Life Lessons from Your Work

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In today’s world most of us engage not just one job throughout our adult lives but several, from early jobs as a youth gaining some experience or training to later career work that might be better attuned to our interests and sense of purpose.

As a self-discovery exploration I invite you to make a list of your workaday jobs.  Note your age when you started and (if) finished each job, and write a brief job description. Then consider for each job:

What LIFE LESSON(s) did I take away from this activity?

To pilot this Tool, allow me to briefly engage with this myself to see where it may lead:

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  • Horse drawings (around 6-7 YO): I loved to draw horses (always wanted my own horse and never had one, though I did get to help with horses at local stables in Pennsylvania with my sisters and friends). After feeling I had mastered a basic horse drawing design, one day I went around the neighborhood door-to-door, offering my artwork for a dime per drawing. Neighbors were supportive and I felt a sense of accomplishment. LIFE LESSON:  It is okay to share with others your creative products.
  • Ice picking at the community Peach Festival in Lewiston, NY (15 YO): First paid job, and I didn’t stay with it long enough to be paid.  Terrible work without any safety gear. I still have scars on my hands from inexpertly hacking away at a block of ice for some stall owner who did not care.  LIFE LESSON: Use proper discrimination before accepting a responsibility; be sure you will be capable and safe.talkeetna-1624101__480
  • Crab and salmon cannery, Yakutat Alaska (19 YO summer) LIFE LESSON: Life is a Great Adventure!fruit-3215625__480
  • Grape vineyard and peach orchard, solo farm hand (20 and 21 YO, summer work to help pay for college spending): This was my first real job, a job of choice. I knew I needed to work but did not want a “normal” job such as waitressing or secretarial labor. This was outdoors and I worked mainly alone in the fields or driving a tractor. The farmer gave me many responsibilities, which I loved! (…Until the day he became inappropriate with me; I left shortly after that, not to return.) LIFE LESSON: Follow the beat of your own Heart; Enjoy responsibility and work hard to excel.   I learned how I dearly love to work hard and produce positive results.
  • Ushering and parking booth attendant at a new performing arts center (22 – 24 YO) : I enjoyed every aspect of this and was promoted to Head Usher. LIFE LESSON: Exciting opportunities abound (I almost accepted a job in NYC becoming a nanny for a world class symphony conductor’s family; loved the variety of shows and the elan of performance.)architecture-3111558__480
  • Tutoring English at my undergraduate college (21-22 YO): Fell in love with teaching. LIFE LESSON: I can be of positive service through sharing knowledge by helping facilitate learning in others.
  • Research Associate and Teaching Assistant, and Faculty adjunct at community colleges, while in  graduate school (14 yrs in grad school). LIFE LESSONS: Many. professor-1993129__480
  • University teaching (pre-tenured and then tenured faculty, and Chair two terms), 25 years. LIFE LESSONS: The importance of following my own inner guidance and developing detachment from academic politics or personality clashes; enjoyment of working with wonderful students; also the value of maintaining my spiritual focus and creative activities separately from the academic setting.fantasy-3313964__480images are from pixabay.com
  • Spiritual services roles (44 yrs, many different roles and opportunities). LIFE LESSONS: How to be a spiritual co-worker with others in voluntary roles; and how to stand back to help facilitate spiritual seeking and growth in others.
  • Writing for publication (many years): LIFE LESSONS: Persistence, commitment, dedication, willingness to work and rework; editing; then eventually morphing the project to team-based efforts and ultimately being able to release and share the work with as broad a readership as the book may reach. (Joy and the desire to produce more in service to Life!)

So, what might your history of Life Lessons from Working reveal? I see in mine a widening arc of responsibilities and a growing love of creative expression and Service. I love the feeling of independence that comes with varying responsibilities along with the expansion of knowledge and the capacity to grow from working with others as well as alone. I can hardly separate work from life as a whole, as the lessons have abounded holistically.

As I now prepare for a fast approaching retirement from my main academic position, this exercise has helped me to understand that this process will never dissipate but will only continue to expand!

So, what is YOUR story? I invite you to engage your own reflections about your Life Lessons from Work!

Happily Ever After

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Certainly one of the greatest elixirs is Happiness. After attaining our worthy goal, we achieve a degree of happiness which we can carry forward with us into the next ordeal and adventure. Probably most people would claim greater happiness—for themselves and for others—as a measure of success, whatever their endeavor.

