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Why Do We Push People Away? Understanding our Defenses

This Jungian Life

Release Date: 09/28/2023

THE VITAL SPARK: Reclaim Your Outlaw Energies and Find Your Feminine Fire. show art THE VITAL SPARK: Reclaim Your Outlaw Energies and Find Your Feminine Fire.

This Jungian Life

 Deep in each of us, a Vital Spark fights to free us and set us back on the path.  Lisa, Joe, and Deb were joined by more than 300 audience members for their first-ever live podcast to celebrate the launch of Lisa's new book, The Vital Spark: Reclaim Your Outlaw Energies and Find Your Feminine Fire.  The "Vital Spark" is the core essence of our innermost fiery qualities—creative aggression, fiery sexuality, emboldened disagreeableness, sharp-witted trickery, burning desire, clearsighted shrewdness, empowering anger, and bold authority—that fuel creativity, assertiveness,...

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UNREQUITED LOVE: Can Eros be revived? show art UNREQUITED LOVE: Can Eros be revived?

This Jungian Life

When we offer our heart and it is refused, even the gods become angry.  One day long, long ago, Aphrodite was a new mother. Her son, Eros, was the living symbol of her endless passion for his father, Aries. Despite her divine gifts, Eros failed to thrive. Desperate, she brought the goblet to the ancient mother, Themis, who knew the boy was dying at once. Aphrodite was instructed to bear a second child who, when presented to Eros, would cure him. Dutifully, she lay with Aries and begot a second son. She brought them close and was astonished to see her new son leap toward Eros, who met him...

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THE LAST AWAKENING: Death Anxiety and Its Role in Psychological Transformation show art THE LAST AWAKENING: Death Anxiety and Its Role in Psychological Transformation

This Jungian Life

How do the varied human experiences, beliefs, and practices related to death and dying illuminate our understanding of life's meaning and help us face the end of life with peace and a spirit of adventure? The death instinct (Thanatos) and the life instinct (Eros) symbolize the internal conflict between self-destructive urges and desires for creation, reflecting the psychological struggle with mortality. Religious traditions across the globe, from Buddhism's focus on impermanence to Christianity's belief in eternal life, offer diverse approaches to mitigating the fear of death, demonstrating...

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SPEAKING TRUTH: Is it Venom or a Cure? show art SPEAKING TRUTH: Is it Venom or a Cure?

This Jungian Life

How do we navigate the complex interplay between personal truths, societal norms, and psychological well-being to foster individual growth and societal progress? We examine the multifaceted nature of Truth and its impact on individuals and communities. We touch on the challenges of speaking Truth to power, the psychological dynamics of scapegoating and being disbelieved, the role of psychotherapy in uncovering and dealing with personal truths, and the significance of narrative and perception in shaping our understanding of reality. We underscore the importance of discerning and integrating...

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Promethean Inflation: Will our creations destroy us? show art Promethean Inflation: Will our creations destroy us?

This Jungian Life

Are we inadvertently summoning forces beyond our control in our relentless pursuit of innovation and progress? Can we harness the power of our creations without unleashing terrible consequences upon ourselves and our world?  Prometheus and his brother, Epimetheus, were tasked by Zeus with fashioning all living creatures. They granted animals remarkable abilities - feathers for flight, claws, fangs for hunting, tails for balance, and gills to breath underwater. When it came to humans, they had no gifts left. Still, Prometheus loved his human creations and daringly stole fire from Olympus...

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Kelly Bulkeley: Is Dreaming the Source of Spirituality? show art Kelly Bulkeley: Is Dreaming the Source of Spirituality?

This Jungian Life

How do dreams influence and reflect our spiritual beliefs and experiences across different cultures and historical periods, and what does scientific research reveal about this relationship? Kelly Bulkeley, PhD, is a global expert on dreaming and the psychology of religion.  We explore his latest book "The Spirituality of Dreaming: Unlocking the Wisdom of Our Sleeping Selves." Dreams universally function as essential gateways to spiritual understanding, a truth echoed across cultures and eras. Modern sleep and dream research confront and expand upon the traditional views revealing a more...

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DIVORCE: How can heartbreak lead to transformation? show art DIVORCE: How can heartbreak lead to transformation?

This Jungian Life

How does the experience of divorce lead to personal transformation and self-discovery? The journey of divorce is emblematic of a profound personal transformation, often unveiling the paradoxical nature of human relationships where deep trust and love coexist with the potential for betrayal and disillusionment, reflecting the intrinsic human struggle between connection and individuality. This individuation process during and after divorce constellates a metamorphosis, where confronting the shadows of a broken relationship becomes a gateway to self-discovery, self-acceptance, and a deeper...

