Alchemy’s Mysterium Coniunctionis: Union of Opposites

night-view-654393__340

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.”

alchemy-2540896__340

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.

mandala-1530352__340

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.

mask-515257__340

images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR Comments and Stories!

True Partnership

stock-vector-vector-illustration-of-the-gods-from-ancient-egypt-osiris-and-isis-225037930

The Sacred Marriage is our topic this month. For myself, where I have found this is with my pets and family and with my spiritual Guides, but a stable romantic partnership has eluded me so that I now consider myself ‘post-relational’.  Yet I find a great deal of freedom and personal responsibility in living without a romantic partner, and I am happier this way.

Still, what is true partnership when that is not defined primarily or necessarily in romantic terms?

It is when two Souls team up, with love and trust in each other, to weather storms and support one another’s individual and collective missions. It is a guarantee of unconditional love and a willingness to communicate about whatever arises, knowing the other is open and giving in return.

stock-photo-person-s-hand-and-a-cat-s-paw-making-a-heart-shape-instagram-toned-effect-358480727

My dog Sophie and I are true partners. She has been through hell and back again with me when we endured a scourge of parasite bugs last March.  I don’t know how I could have gotten through that without her, and I am so glad she made it through too.  (Yet  I must also acknowledge a Good Samaritan who helped us both greatly at a B&B;  she took us in and helped nurse us back to health despite the risk to her own business.)  Once when I was finally determined to drive back cross-country to deliver Sophie to safety and then finalize my own cleansing of remaining bug threats, my wounds were searing and I thought they might be infected. (A doctor had me using an ointment that was wrong for these kinds of wounds.) Still over 1800 miles from home, I was at a low. Should I just drive through it, or seek help?  At that moment Sophie started barking emphatically at me and I knew she was telling me to get help.  So, in the midst of a torrential downpour somewhere in Iowa late at night, I found an Urgent Care and got the best treatment I had yet received, enough to let me and Sophie push onward.

Sophie

My dear Sophia

But I will be honest with you. I always did hope to establish true partnership with a human, yet that never materialized longterm for this lifetime except in some absolutely deep and wonderful friendships.  As a writer this has worked out fine, as it gives me the solitude and space to immerse myself in creative activity and the freedom to follow my dreams. I am reminded of a poem by W. B. Yeats, on “Words”:

I had this thought a while ago,

My darling cannot understand what I have done,

Or what would do in this blind, bitter land.

And I grew weary of the Sun

Until my thoughts cleared up again,

Remembering that the best that I have done

Was done to make it plain;

That at length I could cry,

At last,

My darling understands it all

Because I have come into my strength

And words obey my call.

That had she done so, who can say

What might have shaken from the sieve?

I might have thrown poor words away,

And been content to live.

wooden-horse-1746813__340

images are from pixabay.com

True partnership is  Soul with Spirit and with Divinity Itself, including Spirit as It expresses through other Souls.  Human companionship may be lasting or ephemeral;      in either case it is a great gift to be treasured for all that can be shared.

I welcome your comments and stories!

Into the Woods—A ‘Better Endings’ Revision

vintage-1652576__340

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.

vintage-1653127__340

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.

image-1822584__340

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.!

Marry Your Future, with a Vision Board!

vision-board-520757__340

Maybe this is a bit of a stretch for our topic this month of The Sacred Marriage, but I find myself sitting at my office desk and looking at my bulletin board that I realize I have turned into a Vision Board.  I have embarked upon my final year of teaching before publishing my book, Your Life Path, and then retiring and relocating to focus full-time on writing and life mapping services.

I pilot every life mapping tool that I will be introducing with this book, and the art of “future casting” is a big part of this approach.  Any form of creative envisioning of what I like to call your future Lifescapes can be helpful to you in manifesting the life conditions you desire to express.

tarot-2469670__340

On my Vision Board bulletin board I have the poem Ithaca by Cavafy (You can click on the Youtube video embedded below, narrated by Sean Connery!):

I also have a collage of images that represent my journey ahead to realize my Life Dream.  It shows my future ambitions and goals:

Capture

To create your own Vision Board, simply imagine!  What CORE VALUES do you intend (not simply wish for or hope to do, but INTEND) to establish in your future Dream Come True?  Even if your most desirable future is the life you are living Now, what core values are you manifesting that you intend to extend and embellish further on the road ahead?

