NOURISHER.     Let her be, Marshall. She knows what she needs to be doing.

 LW:  Well I could use all of your input, actually. The editing feels too mechanical now. Taking stuff out is not so much fun as putting ideas into the book. It pains me to have to be removing the lined journaling pages, stripping down to only providing the instructions for library readers to do the techniques externally.

ELDER LEADER.    Yes we understand but that is what you need to do, so library readers will not be tempted to write in the books. That’s the editor’s decision. Why are you balking so much?

ARTIST    I know what you really want to be doing…and it is what I want to help you with… to redesign the Toolkit as a separate aid that readers will be able to download or receive directly as a workbook companion to the book.  The cover art your cousin has provided will fit beautifully with the Toolkit.

LW: Yes but then I also need to get rolling with the webinar production. And a larger than usual docket of classes looms just around the corner in August. Argh!

TEACHER.    One step at a time, dear. That is the best way forward. What is the ONE THING, as you tell people to consider with their own life mapping, that YOU need to be doing, Now?

MYSTIC.   Yes, dear Soul, what is your ONE THING, NOW?

LW:  Well, I want to have a clearer overview of the Whole–of where all this is heading, really. So much work for so many years, and yes we have a publication date, but the whole process feels like it is starting to get away from me, you know? Master, can you help me to re-center, to regain a stronger focus at this interval as I need to deliver these products in full strength and beauty, to best serve the Whole?

MYSTIC    Go within to find your answer, dear. What is your ONE THING, Now?

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As I continued with this internal musing (a fine expression, by the way!), I did arrive at answers. My new process is to produce both the edit my publisher needs and, concurrently, I will generate the Toolkit from the extracted material. So I do not have to lose any of the vitality I want for the book to contain. As well, this contemplation led me to write a full draft script of the opening webinar sessions, so I feel back on track now!

I invite you to develop your own Archetype Dialogue Practice.  I will be sharing a full process for this approach with my upcoming book (March 2018), Your Life Path.

What are some of your own archetypal “parts of Self”? Allow them to present themselves to you. Just offer them a safe, open space for communicating with you. Keep in mind that these are not external “voices” or entities, at all. (If they feel as such ever, then it could be helpful for you to discontinue the exchange! ) These are simply your own INTERNAL points of view that much too often we tend to ignore. So, lend an ear!

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome your comments and stories!

Trials and Your Life Lessons

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Here’s a helpful self discovery tool: Make a timeline of the challenging times of hardship or trials in your life. Map these life events according to your ages when each event has occurred.

First, do you see any pattern in terms of the clustering of these events? Have they corresponded with any other major events such as big moves or regular time cycles?

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Second, make a separate list of these events and the ages they occurred, then journal reflectively about any Life Lesson that you gained from each ordeal.

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Can you see any connections among your Life Lessons? Is there a deeper underlying theme, or a realization you can glean? After you have learned a Lesson, has your life experience changed course in any significant ways?

Sages say we often repeat similar tests or ordeals, revealing deeper and deeper levels of a major Life Lesson. Why, do you believe? What might this prepare us for?

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Sequel stories and some television series serve to dramatize this observation that life lessons can unravel over time, resulting in a gradual transformation of character. The popular Big Bang Theory–one of my favorites–is a good example, where every character undergoes gradual, transformative change based on learning their life lessons from relating with one another in the ensemble cast over time.

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images are from pixabay.com

So now, what is your life about?

I welcome YOUR Comments and story.

Forging an Archetype Ally

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As one of twelve primordial archetype character modes, the Teacher is associated with the element of Earth, with a Dissolving energy mode, and with Sagittarius (hence, December).  A Teacher perspective usually involves practicalities or facts rooted in solid foundations, revealing in that sense an earthy nature.   Teacher also brings a dissolving or resolving energy, allowing questions to be answered and transitions forged. And Teacher may cut to the heart of a matter with constructive critique like the Sagittarian archer.

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Regarding our archetypal aspects of Self as potential Allies, Teacher is a very positive ally to cultivate in its Strength mode.  If in Shadow, Teacher can be overly didactic or attached to a rigid point of view. But in its positive nature, Teacher can be a transformative Ally, showing the way to new vistas or a more flexible, new way of being.

