Monthly Archives: June 2013

30 Days of Jung — Day 10: #Addiction #Morality #Psychology #Irony

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Day 10! I’ve made it 10 days! I’m a third underway! This is great! Today’s quote is like yesterday’s: simply good.

Welcome to Day 10 of “30 Days of Jung,” my series, wherein (soon, I will start repeating myself, like now) I take a famous quote of Carl G. Jung‘s and try to make sense or refute or invert or disembowel it or where I turn into a heaping pile of mush because of it in 1,000 words or less.

If you don’t know who Jung is, he formulated the theories of introverted and extroverted personalities, the stages of individuation, the basis of the “Meyers-Briggs” personality (INFJ / ESFJ, etc.) tests. He’s the “father” of modern-day psychoanalysis. In short, he’s a badass. But he’s dead, so he can’t be with us today.

“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism.”
C.G. Jung

Oy. Let’s get on this. End the count at 1,160.

Hello, my name is Molly and I’m an awarenessaholic with a specialization in tongue-biting and nag-suppression.

I try to be good about it. I don’t talk much about the lapses I see when other people become totally unaware: when they yell at traffic, yell at their kids, comment about how someone is dressed, or groan about something and then take a swig. I just take notes and learn. I’m no better; I groan about something and stomp around, grouse or hole up in my office and write about Jung. Sometimes I hop on the rowing machine or beat up our heavy bag. Usually, I try to just chill out though, let the moment pass.

Sometimes, I do get involved if it’s over the top as in the time I saw a woman rage on and physically abuse her three-year-old daughter for showing off her own belly button at the take-out line in a Red Robin restaurant. The little girl was clearly in pain and the mother was unconcerned. It felt like it was a habit. People in the room were visibly disturbed.

I was totally aware of what I was doing, in fact I was aware of the surge of adrenaline coursing through my body and amping up my larger muscles when I calmly approached her and said,

“Hey. Look at my face. Are you looking at me? Can you hear me? I’m a mom too. Please stop freaking on your kid, it’s just a belly button. If you do it again, I’ll do it to you and we’ll have ourselves a problem.”

Her response: “I’m a nurse, I know what I’m doing. I’m not hurting her.”

My response: “You’re a nurse? That’s supposed to impress me? Remind me to never need your medical expertise. Lighten your tone with your daughter and loosen your grip on her blanched forearm. Now.” She did what she was told and then she sneered at me. The toddler rubber her arm, looked at me and hugged her mother’s thigh.

After they left, a muslim woman came up to me later and told me she would pray for me because she wished I was there for her when she was that young girl and her mother slapped her across the face and into the next room. She showed me the scar on her cheek from the ring that cut her. I tensely smiled and nodded almost imperceptibly; I was was ready to rumble quite honestly, but I appreciated her prayers.

I used to be held that way by my mother. It hurt then and I can remember it now. My dear husband tried to stop me from walking into a parking lot one time by bracing my forearm and I almost flipped him. That’s when I realized: I better start paying attention to what I’m feeling. Then that’s when the awareness bus came and took me away to AwarenessLand, a fun-filled carnival experience for all people who would like to know better.

So thinking about that Red Robin incident: was I unaware when I decided to approach? Even my husband was going to say something, but he saw the cut of my jaw and the blaze in my eyes and knew I was going to say something after the third time the mother slapped the child on the top of her blonde head. For my husband, it was a matter of preventing a cat fight.

So I try not to be the morality police; I try to let people make their own mistakes and not do unto others as I would have them do unto me, but … it’s hard. I don’t have all the answers, all I have is my experience and my perspective and I hope my wits. I’ve been on a therapeutic journey of late to better sync my emotional side with my intellectual side.

For years I thought everything, I did’t feel it. I rationalized and intellectualized so-called grievances and offenses and branded them as reasonable or not. That perspective gave me a quick albeit insufficient solution to what I perceived as major problems and once the problem was “solved” I filed it away.