What makes you happy in the deepest sense? I mean, not only in the moment but long-term? A child (or a pet’s) smiling face (or their playfully wagging tail or purr), a beautiful mountainscape or an Oceanside sunset: these bring a valuable though transitory happiness. They warm the heart and bring a smile. They reveal, I would say, a deeper state of intrinsic happiness. They reveal a harmony of Nature, an innocence of Spirit; breaths of fresh air, a tonic to the Soul!

Still, how can you expand your condition of happiness beyond the fleeting moment?

So I ask again, what could make you Happy in the grandest sense? Is it your job? (Stay then! Take it as far as you can!) Or your relationship(s)? Then Bravo/a to you! Or maybe it is your chosen environment, where you experience At Oneness with the All One? (More cosmic, loving power to you!!!)

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For many people, enduring happiness is yet an elusive goal. Achieving their ultimate happiness shall be a result of fulfilling their most ardent endeavors (or, it may be found in the very practice of those endeavors themselves). Many will gain their enduring happiness by serving others and/or producing good works; by fulfilling, that is, their sense of Purpose and their Mission for this life.

So now, what is your Purpose; what can you claim as your Life Mission?

As a personal example, my life mission inflects on several levels. I have a spiritual Mission, which I do not feel the need to share. On a practical level, I have always sought, in one form or another, to serve the Whole…that is, to embrace and express my own inherent wholeness as well as to serve however I can the greater Whole of the community, family, fencing team (e.g.), and the world in which I live. Like many, I have always strived to make a positive contribution—whether through teaching, sharing in general, through responsible service, or through writing/publishing.

“What difference does it make?”

“It doesn’t matter!”

These were my calls in the wilderness to God, my deep laments through at least the first five decades of this life. So then, I would try harder, work more.

Until, gradually, as on cats’ feet, the Process itself—e.g. of communicating, teaching, contemplating, writing, living—has become fruitful in itself, in the moment of Doing, Being, or Knowing.  I find that I am still very goal-oriented, yet now my goal and the process I engage with to fulfill the goal have merged as one focus; see?

With this transformational shift from a ‘product/goal’ to a ‘process’-oriented mindset, now that I check in with my Self, Happiness has set in!

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images are from pixabay.com

This is not to presume that I am always “happy” in the glib/ surface sense. That has never been my goal. Actually I can sometimes let things bother me now just as much if not more than ever before. This comes from my passion for advancing what is in process. Disruptions or interruptions of this forward arching flow can set me back, but only long enough overall now until I can accept and absorb the lesson (for there is always a lesson!), and move on.

What Is Your Life Mission?

My upcoming book that is announced in the right panel of this blog, Your Life Path, is my best contribution so far to serve the Whole. This book provides a complete/ original Life Path Mapping process with its chapter-ending self-discovery Tools. I have developed and practiced this approach over the last fifteen years, through interview research, analysis of results, producing a previous academic book on the subject, and—more importantly—through developing the embedded self-help Toolkit from applying the mapping and reflection process with large classes of students and with many individuals, as a “life path mapping” coaching approach.  It has been helpful for many and even deeply transformative for some.

The Your Life Path Tools can guide you gradually yet gently to review your past, to reconsider your present with regard to how you have reached where you are in life now; then to explore your values, your inner conflicts and challenges (from an archetypal psychological  perspective), and to reveal your deepest, most integrative goals. It leads you to express and embrace your Life Mission; then to claim your Life Dream and plan a fulfilling future course, beginning here and now, to live into the life of your dreams!

I do invite you to check out this book if it may serve you. You could pre-order using the url address in the right panel, either through Amazon (as a book or ebook), Barnes & Noble, or Indies. I will be offering a preview webinar series on Life Path Mapping by December (I will post about that as it becomes available).

And so, wherever your life path leads you to:

Go For It!

A Te Sante!

Be Happy!

Live Your Dream, Now!

I always welcome YOUR Comments and Stories.

