Tag Archives: Jung

Elaborate Masks

via Daily Prompt: Elaborate

J and J IMG_7191.jpg

An elaborate Renaissance Ball Mask. The masks were elaborate, but so was the ruse, an attempt to create mystery and tension, the possiblility of romance or illicit liasion. The masquerade was a feature of carnival season of 15th century Europe. In time masks became works of art. They were made of diferent materials, and bejeweled, like the one in the photo.

The masks we put on every day are not bejeweled, but they are clever, intricate, and very elaborate. If you want to read an early understanding the human mask, then Shakespeare is the one to read, and in particular, the ‘Taming of the Shrew.’ Psychologically, masks are a form of protection, we tend to mask anger, grief, anxiety, fear, a sense of failure, feeling like a fraud, needing to be the hero, the great intellect, and so on.

I have worked with people who use humour to mask what they perceive in themselves as a lack of sophistication. Others have thrown around biting sarcasm in order to keep others at bay. Some it is fear of success, so they play the incompetent. I have had the experience of never really knowing someone, at a funeral once I heard so much about someone I thought I knew, only to discover they had protected so much of their lives from public scrutiny, a compartmentalising. On another ocassion, when I was going through a difficult time, some said “I thought you had it all together” (like, really!!).

If we’re angry we may resort to condemnation, if we are grieving we might project happiness or amusement, anything but what we’re really feeling. That might be important at certain points in our lives, a boundary. But when it becomes avoidance, deception, fear, then we risk burying our true selves and others may never really know us. Even to the point that well entrenched masks become who we are. The question is, what are we trying to hide and why?

Jung developed the idea of the persona, the person we wanted others to know as ourselves, but not our true self.

I love this unattributed quote: “She threw away all of her masks, and put on her soul.”

That says it all. To dispense with the lie, the deception, which is really self-deception at best, the fear, and embrace our true selves, the raw self, the truly beautiful self. Created, bejeweled physical masks can be creations of great beauty. But the one who lives their true self, nothing could be more beautiful. We often use the phrase “warts and all”, meaning even our less good parts can be seen, our less succesful, less socially acceptable selves can be seen, yet this is healthy. The first step on the road of recovery is to know that we are never going to be perfect. And once we let go the ego, then masks become redundant because there is nothing to protect.

To put on our soul is to let go and find the juice of our lives and let that flow.

When we put on our soul, we are truly beautiful.

Hiding in layers
the weapons of deception
my real is naked

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

4 Comments

Filed under art, creativity, Haiku, history, life, love, mindfulness, poetry, psychology, quote

Chiron’s Parallel Process

via Daily Prompt: Parallel

IMG_0893.JPG

The sort of parallel lines that matter to me. I’ve long held a passion for railways, and as a child loved following train tracks, I still do. This photo was taken at Dwellingup, at Hotham Valley Tourist Railway.

There’s a lot of talk today in therapy and social work circles about parallel process. Carl Jung coined the term to explain that those who take up psychotherapy and counselling do so because they have faced pain in their own lives. Jung turned to Greek mythology to help define what he meant. He used the myth of Chiron.

Chiron (if you remember) was the child born by the union of kronus and the nymph Philyra. Kronos was out looking for his son Zeus and he encountered Philyra and lusted after her. Philyra was having none of it and changed into a mare in order to escape. But Kronos changes into a stallion and overtakes her. Kronos rapes Philyra and departs, the result of this union is Chiron, a centaur. Philyra rejects the child. So the child Chiron is abandoned by both his parents. But Apollo adopts Chiron. Apollo (god of music, poetry, healing) taught Chiron everything he knew, and Chiron became a mentor to many.

Chiron became friends with Hercules, which was unusual because Hercules was always fighting with the Centaurs. One day in a skirmish, Hercules accidentally wounds Chiron in the knee. The arrows Hercules had used caused a would that would never heal (they were dipped in the blood of Hydra), and for an immortal like Chiron, this was an eternal would, a would never to heal. Hercules and Chiron work out how to end it, Chiron must become a mortal and die, so Chiron does by trading places with Prometheus. In death Chiron was rewarded for his deeds with the constelation Centaurus.

Jung was referring to the pain of Chiron’s abandonment as leading him to be such a great and understanding mentor for so many. In a clinical sense the term refers to how there is sometiems a similarity betwen the client’s and the therapist’s situations. Because they are similar, thus parallel. Sometimes the therapist may not realise and sometimes the therapist may erroneously beleive that what worked for their situation should work for the client and they may risk becoming directive.

For the rest of us it may be helpful when we are simply sharing, to note what comes up for us, and like Chiron, to find ways of reaching out to those we know and love, and to find ways of compassionately journeying with them, reflectively listening, and holding the space for them to speak and unburden. There’s nothing greater than love, especially offering non-judgmental love, and being able to share doubts, anxieties, joys and hopes. People around us may be in similar experience or situation, and though it is never the same, and though we must never be directive, we can all be there for each other and hold the space knowing we need that too, and knowing we can, in the end be part of the healing process by sharing our stories with them. And we all have something to share. In that sense we are wounded healers, helping others and ourselves to find healing through our woundedness.

As Irving Yalom says: “We are fellow travellers in our pain and joy.” 

Paul,

pvcann.com

4 Comments

Filed under Country, history, life, mindfulness, Mythology, Trains

Disrupt Yourself

via Daily Prompt: Disrupt

There’s a whole movement out there that began a few years ago. Some names you may be familiar with are Jay Samit or Whitney Johnson, their TEDx Talks are well known in business circles. These talks on disrupting yourself are mostly applied in the context of marketing, designing, entrepreneurship, or general business leadership. Kate Canales, another TEDx presenter, does give another slant (and with good humour too), that the change we bring to our lives is indicative of potential in all areas of our lives.

Disrupting ourselves is not simple, we are creatures of habit. Who enjoys change? (Well, actually I do, mostly) Most people find they enjoy routines and patterns, I must confess I find many routines deadening. Though it is true to say, no one could sustain unrelenting change, that would equate to chaos, nihilism. Research shows we used to enjoy set television viewing patterns, now we choose online, delay or download. Work used to revolve around set timetables. Study was a regime or intent. Some of these things have been disrupted as technology has changed how we work and study, and whether we watch Netflix or still hire DVDs or watch TV. Over Fifty years there has been a dramatic shift in values and expectations, rights, and social behaviour. Point is, we are often forced to change, we rarely choose to change. The point Canales is making is, we will be presented with opportunities of all sorts for innovation and change, but what will we do?

Canales and others are simply trying to encourage us to look at ourselves and to be prepared to take those chances and risks that are at our core – our passions, driving force, creativity, desire, gift, and go for it. Must we wait for change to be forced?

When we disrupt ourselves, we break patterns and routines, past mind maps and the like, we set ourselves free. A sobering quote I’ve loved for years says it well: “A rut is a grave with the ends kicked out.” (attributed to Earl Nightingale) Life is to be embraced, engaged, and lived into in all the mess we are and all the potential we offer. When was the last tine you made a change in your life?

But perhaps disruption and change are not what they seem anyway. Carl Jung said: “In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” This was popularised through Chaos Theory, that all disorder has an explanation. And isn’t that why we say, “It was meant to be” when strange or unplanned things happen, recognising that there is indeed something ordered even in disruptions, changes, or chaos? Isn’t that why we say “It’s a crazy world” recognising we don’t have complete power over everything? If there is no default control switch, no default pattern, what are you waiting for?? Disrupt yourself and set a new course.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

11 Comments

Filed under creativity, life, mindfulness, Philosophy/Theology, quote, self-development