Goal setting is not about–or need not involve, anyway–LINEAR THINKING.  By focussing on VALUES rather than specific, material objectives, you remain open and flexible to however the Universe or Spirit fills your mold.

stock-photo-a-fulfilled-life-motivational-phrase-sign-on-old-wood-with-blurred-background-530535985

You can write your future values or conditions you intend to live into onto a poster board or in Publisher on a blank page on your computer. Then find (or draw or paint in) pictures online or in magazines that represent these values and conditions, and place them on your Vision Board in a manner that feels right to you. You can also cut out or cut and paste words and phrases onto your collage.

I like to create my Future Casting Collages (BTW, do several! The future is not cast in stone!) to represent my pathway from where I am Now to the future Now I aim to create around me.

stock-photo-vision-goals-aspirations-planning-word-concept-419171674

images (other than my own) are from pixabay.com

I invite and welcome your Comments and Stories!

I would invite your collages to share, but actually I recommend you hold these close and share them mainly with your loved ones. Your VISION is your own; nurture it well and it will be!

The Sacred Marriage

 

wedding-2506868__340

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.

wedding-photo-2490158__340

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.

circle-971475__340

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.

ballet-534357__340

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!

Call Upon Your Inner Archetype Allies

boy-1035485__340

Here is a list of The Twelve primordial, universal persona archetype figures, as set forth by Dr. Charles Bebeau of the former Avalon Archetype Institute and as updated in terms of naming by Debra Breazzano, MA/LPC:

ELDER LEADER    ARTIST    TEACHER

LOVER       IDEALIST     COMMUNICATOR

WARRIOR     GOLDEN  CHILD    HEALER

NOURISHER    DESCENDER    MYSTIC

superhero-2503808__340

Which of these 12 potential Archetype Allies, included as archetypical forms in anyone’s  personal unconscious identifications, could be helpful to you right Now? You can call upon one or more than one of these universal archetypes, which each possess tremendous energy for supporting your goals with inner strengths and nudges, to help you to understand what course of action will be most beneficial to you for realizing your most worthy goal.

Call upon the positive Strengths of your Ally. This represents your own inherent talents and reinforces your natural perceptive abilities. Here is a self-discovery Tool you can use:

First, identify a positive Goal.

Second, review the list of The Twelve presented above (you can print out this page), and circle one or more than one that you intuitively sense could help you to achieve your goal.

Third, list the Ally or Allies you have selected, and identify some of your own traits or personal qualities that you would like to strengthen and utilize in the pursuit of your goal.

the-wizard-of-oz-516687__340

As a personal example to illustrate this self-discovery Tool, a current goal of mine is to complete a deep edit of my book manuscript which I hope to deliver in about a week. I call upon my inner Communicator, Idealist, and Artist as general Allies, and I have found myself calling forth other Archetype Allies during the work at hand. Editing a chapter where I am offering a process for Descent and Re-Emergence, for instance (in my upcoming book, Your Life Path), I found my inner Descender offering helpful examples and helping me stay true to the intent and purpose of that chapter.

Your internalized persona archetype Allies are at least in part forged and developed based upon the role identities you have assumed in your life.                 

You have internalized some of the traits and abilities of role models who have influenced your development of these roles, such as Parent, Teacher, Adventurer, etcetera.  You can learn to tap into your usually unconscious repertoire of these internalized archetypal traits and personas; my book will provide Tools to allow you to do this (and I will offer an upcoming webinar series even before the book is published in March 2018 by Flyinghorse Publishers).

