A Lesson from the Shadow Idealist

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The Shadow of the Idealist archetype inverts positive Idealist traits.  One so affected might feel at odds with dominant worldly values and priorities, focusing on selfish or predatory ambitions. Two days ago I was beset by a group of Shadow Idealist types who aimed to scam me out of my financial stability by stealing everything I have in my bank account and more. I’m the sort who banks (pun) on positive Idealist values. I want to trust and am surprised whenever trust turns out to be misguided.  Without describing the scam let me admit they almost succeeded. Were it not for the intervention from a vigilant Moneygram authority and my own fortunate choice not to lie or be deceptive to that authority, I would have been robbed of all of my account holdings plus funds from credit.

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I feel entirely humbled by this experience.  I would have thought I would never give out my account information online. I would have expected I would have declined the fraudulent offer to “reimburse” me for a service from two years ago that was really a prelude to deceive and betray my trust.

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I am grateful for the intercession of the Moneygram authority. When later I called to cancel a Western Union account these low life perpetrators set up to further defraud me, the woman who  helped me had a wonderful last name of ANGEL.

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If these Shadow-stricken thieves would turn their intelligence to doing good or altruism rather than invasive attacks on decency, the world might be a better place.  Meanwhile I can only express gratitude for the test and the lessons learned.  I am so glad that when it came to it, I would not lie. But I am dismayed that my human desire for material gain (the “reimbursal”) led me down a path that could have interfered wth my capactity to meet my immediate financial obligations.

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images from pixabay.com

Humility takes on a new meaning for me from this experience. It comes from realizing how Spirit intervenes despite my own weakness or naiveté. It teaches that living by one’s higher ideals (honesty, faith, and humility itself) can trump deception, any day.

To Nurture Your Dreams, Be a Nourisher

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Sometimes we might not trust our inner vision to steer us in the right direction. We may feel afraid to Dream, wary of being disillusioned “yet again.” This cautious perspective might seem ‘practical,’ “realistic” or even wise.

But when we squelch our Visions, often another part of our Self grieves.

 

What happens to a Dream deferred? 

Does it dry up, like a raisin in the Sun?

Does it fester like a sore, and then run?

Perhaps it stinks, like rotten meat,

or crusts and sugars over, like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags, like a heavy load… 

Or does it explode?

–Langston Hughes

 

Our archetypal Ally for this month is the NOURISHER. I invite you to get in touch with your own nurturing, nourishing part of Self. When do you feel most nourishing and with whom? When do you feel best nourished and how or by whom?

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I experienced a lot of Nourishing–from both sides of giving and receiving–during my road trip and visit Home  from June through July. Being with family and with my dog Sophie (my travelling companion and BFF) is a great gift of love for I have lived thousands of miles from my parents and sisters and brother for over 30 years.  We came together—all of us plus several cousins and nephews/nieces—around my elderly mother, Elizabeth—over the 4th of July holiday weekend. Mom was in the crux of a hospital emergency—not what we had hoped or planned for!—and we all came together to help her survive that visit and return to her familiar nursing home with its loving and competent, caring staff.

Mom is experiencing late stage Parkinson’s. At 88, for her this means she has very little independent mobility. She cannot walk on her own nor can she use her own hands to eat. She must consume pudding quality water and only pureed food which others must feed to her in such manner as not to cause her to aspirate or swallow food into her lungs.

While at the hospital, because staff there were inexperienced at preparing the pureed and pudding quality food and water and because most did not have experience (or time for the patience it takes) feeding in this way, it depended on us, her daughters mainly, to feed her morning, noon, and evening, as much and as best as we could.

And we did!  We bought Gerber’s pureed food to supplement or replace the hospital’s too thick or heavy portions. We developed a formula, with help from a speech therapist, to produce her pudding water, and we added fresh lemon juice and used ice cubes to give her more satisfaction.  She was depending on us for her very survival. Each of us stepped up as best we could. We shared our observations and listened to one anothers’ suggestions. We expressed our concerns with the nurses and aides until finally one doctor in particular became focal in helping Mom recover enough to be able to return to her nursing home.

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I know my Mom would do the same for any of us and often she did, whenever we were sick or ailing.  While at first honestly I was afraid of feeding Mom, afraid I might cause her to aspirate, over time I did the best I could along with my other sisters. And she improved! I believe the nurturing care we all gave helped her more than any medications. The love we all shared was a healing force in itself.  It is a healing energy that will never diminish, no matter what the future may hold.

So, I learn from my Nourisher that LOVE is the heart of it all and all that really matters. To NOURISH is to give and to reciprocally receive divine, unconditional Love.

I invite you to journal and/or to talk with a loved one (or send your insights, comments and stories to us, here!) about one or more of your own Nourisher moments.

A Quantum Leap into the Void?

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I love the concept of a quantum leap being how an electron shifts into a higher orbit around the nucleus of an atom under conditions of an ‘excited’ state. Some surmise the electron even pops out of one dimension and into another before popping back in at the higher dimension because the shift is allmost instantaneous. Now given that more recent physics than the Bohr model that gave rise to this notion may account for such apparent disappearnces and reappearances as due to a modal wave transition rather than as a discrete popping or ‘leaping’ effect, still metaphorically a Quantum Leap has come to mean a rather sudden and qualitatively total sort of transformation, as to a higher state of consciousness than one has held before.