Alchemy’s Mysterium Coniunctionis: Union of Opposites

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Carl G. Jung found that his archetypal studies–whereby he personally engaged in active imagination to engage with his ‘persona archetype’ figures within his own personal unconscious domain–could be linked to Alchemy.  Just as alchemists aimed to combine or mix chemical elements to produce a higher order of integration metaphorically described as the process of creating gold out of lead, archetypal psychology or Depth Psychology as Jung referred to his process aims to explore the character or properties of one’s internalized archetypal persona forms so as to integrate them into a greater harmony within the mature, individuated Self (or, Soul). Jung called the ‘sacred marriage’ of integrated archetypes within the Self, or more ultimately, of Self with ‘Divinity’ , a Mysterium Conjunctionis:

Likewise Joseph Cambpell, writing of the Hero Cycle we all undergo time and again as we work through our self-developmental passages within our individual Story, speaks of the ‘sacred marriage’ as “the Ultimate Boon” (in The Hero with A Thousand Faces ([Bollingen, MJF Books, 1949], pg 190) :

“The agony of breaking through personal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth. Art, literature, myth and cult, philosophy, and ascetic disciplines are instruments to help the individual past his limiting horizons into spheres of ever-expanding realization. As he crosses threshold after threshold, conquering dragon after dragon, the stature of the divinity that he summons to his highest wish increases, until it subsumes the cosmos.”

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I would say that self-transcendence is a universal goal of any healthy, life affirming spiritual being (human, animal, and really ALL life forms).  We seek GROWTH, greater wisdom, maturity, and higher degrees of integration as we face our ‘dragons’ or challenges.  Life brings this opportunity, time after time, to expand our consciousness through more and more purified forms.

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Of course, this self-growth can become stunted or aberrated; that is when we may seek a depth analysis to ‘sort out’ the difficulties and resolve them.  Archetypal psychology can be highly effective in helping us come to know ourselves better and to identify and resolve inner conflicts.  I will be presenting some simple techniques anyone can use in this pursuit in my upcoming book, Your Life Path, including an Archetype Dialogue Practice.  (See my sample PRACTICE technique, below!)

Can YOU relate to the principle of a ‘sacred marriage’ of opposites or of how unifying otherwise disparate  elements of your own personality characteristics has helped you sometimes to transcend inner conflicts or to resolve difficult choices? Think of the Devil-on-one-shoulder-and-Angel-on-the-other metaphor; have you ever become aware of such a duality in your consciousness? Which ‘side’ did you most listen to or act upon?

What would happen if you were to hear both nudges and put them in conversation with one another and with your higher Self? You can actually do this, quite naturally:

PRACTICE: A Dynamic Archetype Dialogue Technique

Think of a situation about which you feel a “divide” in your feelings or thoughts about that choice or situation. With active imagination, visualize each ‘side’ of your opposing internal perspectives as persons (personify them within your imagination).  Then let them speak with one another, and you as Self can either observe or take part in the conversation. Then (or as it is happening), journal about or write out this dialogue directly.  Aim for your opposing Parts-of-Self to arrive at some degree of mutual understanding and agreement to find a compromise that may help you to move forward and make a better decision than you might have had you acted on only one or another side of this polarity.

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR Comments and Stories!

Descent–Into the Belly of the Whale

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For this month of May let’s explore here the stage of the Hero’s Adventure which requires Descent and Re-emergence.  Once an adventurer set upon their glorious Quest crosses the (first) threshold to enter into the domain of their field of action to achieve fulfillment, they are often initially “swallowed up” or they descend into a “forbidden (verboten) zone” of a sort that accords with their needs.  Descent signifies allowing oneself to explore the fertile realms of archetypal unconscious potential. Descent is a necessary process to undertake before you can claim any true progress in attaining your most worthy purpose or goal.

Many an epic narrative illuminates the rich though challenging encounter with ‘denizens of the Deep’, such as is represented by the biblical story of Jonah and the Whale. This is a descent into the “dynamism of the Unconscious” according to archetypal psychologists including Carl Jung, James Hillman and Joseph Campbell.

Your unconscious psychological Innerscapes that you may feel are “below” or ‘beneath’ your surface level of conscious awareness are vital like rich loam, oozing with multiple, too often “buried” perceptions, feelings and insights.

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Halloween, for example, is a time of year set aside to release and engage with such a ‘dark,’ shadowy level of consciousness that may actually represent your own unconscious, ‘inner’ worlds. Who do you like to dress up as on Halloween? What might that say about your own archetypal ‘shadow’ selves?