You may find yourself growing in strength as you “integrate” your archetypal parts-of-Self within a more ‘individuated’ and internally harmonious Whole.

drop-of-water-2135788__340

images are from pixabay.com

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

Pass It On!

frog-1709324__340

Here is a quick activity: Think of one mentor who has taught you a valuable lesson. What was that lesson?

Second, how have you sought to impart that lesson to others? What has been the result?

stained-glass-1181864__340

My quick response:  “Patience is a virtue.” (from Diane) I aim to teach this to my students, especially advanced students working on research projects or thesis papers. I have seen many of these students take some great strides. For myself, I use this principle daily, now in yet another book editing romp.

uncertainty-relation-2434282__340

images are from pixabay.com

I am amazed daily at the miraculous interweaving and orchestration of Life.

“Love is all, and do as thou wilt.”

(Stranger By the River, by Paul Twitchell)

Inner Guidance

stones-1372677__340

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.

commitment-839793__480

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.

earth-2091112__480

“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.

chinese-675119__480

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.

adult-1870011__480

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!

museum-398761__480

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.

stock-vector-writer-writing-on-paper-sheet-vector-illustration-flat-cartoon-person-hands-with-pen-on-working-556859122

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.

carnival-2092819__480

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.

stock-photo-violinist-playing-underwater-with-muse-swimming-around-in-the-pool-450658666

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?

mandala-1791741__480

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!

illustration-1807105__480

images are from pixabay.com

I welcome your comments and stories!

Revelations Can Carry You Forward

image-1607925__340

The last few months I have been focusing a lot in these posts on the trials and descent process necessary in order to embark well on one’s journey of self discovery and fulfillment. Of course that is exactly what is needed. A Quest, to be worthwhile, advances you toward achieving your deepest aspirations so you can express your unique talents and potentials.

This is the High Adventure of the Soul of which Joseph Campbell speaks. The initial threshold guardians, descent and trials are to help you to clarify your Goal, to claim your mission and purpose, and to develop your resolve. You have crossed the first threshold into the adventure itself, but you must illuminate the passage ahead so that your adventure will not simply be wandering through a maze without a centered destination to reach. The revelations from your initial trials are essential. They allow you to refine your goals.

stock-photo-the-castaway-man-standing-on-island-beach-illustration-painting-581686483

I think of Castaway as offering an excellent example of the value of trials and revelations. Chuck, once marooned on his island, encounters many failures in his early attempts to escape until the realization after testing a possible suicide ploy that also fails, that he must face up to the immense challenge and strive actively to survive, opens the possibility, this reader would say, of his ultimate success in leaving the island and sacrificing his solitude there to return to his social arena of life. Chuck Noland learned he could survive on his own yet that was not enough to be truly living. The metaphor of the angel wing sail that let him finally overcome the tidal forces imposing his solitude served literally to deliver the character from his prison of isolation even while that isolation itself brought invaluable lessons about the meaning of life itself.

stock-photo-life-of-pi-625420595

A similar narrative framing the import of trials and revelations is found in The Life of Pi. There the psychological drama brings the stranded ocean wayfarer to the point of challenging his faith in the goodness of God, yet at every critical point of facing the likelihood and the inevitability even of death, Pi thanks God rather than cursing his fate, and it is then that new positive opportunities abound. Pi, too, like Chuck Noland, survives to live out his life more fundamentally assured of the love of God and the interconnectedness of life in its entirety.

dna-1811955__340

images are from pixabay.com

JOURNAL PROMPT: What revelations have you gleaned from your times of trial or testing that have or can carry you forward to fulfilling your Soul purpose in this life?

I welcome YOUR COMMENTS AND STORY!

[P.S. to Readers: I will be traveling until the 25th so will not post again until after that trip, but I look forward to reading your Comments!]

Trials and Your Life Lessons

great-torii-of-miyajima-1425480__480

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?

overcoming-2127669__480

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.

stock-photo-overcoming-challenges-and-crisis-mixed-media-519464068

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?

actor-1807558__480

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.

stock-photo-lessons-learned-text-written-on-a-notebook-with-pencils-536426884

images are from pixabay.com

So now, what is your life about?