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Then there is the notion of a “leap into the Void.” Here the idea is that you need a great deal of faith and trust to take a step in a very uncertain direction, hoping that the outcome will somehow be positive. For this, I like the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when our hero must ostensibly step off of a sheer cliff into a deep chasm if he is to demonstrate his trust in Divine intervention to validate his purity of heart and thereby his worthiness to approach the sacred Holy Grail.

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Both of these concepts of a Quantum Leap and a Leap into the Void pertain to this month’s focus on “Crossing the Threshold to Embark on Your Greatest Adventure.” Truly crossing a threshold is an heroic act, an act of faith, and it results in a new and higher state of consciousness.  New levels of consciousness, too I would say, create new arrangements and modes of circumstances in our lives overall, for they enact a departure from habitual thoughts or behaviors based on a choice to advance to a desired “new” state.

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Of course, some might add, a leap into a Void might fail, too. And a quantum leap might remove one from a familiar “safe zone” to which afterwards one might wish they could return.

As I approach retirement in three years and usher a colleague off into retirement at a luncheon tomorrow, these concepts have a definite resonance and relevance to the major shifts we all undergo as we wend our sometimes uncertain way through life.  But remembering the FAITH and TRUST that heroic characters demonstrate reinforces my awareness that these significant departures are imbued with a power and energy of their own that will serve the heroic adventurer well!

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When you think back to the times in your life before now when you took a small or large step in a new direction, remember how most of these ‘departures’ have served you well. You would not be where you are today, in all measures, had you not taken the steps laid out before you or that you laid out before yourself in pursuit of your goals.

So, set a course and Sail! Take all the time you need to envision and plan for your forward momentum when the time to LEAP arrives. Then TRUST that whatever comes, you will be there to benefit from the motion of change and the new breath of transformation this will bring!

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Trust–A Quality You Share with Your Innocent Child

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Trust is a quality an innocent child possesses that is a key element in the Alchemy of childhood. A child’s trust can overlook many inadequacies of adults by virtue of their unconditional love and faith in the basic goodness of others. When maligned, of course, that trust may be damaged, shaken or broken altogether, in situations of callous neglect or abuse. But in a loving environment a child’s trust may know no bounds. They have faith in their dreams–however imaginary–and confidence in their ability to accomplish them.

From Goethe:

As soon as you trust

yourself,

You will know how to live.

I gave a poster with this Goethe passage on it to my little sister when we were teens. Somehow I associate it in the same memory frame with a printed passage I had taped to the back of a ceramic turtle in my bedroom: “Behold the Turtle! She makes progress only when she sticks her neck out.” These two simple passages were reminders to Trust, to remain open and accepting of my own inherent talents and to hold courage in stepping forth to germinate the seeds and ultimately to manifest my dreams.

Many of you who are readers of this blog are fellow writers and/or artists and dreamers.  As you focus on memories of childhood, you can cultivate the archetype of the Innocent Child to gain Strength for advancing your dreams. Trust in your own inherent goodness of heart and listen to your inner Child, who can lead the way in forging your next bold steps with imagination and a creativity that knows no bounds.

No matter how an adult’s trust may have diminished over time through weathering the harsh vicissitudes of life, we can rekindle that trust in OURSELVES by attending to the Innocent Child within. We can re-parent our Child if there is a need to do so.  Give your Child a name; Dialogue with him or her, either in a journal or by active imagination or meditation. Go out on a special day with your child, doing things you loved to do when you were younger. Prompted by a wonderful therapist some 25 years ago,I took my inner Child, April, to a drive-in theatre to see the Kevin Costner “Robin Hood” when it first came out. I bought her–represented as a pillow in my passenger seat–popcorn and candy and delighted in her enjoyment of the movie and of our companionship.

Many years later when I was developing the Life Maps Process, I learned about Archetypes especially from studying the works of Carl Jung and James Hillman on archetypal psychology. I developed an Archetype Dialogue Process that is a central component of the approach to personal growth I will be sharing with my upcoming book and self-help handbook, Life Paths.

Through dialogue with my own Innocent Child (a Descender archetype), I learned she has been primarily “underground” for many years because of dysfunctional family issues in childhood. She stayed “beneath” as I advanced into adulthood, preferring to stay in her own private space—like in a lower level, shadowy living room–alone, rather than dealing with the harshness of adults directly. Getting to know her—I now call her Little Linda—I have learned to visit with her on her own turf, going inward imaginatively to sit with her or to play with her in her own environment. Over time I have invited her to accompany me on a more conscious level, for fun outings together.

A couple of years ago I knew I had succeeded in helping Little Linda to ‘surface’. I was at a spiritual workshop. One activity allowed for quiet contemplation, during which I checked in with her.

“I don’t want to just stay down here alone anymore. I want to be a part of your Life!” she told me in that active imagination contemplation.

After the contemplative period I approached several ‘choice’ friends at the workshop. I told them I wanted to introduce them to Little Linda and I let her say to them directly, “I want to help and to know you, too!”

My friends understood (a good thing, for sure)! Little Linda had “stuck her neck out.” And we are going forward together, ever since, with Trust that we will accomplish our Dreams!