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This month I invite you to “step down,” to accept and listen more closely to your own subconscious and deeper unconscious–often called “gut”–voices. They are YOU; facets of your own total consciousness that derive in part from the various roles and lived experiences you have accumulated and enacted in your life, including those usually more ‘hidden’ parts of Self that might feel stunted, silenced or in “Shadow”.

Sink Into Deep Waters: A Creative Visualization Activity

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As a self-discovery, active imagination technique that you can use to facilitate the psychologically energizing experience of Descent, I invite you to imagine sinking deeply into a body of water. Remember the scene from The Graduate when Ben Braddock (the title character played by Dustin Hoffman) is overwhelmed by his conflicting feelings and relationships, so he dives into a backyard pool and lets himself sink to the bottom? He stays there as long as he can in this depth domain, performing a sort of soul searching.

Try this in a bathtub.  You can fill your tub with bath bubbles (if you wish), with time apart from family or others, and sink back (not really putting your head under the water for so long!).  Imagine sinking to the bottom of a pool or of a lake or even of an Ocean. You can breathe, though; do make sure you give yourself this ability.

Now explore: what is ‘on your mind’ or heart?  What deep questions or decisions are you contemplating, do you need answers about from your own inner parts of Self or inner guidance?

I just did this exercise myself about an hour ago and loved it. When I asked my Self what I needed to better understand I found it is my fear of being alone in my retirement.  My dog Sophie was at the bathroom door and I knew she and my cats will be with me, but I do have a fear of leaving all my friends and outer spiritual community behind me in Colorado when I move in just over a year across country.

So I stayed in the tub, continuing to imagine being underwater like Ben in The Graduate. (Actually this turns out for me to be a very apt fictional analog, as I conceptualize retirement as a graduation from Academia as a professor.) I found my inner selves piping up about the various aspects of Self I could connect with in seeking new friends at my new location. I can connect with writers, and readers, and retired teachers; with pet lovers, Scrabble or other game players, hikers, neighbors and of course my family will mostly be closer, plus a highschool friend still there. Even further, the thought arose that through today’s social media, I don’t have to wait until I make this Big Move before connecting to seek out some like minded others.  I can find online networks and begin connecting even before I leave. I have a full year left to do so before I leave. This last awareness felt very liberating to me; an idea I had not focussed on very ‘deeply’ before now!

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pictures are from pixabay.com

And so, dear fellows, Go For It! I invite you to try this creative visualization technique, either in the tub or in any environment that allows you to engage in an active contemplation session.

I invite and welcome your comments and story!

Alternate Futurescapes: A Crossing-the-Threshold Tool

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As Shakti Gawain presented in her excellent book, Creative Visualization, it can be of utmost value to put into practice your divine gift of Imagination when you wish to manifest positive attitudes and experiences in your life. The quality of your consciousness affects your capacity to create the life of your dreams, and you are responsible and therefore free to establish and maintain a positive state of consciousness.

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In my book YOUR LIFE PATH, I will be providing 75 self-discovery Tools you can engage with as a life mapping process that will let you review your Life Story; reflect on your Life Themes, Life Chapters and your archetypal parts of Self; and also engage in future prospecting or what I like to call Future Casting.

One fun Future Casting technique to help transport you via creative visualization to Cross the Threshold into a desirable future is to journal or creatively represent in any medium a set of Alternate Futurescapes:

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Write in first person (I), present tense(from assuming a NOW perspective)about a possible future that is desirable to you because it fulfills your sense of your Life Purpose, Values, and Goals. Describe the conditions you have established in this Futurescape of your fertile imagining. Where are you, what are you doing, what relationships and activities are prominent in this Future dream-come-true. Describe in detail the distinctive features of your Future landscaoe of consciousness. The more descriptive you can be, the more you can assume a perspective within this possible future; the more of a probability it becomes!

Now then, envision a different alternate futurescape, maybe one even more desirable than the first, more ideal. Or imagine where you will arrive if something you need to change currently you do not change. Write several of these Futurescape scenarios, perhaps limiting yourself to one page each.

Later, look back at these Alternate Futurescape scenarios you have described. Are there some common denominator factors that your more desirable futures share? Can you further envision a pathway to bring about the most desirable future conditions you have imagined?

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images are from pixabay.com

If you can conceive of a desirable future you can perceive a path to attain that.