I welcome YOUR Comments and story.

When Your Dream Becomes a Nightmare? Adapt!

nutshell-2122627__340

June brings our new monthly theme at Better Endings for Your Life Path (see Monthly Topics); the next stage as we proceed forward with the Hero Cycle process is:  TRIALS AND REVELATIONS.

I can certainly relate right now at this juncture in my own life’s journey.  This past month, while blogging here about “Descent into the Belly of the Whale,” I sank into a deep contemplation one day while sitting in the center of an outdoor stone labyrinth. I asked my Inner Guide:

“What is it you/Spirit would ask me to improve upon or change as I proceed forward into the next phase of my journey?”

I received a clear answer:

“Adaptability”

glowing-1884274__340

This answer has lingered in my consciousness.  Adaptability is certainly an important TOOL for me to employ as I approach retirement next summer and the release of my book, Your Life Path, next March.

A few days ago, I had a breakthrough with regard to adaptability. I have been conceiving of one and only one destination for retirement.  Yet when I visited that location through the month of March into April, I encountered a terrifying series of ordeals in the form of an invasion of my very body (and my dog’s and car) by parasitic insects. It took six weeks and a heavy load of new credit debt to clear that scourge, and I find myself left with PTSD around these ‘bug issues’ that I am still working on. When I think of that truly wonderful location, it now brings forth a sense of dread: how could I ever feel entirely safe were I to live there? I know this is not rational yet it is deeply entrenched.

dream-catcher-2199258__340

images are from pixabay.com

So I have been thinking about today’s topic: What Can You Do When Your Dream Becomes a Nightmare?

My answer is clear: ADAPT!

With Life Path Mapping, I always encourage people to remain FLEXIBLE and OPEN TO CHANGE. Future life mapping is not about setting a specific location or job or relationship as a necessary or fixed destination. It is about  projecting your VALUES forward into a future set of conditions that will fulfill your sense of purpose, mission, and life satisfaction.

So I took out a map to see where else could I go to satisfy my interests in a retirement community: closer to family, a vibrant community, a lake.  And I found an amazing location I have known of but had not realized how near it is to where I have wanted to be anyway.  I have a new location focus now.

Adaptation rocks!

dragonfly-452754__340

I welcome YOUR Comments and Stories.

 

Build a Bridge to Your Destiny

bridge-2062748__480

Who Are You? How did you get where you are today? Where are you wanting to go from here? How will you get there?

Here’s a quick creative Tool to help you discover a pathway to a desired next step that you might feel it is too hard to attain:

On a piece of construction paper of a color you associate with Fulfillment, paste or draw an image of a BRIDGE. This can be any sort of bridge you choose, but make sure it is strong, a bridge that will definitely convey you from one side (where you are now) to another (where you wish to “belong”).

bridge-19513__480

You can place or draw images of where you are and of where you wish to arrive at as a destination on either side of the bridge.

On or above the Bridge Path itself, place action words, phrases or images that are actual steps or transitions you CAN make in the foreseeable future that can lead you clearly n the direction of your goal.

For example, “pay off debt” or “exercise 2 times per week” or “write a chapter outline” could be statements you write on the bridge.

bridge-2023956__480

images are from pixabay.com

Then, DO THIS!  Place one action before you that  is easy to set into motion and let that motion carry you over the bridge, across a threshold to your desirable new state or condition.

I welcome YOUR comments or story!