The game changer for me came up when I was stuck: when I could not make my emotions agree with my thoughts. This happened about a year ago and the process to rewiring my emotional assessments with my logical appreciations has been exhausting but I’m seeing the payoff now. I’m not so stuck anymore and I can make assessments faster and act on them rather than wonder if what I was doing was “right” or “morally correct.”

When it comes to behavior and synthesis, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The one the works is the one which brings you clarity or peace.

So my “result” has been “morality” in the vein of “mindfulness” and “self-awareness.” Yes, I treat it like an Olympic sport sometimes, and I know it drives some people nuts. They ask me, “Why do you have to think so much about these things? Why can’t you just let this go?” but to me, I need a deeper appreciation. And it’s not so bad that to process it all, and I’ll tell you: I know when people are into it or they aren’t, but I have yet to find someone who isn’t interested in a conversation about being a better person. Sometimes I let it go… it will come back in another form (it always does) and maybe I’ll try it again.

I’ve known addicts of many stripes. They are all the same: they lie, they barter, they hide and cheat and steal to get a fix. I am a recovering addict of chaos. It sounds funny, but it’s true. I would create problems in order to solve them or have relationships with certain people (as a commenter said, “you can smell your own”) in order to stir up crap in my life so that I could be unhappy or troublesome and then complain about it or blame it on other things: I’m tired, I drank too much last night, she cut me off, he didn’t thank me…

I HAD NO CLUE. I have since cleared my life of all those people from my past when I was unconscious (what term “unhealthy”) and if there are still hangers-on, I have developed tools to help me deal because many people, even if they’re chaotic, have wonderful qualities too.

Have I made it my life’s mission to educate people on awareness? I can’t lie. I try whenever I can with my boys and whenever it’s welcome with others. But sometimes, it’s not welcome, and that’s when I’ve joined the “tongue-biters” club.

Thank you.

30 Days of Jung — Day 9: #Awareness #Discovery #Unconscious #Psychology

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THIS. This is why I’m still doing this series; this is why I started in the first place.

Welcome to Day 9 of “30 Days of Jung,” my series, wherein (soon, I will start repeating myself, like now) I take a famous quote of Carl G. Jung‘s and try to make sense or refute or invert or disembowel it or where I turn into a heaping pile of mush because of it in 1,000 words or less.

If you don’t know who Jung is, he formulated the theories of introverted and extroverted personalities, the stages of individuation, the basis of the “Meyers-Briggs” personality (INFJ / ESFJ, etc.) tests. He’s the “father” of modern-day psychoanalysis. In short, he’s a badass. But he’s dead, so he can’t be with us today.

My first exposure to Jung was in college, naturally, when I pronounced his name with the hard “J” sound; I also pronounced “Goethe” as “Goy-thee” and was summarily laughed out of English 101. I also pronounced “Tucson” as “Tuck-son” when I was little and was also laughed at by assholes scholars. Did I say that? Anyway, when I read Jung’s “What irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves” back in college, I was in. Jung, to me, was the one badass who was willing to Call People Out for their crap; he was like the “Oh Yeah?!” guy who you need just before a knife fight in a darkened city parking lot.

So today’s quote is this stuff, this heady stuff which is why I love Jung so much:

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
C.G. Jung

BOOM! Jung drops mic, walks off the stage.

End the count at 1,290.

I’m a woo-woo person; I like to believe that fate guides us. I also like to believe in free lunches, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and Cap’n Crunch. I know that the “I am where I am meant to be” mantra helps prevent overwhelming angst, but I also know that those concepts, while stress-relieving for the most part (and that’s where for me their benefit lies) are also … sort of … well sometimes a load of crap.

For example: My son has a guitar lesson. It’s a five-minute drive. I can choose to leave eight minutes ahead of the start time to give him a chancy 3-minute cushion (a segment of which I can blame on ill-fated -timed lights, a car accident, or a Kashi Go-Lean -filled little old lady who drives 15 miles per hour in a 40) while waiting for the lesson to start. Whatever the scenario, the choice is mine. I can continue to give me that possibly stressful 3-minutes, thereby making my son a nervous tic for the first ten minutes of his lesson or I can consciously decide to leave ten minutes early and get to the lesson several minutes early.