I welcome your Comments and I invite you to share your stories!

Mine Your Vein of Gold

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Life is a Golden Opportunity! And engaging in Descent can help you discover the vein of gold that could lead you to fulfill many of those opportunities. So consider how you might descend into this golden reservoir to mine your own golden nature.

I invite you to an active imagination self-discovery Tool; let us call this:

“Mining Your Vein of Gold”

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Imagine you enter a mine shaft that has your name etched roughly into a wooden plank over the door.  There is a mine cart on rails; you climb onto the cart and press down on the iron lever that propels the cart forward along the rails. Down and up, down and up, you pump the lever and pick up speed. The cart rounds a corner and descends DOWNWARD into the deep recesses of the mine shaft. Coasting now, as you look around see the veins of gold shining brightly as you pass, as yet untapped yet full of deep potential.

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As you reach the deepest level of your mine, the cart slows as it levels, and you apply the brake. You are in a large cavern, lit by blue fluorescent lights mounted near the ceilings. In this light you see a wide band of gold shining along the east wall. There is a pail and a pickaxe hanging on an iron peg in the wall you are near. Take this to the Vein of Gold and you can chip into the rock just above the vein to loosen some of the gold and then slice into the gold, letting a nice segment drop into your pail. You can take this back to the cart and pump the mine cart to return to the surface. You can wash the gold from your pail at a water pump near the shaft entrance.

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Now then, you can sit on a boulder to inspect the gold you have retrieved from your own vein of gold. Ask yourself or your inner guidance:

What part of my Self does this Gold represent?

What can you use this precious quality to attain in your life; how can you best utilize your Treasure?

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images from pixabay.com

I welcome your insights and stories.

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to A New Year of Better Endings — with “The Descent and Re-emergence of Theseus”

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Welcome to a new year at Better Endings for Your Life Path! This year I will modify the process by returning to the principle of Better Endings, which was the focus for Year 1 of this blog. This time I will be pairing this principle with astrologically appropriate monthly archetype characters. The process will be as follows, from week to week each month:

Week One: A popular or fictional story that reflects a Better Ending involving the monthly archetype as a protagonist;

Week Two: Inspirational quotes or positive postulates pertaining to the monthly theme;

Week Three:  A Life Mapping self-discovery ‘better endings’ technique relating to the monthly archetype;

Week Four: A personal story or stories (yours are invited!) applying the monthly archetype in a ‘better ending’ scenario.

Check out the Weekly Topics tab or see below for a list of astrologically appropriate Archetypes. (The Archeypes are arranged in this wheel according to their energetic stages as I: Origination, II: Maintenance, III: Dissolving; as described by Dr. Charles Bebeau).

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Better Endings is a positive personal growth and development principle by which you may either find the lesson, value, or opportunity within any life situation or by which you can constructively “re-vision”  a story or plotline that leads to a different, positive outcome as a result of your imaginative reframing. You can apply this principle to fictional stories and films, but you can also apply this constructive approach to your own life situations and choices.

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For the remainder of November then, let’s get started. As we have but two weeks, for this month I will truncate the process with two different topics per week according to the sequence described above.

November’s persona Archetype, related to Scorpio, is that of the DESCENDER. A well known mythic story that expresses a ‘better ending’ scenario involving a DESCENDER protagonist is that of Theseus and the Minotaur. Allow me here a Better Endings summary of this classic tale:

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Theseus, son of King Aegeus of Athens, sailed to Crete, the domain of King Minos, who kept within a deep labyrinth a monstrous half-man/half-bull Minotaur.  King Minos, whose own son had been assassinated at the Athenian games, demanded of Aegeus that seven men and seven women would be sent every seventh year to be fed to and devoured by the Minotaur, in order to spare Athens itself from Minos’s wrath. Theseus’s quest on the third of these sacrificial voyages was to kill the Minotaur and rescue his compatriots.

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Before entering the labyrinth, from which noone who entered had ever emerged, Theseus encountered King  Minos’s daughter Ariadne, who was immediately attracted to the young hero. Ariadne gifted Theseus with a skein of golden thread she had woven, by which he would be able to find his way out of the labyrinth with his compatriots after defeating the monster, asking only for Theseus to take her with him back to Athens.