Crossing the Threshold

stock-photo-into-the-light-metaphorical-representation-of-releasing-or-letting-a-soul-go-into-the-light-459150754

I attended my dear mother Betty’s early-90th birthday gathering along with 17 family, caregivers and friends this past Saturday. Mom has been enduring the ravages of late stage Parkinsons for several years in an excllent nursing home facility in Western New York. Those of you following theis blog can appreciate how wonderful it was that I could be there with Mom and family at this amazing event that my sisters planned and orchestrated beautifully with great love. After a month’s road trip during which I encountered all manner of what I’ve been calling here “creepy crawly threshold guardians” I actually fled for home with my car and dog in 3 days to deliver my dog Sophie safely (and to separate us from affecting one another plus to deal again with the car)to Colorado. Then my sister graced me from her frequent flying miles to bring me by air right back to Western New York!

chautauqua

Long story short, I can happily report that this after-the-trip trip has resulted in much better health, happiness and encouragement. My family is tremendous. The birthday gathering was all and much more than planned! My sister set Mom’s wheelchair in the center of a worship area room at her nursing home. We formed a semi-circle around her (and the strawberry cheesecake and cards and decorations). My other of 3 sisters had created/ published a beautiful book and slideshow from over 350 photos of Mom and our family from her birth to now. The slideshow ran continuously on a laptop accompanied by a soundtrack of Mom and our favorite songs.

“You are my Sunshine” is a favorite of favorites that we sing to Mom, and she sings along as best she is able! “My Bonnie lies over the Ocean” and Elvis tunes were also in the mix. For a couple of hours we celebrated Betty, our mother, sister, aunt, grandmother and great-grandmother, and Friend. She was fully with us the entire time and even came to full waking clarity for another hour or so afterwards in her room with my sisters and brother-in-law and me for a short while.(Usually she can stay alert and awake for only minutes at a time or through a fed mealtime encounter with her nurses.) When I had a few minutes of alone time with her before I needed to leave, she stared open eyed and we exchanged a loving moment.

stock-photo-birthday-cake-with-candles-bright-lights-bokeh-418556503

“You survived!” she uttered clearly.
“I survived,” I answered gratefully. I told her how much I and all of us love her. I said, “After all of this trip I realize that Family is more important than anything!” (I will be retiring to be closer to my family in a bit over a year now. The trip has only reinforced this resolve.)

So, this entire trip which has also included some amazingly positive experiences including a final format editing of my book manuscript which I will send to the publisher today or tomorrow and meeting/sharing with some wonderful new friends including a B&B owner/ EMT and two new wonderful friends who are publicists forming a team with me and my agent around this project, has finally resolved to the rim of a Threshold Crossing. I have met daunting challenges impeding my progress but I have survived and continue to advance. I arrived at the destination of my mother’s pre-90th birthday. We all laughed and sang, hugged and updated. We shall progress only forward from Here!

unnamed
pictures are from pixabay.com

Continue reading

Guard Your Own Threshold (My Creepy Crawly Road Trip, Part 3)

stock-photo-life-cycle-of-tawny-rajah-butterfly-with-caterpillar-and-chrysalis-434638045

For those of you who have been reading the blog this month, I am still on my road trip with my dog Sophie, and hopefully I am on track for overcoming the creepy crawly scourge we have encountered since day one, Feb 25, of bed bugs, hair and body lice, and tiny brown mites… oh yeah, and possibly dog mites too. My body as well as Sophie’s show the scars of the engagement. I am using lotions, meds and showers to try to regain a  balance, and today (yay) I am taking Sophie to a vet who will know what to do. (Previous vets have not found the root of the problem since her mites are burrowed, not actively moving about.)

The hopeful turning point phase began about six nights ago when I started taping rolls of sticky lint paper at the bottom of the bathroom door to sleep protected in there, keeping the mites in the bedroom. Then I realized turnabout is fair play, as I have now become the threshold guardian of my own and my dog companion Sophie’s bodies/ skins. Four nights ago while waiting for an Orkin treatment to be fully effective, I went out to Walmart, bought two tarps and a mummy sleeping bag and I  slept one night at least on the bed again, free of the tiny brown ones.

