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Episode 55 - Identifying & Integrating the Personal Shadow

This Jungian Life

Release Date: 04/18/2019

EPISODE 213 - VOCATION: Answering the Call show art EPISODE 213 - VOCATION: Answering the Call

This Jungian Life

Vocation, once associated with serving God through service to others, is now most strongly associated with a career having personal worth. Vocation spans a range of needs and values:  commitment to making ends meet, striving for material rewards and social status, or the more internal satisfaction of research, helping others, and artistic expression. Freud considered love and work the cornerstones of our humanness, and Jung said, “In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.” A discernment process...

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Episode 212 - THE PRODIGAL SON as Shadow, Ego & the Self show art Episode 212 - THE PRODIGAL SON as Shadow, Ego & the Self

This Jungian Life

Jung interpreted religious traditions from the viewpoint of their psychological significance. The allegorical tale of the Prodigal Son illustrates Jung’s basic understanding of the structure and development of the psyche. The young prodigal epitomizes shadow qualities of ignorance, arrogance, and impetuousness. His dissolute indulgences show a lack of ego strength and land him in a pigsty. Repentant, he returns to his father’s estate, hoping for servant work. Instead, his father celebrates his homecoming. At this joyful reception, the older brother is aghast; he has been dutiful yet never...

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SHADOWLAND: DETRANSITION – THE STORY OF BETH show art SHADOWLAND: DETRANSITION – THE STORY OF BETH

This Jungian Life

Beth underwent gender transition from natal female to trans male and has since de-transitioned. In her early teens, Beth felt she was not like other women and began to question her gender. She saw people who were nonconforming, but although she adopted a non-binary identity in college, people still saw her as a woman. Beth became drawn to a masculine identity and associated transitioning gender with empowerment: she would be free from the perceived social constraints and physical vulnerabilities of womanhood. Beth’s parents, the therapist she saw a few times, and the surgeon all affirmed her...

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Episode 210 - Causal or Creative: Is History Destiny? show art Episode 210 - Causal or Creative: Is History Destiny?

This Jungian Life

The Roman god Janus had two faces. They looked in opposite directions, representing dualities, especially beginnings and endings, past and future. Psychotherapy often begins by facing the past and understanding its influence on the present. Belief in the past as unalterably determinative, however, can imply that personal history is a single, all-powerful god—as if Janus fixed on yesterday. Jung took special interest in psyche’s purposive and creative energy—the face Janus turned toward the future. Incarnating our innate potential, which Jung termed the individuation process, is the...

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Episode 209 - THE GETHSEMANE ENCOUNTER show art Episode 209 - THE GETHSEMANE ENCOUNTER

This Jungian Life

The Garden of Gethsemane is the place of life crisis; it permits no escape or compromise. There, we suffer the agony of choosing between personal will or willing submission to something greater. Jesus’ companions could not stay awake, and God did not answer his prayers to be spared. We suffer dark and harrowing Gethsemanes alone. We may have to give up familiarity and safety for the unprecedented and unpredictable. We may ache from anguish and abandonment. Yet, to surrender voluntarily and consciously is to bow to a greater truth and yield to a higher power. In doing so, we transcend...

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Episode 208 - MORAL INJURY: Violation of Meaning show art Episode 208 - MORAL INJURY: Violation of Meaning

This Jungian Life

Moral injury violates our sense of justice, loyalty, and meaning—and creates a storm in the soul. Those who directly affect others’ lives are most at risk of suffering irreconcilable conflicts between behavior and belief: military, police, medical, educational, and other human service providers. The purported “cost of doing business” also calls us to confront institutional shadow--moral injury does not belong to the individual alone. The integrity of organizational and community values plays an important part in condoning morally distressing situations—and should play a role in...

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Bonus Episode - Jung & Freud: From “Bro” to Broken show art Bonus Episode - Jung & Freud: From “Bro” to Broken

This Jungian Life

We welcome Jungian colleague, psychiatrist, and historian Dr. Bert Price, whose research in Vienna during a 2019 international conference led to the discovery of new facts regarding the famous friendship—and break-up—of Jung and Freud. Following lively correspondence, the two men met in Vienna and talked for 13 hours. They continued over the next three days, and after attending the Wednesday night meeting of Freud’s Vienna circle, took a “spirited” walk to a tattoo parlor, stirred by the mythic significance of “marking" their newfound bond.  The tattoo artist, Stefan Otto, was...

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Episode 207 - Hunting: An Archetypal Perspective show art Episode 207 - Hunting: An Archetypal Perspective

This Jungian Life

To hunt is to engage the opposites: the hunter must attune and align with nature in order to kill part of it. According to mythographer Joseph Campbell, “the basic hunting myth is of a kind of covenant between the animal world and the human world.” Myth and rituals of sympathy, sacrifice, and gratitude honor the age-old bond between man and animal: one dies so the other may live. If the hunter imposes will alone, hunting becomes ego dominance--sport or slaughter. In traversing the realms from human culture to nature’s archaic terrain, the huntsman echoes and honors the relationship...

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Episode 206 - FAILURE as TEACHER show art Episode 206 - FAILURE as TEACHER

This Jungian Life

We first encounter failure in learning to walk—we fall down, the root definition of failure. Coming up short is a lifelong experience that stretches from mishaps and lapses to shock waves that shake our lives. Failure can make us doubt our worth, shatter certainties, and fill us with shame. Failure punctures ego’s false sense of sovereignty. When we are out of alignment with inner or outer life, a gap opens, and we fall victim to ambition, misjudgment, or impulsivity. Failure is a call to self-confrontation, humility, and resilience. We can recognize the limits of our conscious attitude...

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Episode 205 - CAUGHT IN THE CONFLICT: The Tension of Opposites show art Episode 205 - CAUGHT IN THE CONFLICT: The Tension of Opposites

This Jungian Life

Holding the tension between opposites was one of Jung’s foundational precepts. Although contradictory views are often a better witness to truth than one-sided conviction, beliefs and decisions often serve to relieve ambiguity, anxiety, and threat. Jung says, “The ego keeps its integrity only if it does not identify with one of the opposites, and if it understands how to hold the balance between them. This is possible only if it remains conscious of both at once. However, the necessary insight is made exceedingly difficult not by one’s social and political leaders alone but also by...

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More Episodes

The personal shadow is created as a normal part of development, as we learn what behaviors, values and feelings are not acceptable in our family, school, or religious tradition. In order to be accepted by needed significant others, parts of ourselves have to be split off from consciousness and are therefore relegated to the unconscious as shadow. A major part of becoming more whole is discovering these exiled parts of ourselves and integrating the feelings they carry. Deb, Lisa and Joseph discuss some of the ways that shadow can be confronted and given a place at the table of consciousness.

 

The Dream:

I’m in my Dad’s wood shop, in the basement of the home where I grew up. I need to unscrew a panel on a metal box, and I’m finding the right screwdriver. The first one I pick up is too small, Mom hands me a better-sized one, a Phillips head with four fins. Somehow it is a very large size, and I notice the fins on the head are rusty. I sand away some of the rust on one of the fins, but when I come to the second, it is covered in masking tape. Instead of peeling off the tape, I try to sand away the masking tape, but the sandpaper continues to sand into the screwdriver fin itself, which is somehow made of corrugated cardboard. I am puzzled. I feel a pit in my stomach, like I’ve made a mistake. I find that only the first of the four fins is made of metal, the rest are cardboard. I “undo” (like you would on a computer) to get back to where I was after sanding the metal fin. The cardboard fins are intact again and I’m relieved. I then unscrew and open the panel of the box.