Through a Jungian Lens

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Slowing Down

with 6 comments

I like this little fellow.  There is little doubt that he isn’t in a hurry as he goes about his life.  I found him crossing the sidewalk not too far from my apartment while out for one of the daily walks.  Walking is a bit of a hazardous experience.  It seems that there is a lot of broken bits of stones and holes to be navigated, a fact that leaves one either tripping or learning to keep a wary eye out for these hazards.  If I had a secure sense of uninterrupted walking surface, I am sure that I never would have seen this guy.  As well, I am learning to slow down when I walk, learning the art of strolling.

Slowing down . . . this is one of the things that a midlife crisis forces one to do – to slow down.  And, it isn’t all about smelling the roses.  Midlife crisis leaves one lost, adrift.  It is as though the foundations of our world have been broken.  The smooth path of one’s life disappears and one is left with a broken and obstacle filled, barely discernible trail.  One doesn’t know if what appears to be the faint outline of a trail is actually a trail.  Does one risk heading down this trail?  Or, does one retreat back into the old life that turned sour?  One is at a crossroads.

“A psychological crisis constellates both sides of the shadow:  those qualities and activities we are not proud of, and new possibilities we never knew, or forgot, were there.   Associated with the former is a sense of shame and moral distaste.  The latter may have morally neutral connotations, but the are often more frightening because if we follow up on our dormant possibilities there is no telling what might happen.”  (Sharp, Jungian Psychology Unplugged, p. 47)

The fear of the unknown, the darkness is a primal fear, one that touches the very core of our being, one that requires us to respond outside of our normal “will.”  We are forced to dare the darkness.


6 Responses

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  1. Great “Slow Down Post and accompanying picture” Robert.
    Yes I can imagine that for some people the worst case scenario is what is outlined in your Post.
    On the other hand, in my case, and according to my personal insight, the worst case scenario “luckily” did not happen to me and my wife ( we feel blessed).
    As I include my wife in this, we have the pictures and experiences of the Anima as well as the Animus.
    During the years of our working life, we took our responsibilities that were acquired from us, but at the same time we also looked forward to the future and all the things that we could do, especially during the last years – as to have more time with each other, painting, woodcarving, designing furniture for Dolls Houses and of course more time in our Jung studies (inside and outside) – we lived forward and were exited for this future so too say.
    (To us we think that all intentions have a shadow side, but this intension has a very limited shadow in our own insight.)
    A friend who we told our intension, burst out in laughter and said “You of all persons, who works 12 to 14 hours a day, and having that ideal – that is impossible – you know that reaching a Ideal is the end of that Ideal, just remember that”.
    Yes, after all these years, I remember his words – but then my wife and I also experienced, that to us, his remark about a Ideal is for probably 80 percentage build on materialistic Ideals and not on spiritual experiences – because our Ideals since we where retired only grew in intensity and in numbers (of new adventures as we call it).
    We have to admit that (because we were younger then) we overlooked the limitations of our body – and indeed like your little friend in your picture we have to “Learn” to slow down – doing this we try not to allow feelings of anger and/or irritation etc. to overwhelm us, but when we become aware of these negative things – we use the tool of our will to chance our mood into the mood of positive surrender.
    Writing this, I realize that this is hard to put into words – not to get angry of the things that we cannot accomplish anymore – but the mood to feel grateful of the tremendous amount of things that we are still allowed to accomplish.
    And so like your little friend in your picture we accept the possibilities that our creator has meant for us to experience.

    Opa Bear

    October 3, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    • Opa, I want to thank you for continuing to post great comments in relation to my posts. I think you are right to include “wife” in the dynamic. I know that I have no choice but to include my wife in my work. Whatever I do to become more aware has an impact on her. As much as I would like to believe that we change in time with each other, I know that we change in our individual rhythmic time, sometimes in harmony and sometimes not. Regardless, we both end up teaching each other the truth about self and other.

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 4, 2010 at 8:45 pm

  2. Thank you for this post Robert,

    I too like the little fellow in the picture and I think that we could all benefit from a slower pace of life. I would have loved to say that I no longer tread a broken trail but that would be a lie. I continue to walk the “obstacle filled” trail in my search for answers with the fear of the unknown as my companion but at least I seem to travel at a slower speed these days. More importantly I am beginning to understand and accept that the shadow side of me (or the darkness) doesn’t need to be seen as the enemy..

    Thank you again for making me think in a less destructive way


    October 3, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    • You are most welcome. I appreciate your taking the time to add your voice here, J. Thanks 🙂

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 4, 2010 at 8:46 pm

  3. Just a small addition.
    Robert you wrote:
    “If I had a secure sense of uninterrupted walking surface, I am sure that I never would have seen this guy. As well, I am learning to slow down when I walk, learning the art of strolling”.
    So by seeing your little friend could be a “coincidence” – as so, a coincidence (a little gift from synchronicity) that goes deeper then the words that you wrote.
    Could it be, that this synchronicity is not only applying on your walking habit, but also has a connection with your life ?

    Opa Bear

    October 3, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    • Most definitely 😉

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 4, 2010 at 8:47 pm

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