Yet even the next night a new patrol of tiny white specks  cropped up from apparently the fibers of the freshly laundered sleeping bag, nipping where they appeared. I almost succumbed to total surrender at this latest foray, but I got up, took a shower and used that magical wand of a lint roller to start picking these critters up as they surfaced. I continue that vigilance since moving to a hotel.

stock-photo-overcoming-challenges-and-crisis-mixed-media-519464068

Guarding your own threshold means stand up for yourself against all would be attackers who seek to feed off of your own good nature and integrity. You have a right to the sanctity of your own personhood and space. “One’s freedom ends where another’s begins” is a spiritual principle as stated by Harold Klemp, the spiritual leader of Eckankar. I get it now; that works in both directions.

pegasus-1340112__340

images are from pixabay.com

On a happier note, I had two wonderful days meeting with the team of publicists from Scribes Unlimited, Paula and Paul, this past two days, as we are preparing to  launch and make available to the general public my book, Your Life Path, with its related life mapping services. Pretty soon you will be able to link from this blog to an interactive site about Life Path Mapping, podcasts and all!

I welcome all of  your comments, help…,and stories.

The Reluctant Host: Creepy Crawly Threshold Guardians, Part Two

hiker-918473__480

So my road trip continues and so does my encounter with creepy crawly Threshold Guardians. Pernicious. Now I am under treatment for head lice, body lice and am trying to thwart tiny bedbug or mite babies that show up all around me and some take haven in my skin.

But I and my allies are fighting back. I guess some Threshold Guardians require not humility or surrender so much as vigilant opposition.

wagon-48633__480

Pictures are from Pixabay.com

I am grateful to be alive. Last night I slept rolled in a sheet on a bathroom floor to avoid the bed. For the first night in weeks I dreamed.

Tomorrow the Orkin man comes and today I am bombing the car and getting mattress covers with zippers and 91 percent alcohol spray. I have cortisone cream and a lotion for the lice. For now I am sitting at a Paneras to write this and do some other writing and school work while a snow storm builds.

Life marches on, even under duress.

Life is a blessing.

Gratitude for the Blessings of Spirit—Life Lessons, Part Two

island-1721196__480

Last Friday when I posted the blog on “Life Lessons,” I actually had a great experience that reinforced another Life Lesson, too.  It has a Christmas theme about it, so I share it today as a positive Holiday message.

I was feeling a bit down that Friday morning. Mainly I was feeling very alone. En route to my regular weekly writing session at a cafe in Castle Rock, Colorado, I stopped along the way at a Village Inn restaurant for a breakfast I could eat  with my low carb diet.

monkey-1757972_1280

Writing can make me feel lonely some times.  It is a paradox that an activity someone uses to communicate with a wide range of people is accomplished by practical necessity in relative isolation.  Even when you work with a writing partner or share a writing session with a friend working on their own project as I occasionally do, the self-discipline of writing requires the sort of mental focus and concentration that to some extent excludes the world around you.  That’s why I choose to write in a public space when I can; at least there are others in the background environment while I immerse in the ideational process.

stock-photo-young-male-student-writes-information-from-portable-net-book-while-prepare-for-lectures-in-423324397

So, that Friday morning en route to a solo writing session, I had a fine breakfast and prepared to move on up the road. I asked the waitress for the bill. She smiled and said mysteriously:

“You can forget about it. Someone has already taken care of it.”

I was dumbfounded.  What did she mean?

“Somebody paid for your meal. He didn’t want me to say who he was.”

Oh, my! I asked if I could at least leave a tip but she waved it off, saying he had covered that quite well too.

“Did he have a white beard, with a jolly big belly and a red and white suit?” I joked.

“He did have a beard,” the waitress replied.

colorful-1325216__480

images are gratefully from pixabay.com

I left the restaurant feeling thankful for this unexpected gift. It was more than a free meal in mid-December.  It was a reminder from Spirit, I do believe, that I am/we are never truly alone.

stock-vector-d-realistic-santa-claus-cartoon-character-showing-merry-christmas-tittle-written-in-blank-space-320496500

 

Life Lessons

violin-1617972__480

Life is a Teacher in and of Itself; we learn daily through the forge of experience. How often have you said, “at least I learned something” about an experience in your life that may not have turned out exactly as you had planned for or expected it would?

“Chalk it up to experience!” we say.

