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Episode 112 - Midlife Crisis: Renewal or Stagnation

This Jungian Life

Release Date: 05/21/2020

Episode 135 - Horror: Why Can’t We Look Away? show art Episode 135 - Horror: Why Can’t We Look Away?

This Jungian Life

The hair on the back of our necks bristles in response to the horrors of the uncanny. Transfixed by shock, awe, dread and fascination, we can neither dare the dangerous darkness nor turn away. The mysteries of the unknown take us into realms of transgression and taboo.

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Episode 134 - When Despair Prevails: Facing Suicidal Darkness show art Episode 134 - When Despair Prevails: Facing Suicidal Darkness

This Jungian Life

There are few more painful thoughts or frightening events than suicide, a phenomenon unique to the human species. Depression, rage, and powerlessness can overwhelm ego functions, leading someone to believe that escaping life is the only option. Affects of archetypal proportions can act like tsunamis in the psyche. What can help?

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Episode 133 - Adaptation: Meeting Life’s Demands show art Episode 133 - Adaptation: Meeting Life’s Demands

This Jungian Life

The world is the canvas on which we paint our lives. Through this lifelong work, we express personal vision, develop skills, and come to terms with the realities of our outer and inner worlds. The first major stage of adaptation, the transition from child to adult, requires readiness to separate from protective life structures in pursuit of outer world goals.

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Episode 132 - Neurosis: Befriending Our Broken Places show art Episode 132 - Neurosis: Befriending Our Broken Places

This Jungian Life

Although neurosis is no longer a clinical diagnosis, it is often used to describe anxious attitudes and behaviors that are maladaptive to life situations. Neurosis often entails a capacity to function well despite feeling bad; emotional suffering leeches ease and pleasure from life. A neurotic symptom—a phobia, compulsion, or addictive tendency—is no different from a dream.

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Episode 131 - Curiosity: The Inner Engine of Change show art Episode 131 - Curiosity: The Inner Engine of Change

This Jungian Life

We celebrate curiosity’s role in discovery, and regret its potential for damage. Mature curiosity demands that we embrace the confusion, doubt and anxiety inherent in engaging new ideas and complex problems. Social curiosity requires discernment: are we genuinely and empathically interested in others, or simply indulging voyeurism via social media?

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Episode 130 - Sacred Symptoms: How the Numinous Heals show art Episode 130 - Sacred Symptoms: How the Numinous Heals

This Jungian Life

Jung states “the main interest of my work is not concerned with the treatment of neurosis but rather with the approach to the numinous…the real therapy. In as much as you attain to the numinous experiences you are released from the curse of pathology.” Jung defines numinous as “a dynamic agency or effect not caused by an arbitrary act of will” that conveys a mysterious yet deeply meaningful message.

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Episode 129 - At Home in Our Bodies: Incarnation & Individuation show art Episode 129 - At Home in Our Bodies: Incarnation & Individuation

This Jungian Life

Jung teaches that soul and spirit have a home in a living body, the font of psyche’s images and means of their incarnation in the world. Embodiment is the ground of being, and engaging the tension between instinct and archetype shapes consciousness and character. Jung identified five instincts: creativity, movement, sexuality/eros, hunger in its many manifestations, and the ability to reflect and make meaning.

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Episode 128: Intuition: Non-Rational Knowing show art Episode 128: Intuition: Non-Rational Knowing

This Jungian Life

We all have intuitive experiences, from an occasional hunch to powerful gut feelings. Unconscious intelligence is a storehouse of instincts and wisdoms humankind has accumulated over millennia. We would be lost without intuition and give importance to warnings and inspirations that saved or made the day.

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Episode 127 - Seeking Certainty: The Seduction of Conspiracy Theories show art Episode 127 - Seeking Certainty: The Seduction of Conspiracy Theories

This Jungian Life

In times of uncertainty truth is hard to discern, collective cohesion frays, and social factions become embattled. Unmediated shadow then seeks expression through the archetypal realm and takes on extra-ordinary attributes. Persecutory mythologies arise, for big psychic situations need big stories to compensate for big feelings of anxiety, powerlessness, and marginalization.

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Episode 126 - The Money Complex: Incarnating Our Dreams show art Episode 126 - The Money Complex: Incarnating Our Dreams

This Jungian Life

Money reflects our shadows and strengths as much as our bank accounts. Like Hermes, money traverses the realms from Hades to Heaven--money can be a matter of survival, and money can turn dreams into realities. Because money represents value we can acquire, exchange, and store, it can become conflated with our value as persons.

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Jung was particularly interested in the second half of life, perhaps because after his own midlife crisis he found himself so surprisingly generative. We tend to spend the first half of life oriented to familial values and cultural norms for success. 

 

Education, work, partnering and child rearing are some of the mile markers for speed and distance on the road of life—until midlife strikes. We may then discover that worldly successes feel flat, or blame discontent on bad breaks. 

 

Although dramatic lifestyle changes at midlife are the stuff of story, malaise at the midpoint is psyche’s signal to attend to unlived inner life. It is time for meaningful encounter between ego and unconscious, worldly rewards and true fulfillment, obligation and freedom. Midlife crisis is a call to deepened feeling and the unique meaning of your life.  

 

 

Dream

 

I am walking with a group of my "clients" (developmentally disabled people). I have to work to keep the group together as some straggle here and there. I'm responsible for their well being so onward we go. I look on the ground/sidewalk and see a small round brown object which looks like a tree nut. I pick it up and upon closer inspection realize that it is of animal nature rather than plant - and alive. As I hold it in the palm of my hand, it morphs into a tiny creature, tinier than my pinky finger. I can't just leave it there so I slip it into my pocket and keep walking, trying to keep my rag-tag group together. 

 

After a while I look into my pocket to check on it and it has grown some and looks a bit like a fetal kitten. It looks unwell and I think it might not live. We continue to walk. The third time I look into my pocket, the creature has turned into a baby bird with black, red, and white feathers. The bird is in tremendous suffering with its stomach cut open and a look of horror, pain and grief on it's face. I feel these emotions too and think, "Oh no! It's going to die.” I keep it in my pocket and try to soothe it, but still we keep on walking. 

 

Toward the end of our escapade, I look into my pocket a fourth time. This time the bird is fully grown and leaps out, startling me. Now the bird is pure white, luminous with three round feathers on slim stalks atop its head. Among its body feathers are multicolored zinnia flowers sprouting along with the feathers. It hops into a landscape planter along the sidewalk and establishes itself amid the vegetation. 

 

I back away in shock, completely amazed. I pull out my cell phone to try to take a picture of it but can't because a survey keeps popping up on the screen of my phone, preventing me from using the camera. I curse and search my bag for another phone and finally do manage to snap a pic, but I still don't know what to make of it.