I know what I need to do. But here’s Jung hissing (’cause he’s dead) over my shoulder: “But what do you want to do?”

Another case in point: I’m a little hungry and I’m writing most of these posts 12 hours in advance and so just now, I wanted (unconsciously) to go eat a brownie, but as I approached, I actually felt the shift in my consciousness, and I chose a cheese stick and water instead. I heard myself say to myself, simply because I am writing this post, “Self, if I eat the brownie, I will regret it because it’s all sugar and I’ll be pissed later because it certainly won’t help me stay healthy.” So I growled at myself and got the cheese stick (pepper jack, thank you very much) and a big bottle of water and while I’m not exactly thrilled I chose against the tastier treat and I know that the cheese will satisfy me longer, I am psyched that I noticed the shift in my consciousness and chose the healthier option.

Basically this quote to me is the “prove it” quote. As far as I’m concerned. it only applies to adults, by the way. We all have stories. We all have suffering and we all have joys. What this quote means to me is that we have a choice, again. It also feels like it’s also about fear, again.

In order to grow up, pull up our big people panties and stop blaming “fate” for our lives, we need to wake the hell up and take stock of our lives and commit to living the best possible way we can. If we are asleep / unconscious, we continually focus on fate as being what we’d rather use as ammunition to blame our current predicament on (obesity, bad marriage, bad job, crappy relationships, parenting challenges, addiction, etc.).

Say there’s someone who complains about their second marriage and troubled relationships with kids and friends and that the lack of self-esteem is blamed on a crappy childhood and sexist parents and everyone else is the problem. Let’s say this person drinks a bottle of wine every day, during the afternoon with lunch, y’know, because we all do that, either with friends or alone and then more with the spouse at dinner despite it being against doctor’s orders. Add in some inappropriate emotionally adulterous relationships with other, much younger people even though the spouse is bending over backwards to give attention and by all accounts from this person, demonstrations of love and support, even if somewhat controlling (due to worry). This person continues to see the patterns, even suggests depression but stops therapy because it’s “too hard” and continues the obsessive bad habits and unhealthy relationships. These behaviors all sound like unconscious desperate attempts for attention because they are regardless of the interventions and psychiatric help. So one day I posit: “If you were reading about this person in People Magazine, what would you think? Does this story sound like someone who’s got it together or does it all sound a few DUIs and a custody battle away from a ‘LifeTime True Stories Original Movie’?”

The answer, “I know, but…”

So it continues. That person is unconscious and is calling this fate.

I shrug. If I’m not careful, my unconscious could take over and ignite my addiction to chaos (which I’ve written about extensively) and I’d be in the movie too. So I walk away.

Speaking of walking…

I just watched Nik Wallenda cross the Grand Canyon from 1,500 feet up on a tight wire that was two inches in diameter. It took him 22 minutes. Doing anything consistently for 22 minutes without a break is hard, I can’t imagine it on a tight wire in the wind. He was carrying a 45-lb, 30-foot-long beam held by a yoke across his shoulders. That dude? He wasn’t unconscious; he wasn’t calling this his “fate!” He was aware, focused, determined and quite connected –in every possible way– to the elements: he was aware of the wind, he was wearing leather booties, he was wearing skinny jeans (!?) and he was praying and praising Jesus like an Olde Tyme Preacher, but maaaan… he was conscious.

Do you think he blames “fate” for his ability to cross? Do you think he’s any different from me and you? Sure, he has tons of training, but other than that, he looks like any average American middle-aged man who’s spent his Saturdays at the ball park. He wasn’t a beach body, he wasn’t super tall or fabulously handsome. He wasn’t even charismatically fantabulous; he’d probably bore me to tears at a picnic, but:

THE DUDE HAS CHARACTER and consciousness. We all have that potential. We all can be conscious and take control of our lives and stop looking for things to blame, which until that day we choose otherwise, have been our main reason we might not be truly happy.

Thank you.

30 Days of Jung — Day 8: #Morality #Reason #Monkeymind

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I see this quote and I feel like shouting at dead Jung, “Hey, dead maverick psychologist: judge much?!”