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In order to harness the positive strengths of your inner Teacher potentials, it is necessary first to get to know yourself in this dimension.  In my personal development book and Handbook, LIFE PATHS, I will be presenting a complete Archetype Dialogue process to facilitate your “alliance building” in this respect. For now, I invite you to start an “active imagination” form of conversation with your Teacher energy.

I invite you to simply seat yourself in a comfortable armchair or lie prone on a couch or bed. You might chant a favorite mantra or a prayer, or breathe deeply several times and release your breath to relax into a mindful or aware state. Focus inwardly on that spot between your eyebrows, gently expecting to encounter a part of your Self that has a Teacher aspect to him or her. Imagine this inner Teacher energy; it could be someone who has been a teacher for you or a fictional character or your inner Teacher may take her or his own unique personal form.  Allow yourself to spend some time with this inner character. Allow your experience to unfold in its own way. Meanwhile you can have a conversation with your Teacher figure. Ask whom s/he is and what s/he would like for you to know about him or her. Continue the encounter as long as it naturally unfolds.

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When you return from your active imagination session with your Teacher part of Self, you may either continue the dialogue before opening your eyes, then record in your journal all that you remember; or, you might open your eyes after your main interaction and then start journaling an immediate dialogue in your journal.

When Jung returned from an active imagination experience–as described in his THE RED BOOK–,he would first journal about what he had experienced, then he would often draw a painting  or create a mandala to represent the lesson he had learned.

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 What does your Teacher archetype look like? Does s/he have a name? Now that you have shared an encounter with him or her, do you feel a little differently for having included your inner Teacher energy more consciously within your Awareness?

Inwardly you can invite this figure to remain part of your consciousness from now on! You can offer to be more attentive and caring about his/her interests and concerns. You can work together to help achieve your common goals.

I welcome your insights and stories!

Turning Points and ‘Combustibility’

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Our Better Endings Life Mapping activity for this week allows you to focus on what sorts of Life Lessons you are learning through the most critical, pivotal events of your life. See if you can list one or more events in your life that have been of such magnitude in terms of their impact on who you have become that you feel you were not quite the same person before and after this or these events occurred. These are your Turning Points.

Take some time to reflect on these ‘chapter turner’ events in your life. For each one, what did you learn because this event transpired in your life? Did it have a positive or a negative (or, both?) impact on you, in retrospect? Why? How? If you could go back, would you change anything about this event or situation? If so, what might have gone differently then?

One basic way to explore a Turning Point is to write or journal about it, talk about it with someone you trust, and actively contemplate its role or effect on your life. What LIFE LESSON have you learned because of this experience?

I welcome any insights you would like to share!

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Because a very special story has come through about our weekly topic of surviving disasters that I will share with you tomorrow (and another story also, for Sunday), I will add a second piece today about a Principle of Better Endings that I’ve been learning about this week:

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Combustibility : a Better Endings principle?

I was having some difficulty early this week finding just the right principle of Better Endings to account for how disasters or personal hardships result so often in major Life Changes and Lessons. I awoke then Wednesday night at around 2 AM from a series of dream images: rocket ships! So the first word that came to mind was propulsion; that such heavy impact events propel us forward at great speed; they launch us into another level of awareness or situation or or purpose. Applying that metaphor to what happens within us that allows this launching to occur, I find the word combustibility!

A few weeks ago I shared the life metaphor from Will of a golden spiral. Will said the spiral he imagined had “launch pads” along it that would propel him to a higher level of awareness. Again then, we must have the capacity for ‘combustion’ to allow this to occur.

Or, are we the astronaut within the combustible rocket? Then we must be willing to be launched! And the ship must have enough fuel to propel us upwards at great speed.

Interesting how some natural disasters themselves exhibit combustibility—a wildfire, hurricane or tornado, for instance, all are very highly charged phenomena. Do these impart their intrinsic quality of combustibility upon those that they impact? Perhaps we either combust into an accelerated change in our lives and/or the experience burns us?

Heavy impact events in our lives have the capacity to propel us forward, upward, or downward at great speed!