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Theseus entered and descended into the depths of the dark, winding labyrinth, unwinding the skein of thread as he proceeded.  At the core in the deepest recess of the maze, Theseus engaged the Minotaur, manos a manos. After a terrible battle, Theseus succeeded in killing and beheading the beast, grasping the Minotaur’s bull head in his hand.

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Theseus rescued the Athenians and led them back to the surface, out of the labyrinthian maze. Not as taken by Ariadne as she was with him, Theseus and his men boarded the boat without her and sailed to Athens, victorious. Yet Theseus erred; he had told his father he would change a black flag on the boat to white had he succeeded.  King Aegeus, seeing the black flag instead, assumed his son had been killed and attacked, but Theseus’ own forces defeated Aegeus, killing him such that on Theseus’s return to the shores of Athens, he was crowned King earlier than would have otherwise occurred, succeeding his father. Theseus ruled as a just and heroic King, remembered by many as the heroic founder of Athens, for many generations.

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all images from pixabay.com

Many archetypal-psychological interpreters of this phase of Theseus’s mythic adventures see in the Labyrinth the deep recesses of the Unconscious. They note that the Minotaur was born to Minos’s wife, Queen Pasiphae, after she had coupled with a Bull sent by Poseidon when Minos vainly requested the Bull in order to claim his own godly pretensions; but he had failed to sacrifice the Bull as Poseidon had demanded. The Minotaur thus was the embarassing consequence of Minos’s indiscretion to the gods. He is the product of human hubris and guilt, lodged deeply in the Unconscious.

Do you have a Minotaur lodged between your own higher nature and archetypal ‘crew’ members of your archetypal cast? Do you have the courage to confront the Beast and rescue your Allies as a strong and responsible Self? Meeting this challenge allows you to reintegrate and strengthen your Self through your descent and re-emergence from the Labyrinth.

Inside Out? Explore Your Islands

 

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Have you been to the new Disney movie Inside Out yet? I recommend it as a story of self-discovery and inner psychological exploration.  The aspect I like best about the concept of revealing what “goes on” emotionally in an 11 year old girl’s head is how some experiences form not only long-term but “core” memories, and these core memories can grow into “Islands.”

The Islands are what I would call your Life Themes: repeating, primary kinds of situations that interweave through your life like uniquely colored threads in the overall weave of your Life Path. FAMILY, for instance, or EDUCATION, or TRAVEL might be central Islands that occupy much of a person’s thoughts and focus much of their interests and goals.

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Each of us develops several LIFE THEME Islands as we grow up. Some of these are happy places, others maybe not so happy, depending on the nature of the Core Memories around which they have formed.

As this month’s Life Metaphor is of life as A Mountain with Vistas, I invite you to explore your own core memory Islands this week. It is very easy to identfy these Islands. List 10-20 key memories from your life. Just identify these as events or situations that have been influential in shaping “the person you have become.”  after you have created this list of some of your Significant Life Events, next then simply SORT THESE experiences from your life into KINDS of situations or experiences. For example, some of these events may have to do with FAMILY, others with FRIENDS or ROMANCE or WORK or TRAVEL.  Simply make a new list now of the kinds of events you have referred to with your first list of memories. This set of kinds of events in your life are some of your dominant LIFE THEMES. These are your Islands.

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Now then I invte you to EXPLORE your own Islands. Visualize and actively contempate one LIFE THEME at a time. You can take several days to do this. What is the nature of each of your LIFE THEME Islands? Are you happy there? Does it lift you or hold you “down”? Write about these in your journal; discuss them with a loved one. Consider how each of these Islands affects your life.

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I welcome your insights and stories!

Interlude: Why Archetypes for Your Better Endings?

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Socrates had a wonderful admonition for us all: “Know Thyself.” He buttressed this with a fuller statement: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” While not everyone might equally agree with the second of these postulates, most would agree that there is much value in a life well lived and that we learn more about ourselves as we experience life’s treasures, including hard times as well as easier, happier times.

Carl Jung is largely credited for his recognition that getting to know our Selves involves much more than simply looking into a mirror.  We are each of us inherently multiple in the sense that we develop different sub-selves as we gradually take on roles and responsibilities in the process of forming a sense of our IDENTITY, both consciously as public personas and privately and unconsciously as well.