Welcome to Day 8 of “30 Days of Jung,” my series, wherein (soon, I will start repeating myself, like now) I take a famous quote of Carl G. Jung‘s and try to make sense or refute or invert or disembowel it or where I turn into a heaping pile of mush because of it in 1,000 words or less.

If you don’t know who Jung is, he formulated the theories of introverted and extroverted personalities, the stages of individuation, the basis of the “Meyers-Briggs” personality (INFJ / ESFJ, etc.) tests. He’s the “father” of modern-day psychoanalysis. In short, he’s a badass. But he’s dead, so he can’t be with us today.

Here is today’s:

“The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.”
― C.G. Jung

End the post at 1195. Please.

I feel like this quote swings between sense and nonsense.

I suppose though it’s up to me to determine if I’m going to include a quote but I’m not going to be arbitrary. I’m taking this stuff as it comes.

Ok. Context. Let’s make some stuff up: nonsense.

Sense and nonsense: news reports. They tell us lots of stuff, most of it completely immaterial to our daily lives. They mostly report on what has already happened. If you watch the news where I live it goes like this:

“A newborn baby was discovered in the lion’s den at the National Zoo today; it was speaking in tongues, no one knew what it was trying to say; the baby was unharmed but the lion was hidden in the corner whimpering and shaking; anyone with knowledge of this baby is asked to let the lion know that it was nothing personal.”

Or

“A fire broke out today in the cotton candy district; firefighters struggled for hours to get the blaze under control; the Department of Public Works expects the town to be sticky and smell bad through Memorial Day weekend dampening the spirits of many Revolutionary War re-enactors.”

Really? I’m being a bit totally smug about this, but there’s not much we can do with the news that the news reports. To me, that’s nonsense. To watch the news is nonsense. To me.

Recycling: I do it. I don’t waver between sense and nonsense or right and wrong on this. It makes sense to me do what I can to assist in the slowing of our planet’s eventual death. This is verging on political (nonsense) so I will stop (sense).

I was watching a Discovery Channel show, “North America” today and they had a ranking of the top 10 best places for natural wonders on the continent. The Sequoia National Park was in the top three I think. I see those big old trees and I get totally emotional. I can’t explain it and I don’t think I need to. They are majestic — absolutely humbling and they deserve every ounce of our respect. Is that nonsense? Is that sense? Is that right? Is that wrong? I don’t obsess over it, but I care. I move on. I have Cap’n Crunch to eat after all.

Another snapshot: our health. Do you think about your health? Maybe thinking is the issue; maybe what Jung is getting on to is that when we think we don’t really act; maybe that’s the sense versus nonsense he’s talking about.

I know that when I think about my health, I look at all of it: genetics, what I can and can’t do or stop, what I need to get going on again, and whether it will make me healthier or at least keep me from getting less healthy. Is that nonsense? It’s sensical, right? Up to a point. Eventually, if I just talk about it, as I eat an entire box of Cap’n Crunch at once and then complain that the Cap’n three-stripe yellow bits in the cereal are manifesting on my midsection and my skin is taking on that creepy yellow Fritos glow then eventually even I want to slap myself with a spatula. Yesterday I complained; today I got on the ergometer and humiliated myself. I’m out of shape. But not for long.

What about conflicts with people? We can think and think ourselves to death about the conflict or we can take action. So I’m thinking that the perpetual thinking (the pendulum) is the nonsense; in order to make sense of it we must follow up with action? So in terms of conflict: I can think about my role in it; my ability to continue the role in it or my ability to say no more and make a choice. Then that choice must be followed by action.

Does it mean I’m right if I choose one way over another? No, it just means I’ve reached my limitations about something and I need to change course.

See, this is where this quote jacks me up. I see where the pendulum swinging can be a real drag; so what I think he’s talking about here, but it wasn’t included in the quote because enough people thought like everyone else and didn’t include any context is that action is what makes the difference. It goes back (as far as I’m concerned anyway) to Day 5 when Jung said that we are what we do, not what we say we will do.

