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Finding Meaning…

April 11, 2007

All my life I have been too serious, too sensitive, too emotional, too direct, too pushy, too driven, too… too… too… What if I am exactly what I am supposed to be? What if all my painful experiences and all my loves and all my successes and all my failures are just what I needed to find meaning in the second half of life and to finally, REALLY grow up?

For the first time in my life, I feel I am enough. I accept myself and see my strengths. I believe I have intrinsic value. I am able to hear the negative self-chatter and listen – and let it drift away. I am able to embrace with compassion the parts of me that are still unconscious and hidden from me. In this intense period of descent, groping blindly in Inanna’s underworld, I have found many lost parts of me. Pieces that I gladly gave to Procrustes so that the people who loved me wouldn’t leave me. Yet they still left me. My father left me. He died. I miss him so much it hurts.

Tears spring to my eyes knowing that even though I willingly stuffed those parts into the “long bag we drag behind us” and as an adult understand the necessity of those losses as part of the civilization and maturation and development that we all go through, it still just plain hurts sometimes to realize how much I left behind.

I find myself weeping today for my sweet sixteen self. I found some pieces of her in the attic the other day and since then she has been just below the surface. As I talked to Salmon boy yesterday about my losses, I felt an exquisite tenderness toward her in a way that has never felt so immediate…

<excuse for a bit while I feel this sadness in my body – it sticks in my throat, then rises, then spills down my cheeks – leaving my throat tight>

<tears changing to laughter {dog comes running to see what is so darn funny} as I blow my nose! Tears, allergies, and the last of my cold mean that I am a free flowing fountain of messy wet tears and snot!>

Where were we?

I keep searching for the origin of this lack of reactivity that I feel recently. Even if I find it, it is just the final sand grain that defines the angle of repose before everything shifts and slips downslope. What is more valuable is the patient accumulation – grain by grain – that created the body of inner work that supports me in this moment.

What triggered me to write this post is passage from James Hollis‘s new book Why Good People Do Bad Things. He says:

We cannot, any longer, afford to disregard the power of the unconscious, nor its ubiquitous interruptions. Accordingly, we are obliged to approach the issue of the Shadow from the standpoint of depth psychology. Depth Psychology is thus called because of its effort to respect and to work with the dynamic powers of the unconscious. Most psychologies today skim the surface, treating behaviors, reinforcing ego strategies, and/or medicating – sometimes to good effect. But the persistent problems of our lives remain intractable, for the problem of really becoming ourselves far transcends the modification of our daily pathologies. As the twelve-step groups have it, what we resist will persist. The problem with the unconscious is that it is unconscious. We do not know what it is, or how it is working. The willingness to track its manifestations in our biographical patterns and in our compensatory dream life is quite demanding, and most people will simply not make the effort. So the sub-rosa work of their unconscious Shadow continues, whether they pay attention or not.

I hear this passage as an affirmation of the difficult work that I began when I listened to the Summons of the Soul in September, 2002. Most people simply will not make the effort. But there are some people who are too serious, too sensitive, too emotional, too direct, too pushy, too driven, too… too… too… I am one of those people. Today, I really, really, like myself.

May it be so for you too.

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One comment

  1. You make me begin really like my self, whoever said every jorney begins by a step.



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