Or maybe:

“Live and learn”

“It was a learning experience”

“I’ll know better next time”

Then there’s the infamous:

“No pain, no gain!”

stock-photo-growing-sprout-beginning-of-a-new-life-364952021

This week, I invite you to celebrate Life’s Lessons.  Large or small, long term or short term, what “Life Lessons” have you gathered as gems of experience along the road or Labyrinth of your Life Path so far?  

Make a list of some of your Key Life Lessons, organized however you choose. Then I encourage you to choose one of these to journal about; let that be a Life Lesson that feels relevant to your understanding of an experience with which you are currently engaged.

Let me try this life mapping Tool myself as an example. I will list some of my own Life Lessons and make note of the source of some of these.

LIFE LESSONS

  • Always Give UP, Always Surrender (to Spirit and Higher Consciousness; learned through contemplative inner guidance)
  • Patience is a Virtue (DM; this one has clearly stood the test of Time!)
  • The turtle only makes progress when she sticks her neck out. (from a ceramic figurine  I had as a teen)
  • Love all with unconditional love but reserve your warm sentiments for those you can trust to return that friendship deeply. (School of hard knocks; a spiritual principle)
  • Drive the car; don’t let it drive you. (My father, teaching me to drive)
  • “When you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” (a Goethe quote on a poster I once gave to my sister)
  • “Way Will Out” (a Quaker expression learned from a friend.)

Way Will Out

This is the Life Lesson that feels most relevant to my current experience this week as I am confronted with a question concerning copyright matters with an element in my book manuscript as I prepare it to go to the publishers. I had adapted a set of techniques I thought would be helpful in the book, but after a conversation yesterday followed by some sincere contemplation, I realize there is a GIFT in this experience. The GIFT is that I will redesign these elements completely to present wholly new techniques that are more directly grounded in a central feature of the overall approach in the book. This will be of even greater value than what I had before because they will add substance to a more coherent, fully unique “process.” The original concepts were in retrospect merely place holders until I could arrive at this awareness, and the timing has been perfect as it is just now that I am editing this section of the manuscript.

“Way Will Out,” to me, has always been a very calming proposition. It says to RELEASE any sense of conflict or concern, to Trust in the Universe or Spirit, and to act accordingly, with good intent.  It works!

form-1314022__480

images are from pixabay.com

Your Turn: 

Print out this post if you would like to write in the space given below a list of Key Life Lessons in your life and an account of how ONE of these is relevant Now. (I invite you to send your own story here if you would like me to post it for others to read.)

List Your Life Lessons:

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

6) 

 

Journal about the Relevance of ONE of these Life Lessons to your experience Now:

 

 

…and gladly teche

 

aec-1782427__340

I have been fortunate throughout my life to have encountered and learned from many excellent, inspirational Teachers, not only in school environments but in life! In my next post I will share about several of their key influences as mentors and I will invite you to celebrate your mentors too, but today I want to focus on just one of them: Mr. Oliver. It is the memory of his distinct inspiration (and a few others from early grade school on) that led me confidently in the direction of serving as a Teacher myself for now over 38 years.

Mr. Oliver was on the English Department faculty at my undergraduate college where I majored in English, in Buffalo, New York.  He did not have a doctorate as most of the faculty there did; he had started teaching in a one room schoolhouse when he was 16 or 18 years old and taught from his growing experience from then on. Mr. Oliver specialized in Chaucer’s The Canturbury Tales, and I met him as a student in a class on that subject.  Middle English rolled off Mr. Oliver’s tongue as a native language to him, and I marveled and delighted in his fluency with what remained essentially a beautiful but foreign language to me throughout the semester.

shadow-1665061__340

The story I am to tell (like the pilgrims of the Canturbury adventures) about Mr. Oliver relates to the time of his death. Yes, really!  When I took my Chaucer class with Mr. Oliver, he was 69 years old. At that time (1973 or so), the university required faculty to retire at 70. As he had been teaching for over 50 years, all of his students felt badly for him that he would have to retire, at all. He was the consummate teacher who was ardent about his topic and centered his life around his teaching. 