I don’t feel as though there’s much more I can do with this quote. I feel as though our minds are mostly within our control; we can choose to be sensical or nonsensical. I find the latter to be annoying at times, but completely necessary in order for us to rest, rewire and recharge. What do I consider to be nonsense? “30 Rock”; “Bruce Almighty” any classic, old Looney Tunes cartoon involving Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Sylvester; “Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail”; “Tropic Thunder” a game of corn holes, a game of any kind. A run, a long run with my amazing dog who JUST THIS MOMENT stepped up to greet me with a wet nose on my forearm.

Murphy says it’s time to stop trying to make sense of this quote and I totally concur. The sky is partly cloudy today and it’s almost 80 degrees. Time for a walk. Time for some nonsense.

On a personal note, I hope you are enjoying this series. I do hope you’ll stick around because the next few quotes are HUM-DINGERS and naturally, I’ll be on vacation, so I’ll be “working” from the beaches of Canada. Yes, they have beaches in Canada. Maybe when I’m all done with it I can look back and see how I’ve changed some of my perceptions and if I still want to beat the crap out of poor Carl Jung.

Please comment! Argue with me! Tell me you like Chex cereal!

Thank you.

30 Days of Jung — Day 7: #Loneliness #Community #Isolation #Relationships #Fear

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I’m not thrilled with this quote; it’s surprising to me how all the readers who came across this quote ended up being of similar minds to vault it to #7, but they did; sometimes there’s no account for intellect at Goodreads.

Welcome to Day 7 of “30 Days of Jung,” my series, wherein (soon, I will start repeating myself, like now) I take a famous quote of Carl G. Jung‘s and try to make sense or refute or invert or disembowel it or where I turn into a heaping pile of mush because of it in 1,000 words or less.

If you don’t know who Jung is, he formulated the theories of introverted and extroverted personalities, the stages of individuation, the basis of the “Meyers-Briggs” personality (INFJ / ESFJ, etc.) tests. He’s the “father” of modern-day psychoanalysis. In short, he’s a badass. But he’s dead, so he can’t be with us today.

Here is today’s:

“Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.”
― C.G. Jung

Ok, let’s end the count at 1,220.

I had this whole long thing dedicated to this quote; close to 1,000 words and then I got in the hot tub.

I don’t know what to do with this one, honest.

History is full of people who’d probably been better off staying feeling lonely and keeping their important views to themselves.

Hilter.

Stalin.

Charles Manson.

Name a really old pope here.

Marie Antoinette.

Assad.

Orville Reddenbacker.

I threw in that last one to make sure you were still with me.

The point is, with these quotes I’m so far like this: “Hmmm. Ok. Think about it. Agree with it. Disagree with it. Wrestle with it. Hate it. Invert it. Love it. Cap’n Crunch. Done.”

With this one I’m like this: “What?! Who gives a patoot? History is full of …. ”

Here’s why I am where I am: I can’t feel sorry for anyone who decides to keep their views –radically dangerous or fantastically amazing– to themselves.

Jesus.

Magellan.

Edison.

Pasteur.

Newton.

Galileo.

Orville Reddenbacker.

They might be radical. They might be unique, but if they’d kept their thoughts to themselves, we’d be lost.

But I don’t think these are the people Jung is talking about… I don’t think he means their kind of loneliness. Or did he?

What would Jung say today about loneliness in the age of the Internet where people with thoughts ranging from cat memes to bomb-building, or with interests ranging from child care to foot fetishes (and worse) can find one another and find community? Is it possible, even in a cat meme (I know, I’m always picking on the cat memes) community to feel isolated, lonely, as though a viewpoint would be inadmissible? Are you telling me “Can I has a Cheezbrger” has content imitations or editorial standards?

I don’t know. Maybe.

But I also suspect I’m taking the easy way out of this one. I’m veering toward the land of the “surface dwellers” as my husband likes to call them. It’s not that I think the concept of loneliness is absurd in this day and age; it’s the contrary. There are people, myself included, who have likely felt never more lonely than with the so-called advent of Facebook. Am I feeling sorry for myself? I don’t think so. I’m just being honest. But then I know where I’m safe: home.