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Three Jungians on Psychedelics: Is Tripping a Valid Path of Self-Discovery? show art Three Jungians on Psychedelics: Is Tripping a Valid Path of Self-Discovery?

This Jungian Life

How can combining psychedelics and Jungian psychology enhance our understanding of psyche? Psychedelics may help us access deep layers of the unconscious, revealing aspects of psyche that are often inaccessible through traditional psychoanalytic methods alone. Jungian analysis, with its focus on archetypes and the collective unconscious, provides a framework for interpreting and integrating the complex, symbolic experiences often encountered in psychedelic states. The combination of psychedelics and analysis could facilitate a more profound and holistic healing process, addressing not only...

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FANNY BREWSTER: How can dreams bridge us to ancestors? show art FANNY BREWSTER: How can dreams bridge us to ancestors?

This Jungian Life

Jung's concept of the collective unconscious emphasized the universal psychological substrate common to all humans. While he acknowledged the effects of the cultural unconscious, his work, at times, fell into the trap of perpetuating oversimplified and racially prejudiced stereotypes. Jung's writings that refer to Africanist peoples, in particular, suffer from offensive assumptions. Dr. Fanny Brewster, Jungian analyst and author, searches for the healing cultural elements in the dreams of the African diaspora. Dreams have always been important in traditional African cultures. In Zimbabwe, the...

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SOLSTICE: Why is the longest night so magickal? show art SOLSTICE: Why is the longest night so magickal?

This Jungian Life

Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, calls us to brood and turn within. Retreating to the unconscious is a psychic wintering, calling our life force down into our archaic patterns. It can trigger a sorrowing that helps us adjust to inevitable losses, just like the forest that silently drops its foliage without lament. At the nadir of darkness, light is reborn, and each successive day grows longer. Ancient and modern rituals celebrate the light’s triumph over darkness. No matter our background, attunement to light is woven into our bodies, for we are all part of the cosmic...

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Defense mechanisms function as unconscious psychological strategies we deploy to navigate reality and sustain a consistent self-image. They act as a shield, guarding against feelings of anxiety, shame, and vulnerability. They are feeling states that prompt us to avoid contact and trick us into thinking they protect us against emotional harm.

Ancient philosophers recognized the human tendency to evade uncomfortable truths. In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, he vividly depicts individuals shackled in a cave, seeing only shadows and illusions. Upon being freed and confronted with the light (truth), some retreat to the familiar darkness, unable to bear the illumination of reality. Aristotle wrote about akrasia, which meant a weakness of will that drives one to act against their better judgment, in essence, rejecting reality as unbearable. The stoic philosopher Epictetus noted that people have fantasies of controlling external events and directing them inward to choose how they respond instead.

Defenses are affective states that can interfere with our clear, reality-based functioning. They may be complex reactions that muddy our perception of reality, effectively shielding us from feelings or knowledge we find intolerable. They can take the form of denial, regression, rationalization, and even altruism. These are not merely intellectual barriers; they are emotional walls that can keep us from connecting with our own experiences and the people around us.

The most common inner conflicts arise from thwarting our instincts. These foundational systems generate intense feelings to guide us. Jung identified multiple instincts: creativity, reflection, activity, sexuality, and hunger. He added the religious instinct to describe how humans naturally generate symbolic systems to link their waking state to the deep unconscious. Freud detailed the multiple symptoms that arise from repressed sexuality, from phobias to hysterical blindness. Jung agreed but understood that thwarting any one of our natural responses would rob us of vitality and distort our adaptation to reality.

Cultural expectations, individual trauma, religious demands, and family patterns can convince our waking personality that any one of our instincts is dangerous. When we are overwhelmed by these inner conflicts, we will likely deploy primal defenses like dissociation or acting out. If we can find a more adaptive stance, we will likely intellectualize the conflict or even find it humorous. The goal is not to banish all defenses; we need to manage our exposure to the intensity of life but to discover self-management strategies that allow us to remain effective even under stress.

A COPY OF THE DREAM IS HERE

MEET LISA IN COLUMBUS OHIO on October 13 & 14, 2023: The Power of Dreamwork – Friday Night Lecture (October 13 from 7 to 8:30 PM) and Saturday Workshop (October 14 from 9:30 AM to Noon): CLICK HERE.

UNLOCK THE SECRETS OF YOUR DREAMS: Dream School provides a gently paced program with live interactive webinars, an uplifting online community, thought-provoking audio modules, and guided journaling to deepen your experience. Lisa, Deb, and Joe crafted the program with you in mind and companion you through the process. “Step-by-step, we’ll teach you how to interpret your dreams.” Join the revolution of consciousness! Join Dream School and Transform Your Sleep into the Greatest Adventure of Your Life: CLICK HERE

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