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Becoming a social self in a community of others entails adopting ‘typical’ role identities, and as an anthropologist I would say that Jungian (and other) ARCHETYPES relate to these role personas both consciously and unconsciously. So as we become an individual we develop certain facets of our identity corresponding to specific sorts of situations. We draw upon universal or collective “archetype” images as we develop these outer and subjective personas. A parent may take on ELDER LEADER and/or NOURISHER points of views and attitudes, for instance, a spouse expresses LOVER traits, a soldier enacts a WARRIOR role, a doctor the HEALER, etcetera. All human societies include a stock in trade of several primary role modalities which are psychologically available for identity construction and expression. These also may become aberrated or may take on “Shadow” traits in our unconscious psychological makeup.

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What Jung prescribed for all of us is to seek to better INTEGRATE our archetypal persona influences in the process of becoming fully mature, self-actuating, INDIVIDUATED persons. As Jung himself pioneered for us as a role model (see his RED BOOK and articles about active imagination), he has encouraged us to get to know our archetypal animating energies as vital aspects of our greater Self or Soul. I call this your Ensemble Cast of Mythic Archetypal Characters”. In my forthcoming book (hopefully 2016) YOUR LIFE PATH, I focus part of a self-discovery toolkit around understanding 12 Universal Archetypes that were used by the late Dr. Charles Bebeau and his wife Nin at the Avalon Archetype Institute, based on Sumerian mythology and Jungian principles.

With this blog this year I am presenting one archetype per month and aligning that with a “Life Metaphor” that connects with that archetypal energy. Getting to Know YOURSELF as an integrated Whole comprised of various persona dimensions in key situations in your life can definitely help you to achieve your own BETTER ENDINGS.

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You can aim to fulfill all aspects of your Self, not just one or two at the expense of others (thereby leading to internal conflicts or frustrated “parts of Self”).  What Life Dream would help you to do that? This will be our topic for August as we celebrate and explore the NOURISHER Archetype and the Life Metaphor Life is a Mountain with Vistas.

I invite you to stay tuned and join the Adventure. 

I always welcome your Comments and Stories.

 

 

Building Community with Your Archetype Allies

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

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

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

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

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

Your Yellow Brick Road

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The more clearly you can envision your Life Dream or a future goal, the more you can collapse the space-time, so to speak, between yourself Here and your goal Now. That is, the better you can visualize and embrace the reality of your worthy end achieved, the more evident will become the path that connects you to the place or set of conditions your goal represents to you.

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Last week I invited you to imagine a set of Alternate Future Scapes as a mode of “Future Casting”.  If you established two or more of these Alter-Future visions, choose one now. (If not, go ahead and cast an alternate future scape; nothing is cast in stone so feel free to imagine a desirable set of future conditions that feels good to you Now.)

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Have you played the board game LIFE recently? My favorite recent version is the Wizard of OZ rendition. Dorothy and other characters wend their way from Auntie Em’s farm into the Land of the Munchkins, the Land of OZ, the Witch’s castle, and ultimately back Home, to Kansas. The image of a Life Path as a winding spiral, with bridges to cross, rewards to collect and obstacles or setbacks to overcome along the Way–like Dorothy and her Archetype Allies’ adventure along the Yellow Brick Road–is a classic mythical image of an Epic Journey or of a labyrinth pathway of self-discovery.

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Below is a rather rough sketch of a Winding Path motif.   I invite you to fill this in (or draw your own and fill that in) with incremental steps or phases that lead to the realization of your Alternate Future!  Use your creativity and your mindful awareness of your Goal to represent time frames or the processual stages you anticipate experiencing along the Yellow Brick Road of your own exciting Adventure to the manifestation of your Life Dream. You can share this with a loved one, friend, or children, too. Then you can each talk about what you have projected about your own Life Path.

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Have fun with this. You can create as many of these Life Path pictures as you like, to one or to several alternate futures. But take your time with each one, too. Focus inwardly on recreating–as it were, from the ‘end achieved’–the actual steps you CAN take to bring your Life Dream to fruition.

When I have filled in my own envisioned Pathway to a meaningful Life Dream, I have later been amazed to look back at this mapping some several months or even years later to find that I have been actualizing these stages pretty much in the sequence envisioned.

I invite your Comments and your Stories!

P.S.: Thank you for reading and for your Likes!!! Stay tuned for Friday’s post : Your Next Step