So now it’s about safety: the lack of fear that comes from knowing that your thoughts are admissible.

Not so fast.

We all have thoughts that we consider errant or inadmissible. Sometimes we want to plow our massive SUV into the smug Prius driver who cut us off at the approach to the light. Push them all the way into the busy intersection ahead, watch the whites of their eco-friendly eyes widen with fear as they scream and you can hear them very well, even above the grinding moan of the Prius bumpers and brake pads and the guttural, throaty rev of your ozone-killing V8 because when their stupid little earth-saving car’s speed drops to less than 10 mph the engine goes silent…

No.

We don’t share those thoughts.

Or my own particular thoughts about cereals. Some people eat cereals other than Cap’n Crunch. I think they’re losers, but I don’t tell them that; and I don’t say it aloud. And the fact that I wrote about my thoughts about their pitiful breakfasts right here on the internet doesn’t matter. No one’s on the internet.

We don’t share those thoughts because they’re radical, snobby even, totally “inadmissible” and they make us feel disconnected. We feel judged before we even say anything. We judge ourselves before we even bother to share. We are our own worst enemies in this Jungian proposition. We assume, we guess, we suspect, we fear and thus: we become lonely. We isolate. Are our thoughts polarizing? Are they dangerous? Are they inventive and we fear we’ll be laughed at? Is the NSA watching? I don’t know. (If the NSA is reading this that makes three people.)

I think, again, all of this boils down to fear. A fear of sharing, a fear of communicating and a fear of reprisal. That fear is what creates the feeling of loneliness. And that sensation of loneliness occurs because we self-judge; we kick the proverbial sand with our massive legs in our own wimpy and pale faces.

That’s a crappy feeling. Having so much to say and feeling as though you can’t share it. It reminds me of crushes; the fear we have when we love someone and we are afraid to tell them. The fear we have when we disagree with someone but we don’t say it because we fear they will not like us anymore. The fear we have when we want to show how we’re really feeling, say what we want to say, but feel this oppressive, heavy, awful, stifling! sensation that tells us:

No one will:

understand you…

agree with you…

like you…

respect you…

talk to you…

If you say what’s on your mind.

If you say what you need to have heard.

If you say what you yearn to share.

I will admit that sometimes when I’m in a really crappy mood that the last thing I’ll want is to be around other people. I don’t think anyone will be able to relate to me, I don’t think I’m a pleasure to be around and I’d rather not tell someone they have parsley between their teeth if I don’t have to.

A mood is one thing. It passes.

An outlook on life, a sense of isolation based on a fear of sharing, however is something entirely different. Some people who are like this tend to brand themselves a “lone wolf” or some other label other than “afraid” that helps perpetuate and broaden the chasm between themselves and their community.

Some people can’t help it, they have autism or another social challenge. But I also suspect, outside of autism or its ilk, that most of lone wolf people consider something in themselves repellant. I also feel that a lot of these people, through their social disconnection, feel some semblance of empowerment regarding rebellion or anger toward the majority of the society in general which I find engenders a sense of victimization and further disconnect. It’s an odd question: does society repel these types of people or do these types of people repel society? Whatever the cause, humans are social creatures and we need to relate to one another.

I think of the title of Adam Sandler’s album of long ago, “They’re All Gonna Laugh At You!” and Stephen King’s book Carrie; what messages do our parents give us or what messages are we giving our children that can help build a stronger sense of self so that we aren’t afraid to share our thoughts?

Lonely is isolation, feeling left out, excluded, apart from the whole.

Alone feels more like a choice. “Leave me alone!” “I just want to be alone!” (I never say that at my house with three boys.)

But I think Jung is going after the emotional state of “loneliness” and the results of feeling as though you can’t communicate something to others because they might find it “wrong.”

So given the quote about having people about vs. holding things in like viewpoints that might be inadmissible, all this leaves me wondering about “loneliness” — is it an emotion? Or is it a condition? Or… is it a choice? I wonder.

Thank you.