In the Spring of 1974, about two days before the end of what would have been Mr. Oliver’s final class, he died. Honestly, when we students talked about his passing we were happy for him! He did not have to leave his teaching life before retiring unto the Beyond! But this story relates to another one that he had shared with us during the Chaucer class.  Once when he was in a hospital and needed an appendicitis operation, the anesthetic drugs wore off before the operation was finished. Mr. Oliver told us that for the remainder of his time on the operating table, which was at least another hour or more, he simply recounted the entire Prologue to the Canturbury Tales, in its entirety!

So, when Mr. Oliver passed, among us students we shared a passage that we had learned from him from that Prologue. To us it signified everything he meant and imparted to us:

And gladly wolde he lerne,

and gladly teche.

lamp-1665149_960_720

images are gratefully from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR comments and Stories!

Digging Out

capture

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” (Socrates)

I am in a reflective mood this November, month of the DESCENDER Archetype.  I am contemplating the last 24 year period of my life (two twelve year cycles).

It has not been all roses, yet it has been lesson bearing, gradually progressive and illuminating in many respects.

How much to share? (This piece derives from a journaling exploration rather than being a direct blog post per se, so I will cull from the larger journaling reflections to share what I can).

I encourage you to similarly “sink into reflection” this month, to ALLOW your Descender to show you a way to DIG OUT from encrusted patterns or routines.

stock-photo-the-winding-road-of-tianmen-mountain-national-park-hunan-province-china-398393665

Many Good Times

With the freedom I have had at work and in my personal life as a single professional, writer, cleric, sister/daughter, and friend/ pet companion, I have accomplished much of what I have set my goals to manifest. I truly am Living My Dream, Now! in the process of preparing my book for the public, a work of love (Your Life Path), finally for publication. I realize that Living Your Dream IS a PROCESS, not a single snapshot sort of destination. I have been able to do this “my way” in most respects, so I am deeply grateful for the freedom and for the inspiration of those who most understand and have supported my work and feelings through the years.

Some Not So Good Times

I have no regrets though a deep sadness regarding relationships that have not been sustained over time. Loss has affected me more deeply than I outwardly acknowledge, and physical ailments are beginning to crop up that reflect my submerged feelings. Stress is a byproduct of living in this day and age, it seems, though I am grateful for spiritual practices and inner spiritual guidance I have been fortunate to have learned  to tune into and receive that have sustained my optimism despite necessary setbacks along the way.

Abundant Life Lessons

My life has been Sooo rich and abundant in lessons: daily, over time, and in the Moment. While developing a self-discovery, personal growth program (to be shared soon with the upcoming book), I have piloted first for myself every self-help technique or Tool that I will share there, so I have benefitted greatly every step of the way.

I have gained many life Lessons about service. Leadership does not come without personality conflicts and sometimes having to take steps I would personally rather not have to have taken that have affected other peoples’ lives. But I have been learning about the Law of Balance and about the importance of Patience and Detachment.

stars-1153815__180

 

COMING FULL CIRCLE

As I prepare to shift soon away from my professional academic job into a sabbatical this Spring and then “retirement” (read, graduation from Academe!) just one year later, I feel excited and am ready to launch a promotion campaign for the book and initiate a next Life Chapter as an author and workshop presenter, and to return to my Home base nearer my family to live in a lovely lakeside community.

It seems most of the big shifts throughout my life have come with “Crossing the Great Waters” or relocating. This goes back to early family life as my father relocated many times from job transfers. I guess I learned then that growth comes with change. I learned as a youth to anticipate a Big Move by reflecting on current conditions and planning positive change to implement with the move; so, this truly does represent one more stage of Coming Full Circle.

fountain-1642204__180

images are from pixabay.com

I am grateful for ALL, and TO all who have been friends and family and coworkers along the way. Life EXPANDS as we do in states of consciousness, so I welcome this expansion and wish everyone else the same freedom, sense of responsibility, and love as I have been blessed to enjoy.