Through a Jungian Lens

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Owning the Questions

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Brown Thrasher

This little guy is getting to be a regular visitor to our yard.  We have not had this bird variety in our yard during the nine years we have lived here.  It’s a good thing I keep a handbook on birds close at hand.  I was particularly taken by the common name for this bird, a Brown Thrasher.  It makes me think of how the mind finds itself “thrashing” about at various points during life.

It seems that whenever I find myself with choices that are poles apart, I end up squirming and thrashing around for a good time while holding the tension of “not choosing” so that I can allow other possibilities to emerge.  It never fails, other options do emerge, ones that are not found at either pole.  I will give a somewhat simple example of how this works for me.

I found myself seemingly caught between a black and white set of choices such as when in my work  a school administrator, I had the choice of giving up administration to remain in the same school to continue teaching, or to seek another school administrator position in another school, or retire.  I struggled with these choices for quite a while, for months when I realised that I needed to do something different if I was to get a different result in my life.  As the weeks, then months passed, I was tending towards retirement though I was still rather young.  I didn’t want to move again as this community had become home for both my wife and myself.

While reading through a newspaper, my wife saw ads seeking education administrators on northern reserves.  Life on a reserve for an outsider is temporary.  Without status as a First Nations, status within the tribe, one is always “just visiting.”  If I took a northern position I would keep my home outside of the reserve.  It seemed I could keep all of the choices at the same time – I retired, I got a new job, and I kept my home.  When all of the pieces came together I finally made the decision to retire and prepare for the next stage.

We all face small situations (and not so small) which could use a bit of wait time before we make a choice.  Of course there are many decisions we need to make that must be immediate and leave us living with the choice made.  When we fail to make a decision, a decision will be made for us making our discomfort and thrashing around pointless, leaving us feeling like a victim without being aware that we placed ourselves in the role of victim.  There is a difference between holding the tension and not deciding for ourselves.  Holding the tension is to invest time and energy and to stay present with the choices and the situation requiring a choice.  Removing oneself from choice is an act of abandoning, even denying the need to do something, dissociating.



Written by Robert G. Longpré

July 1, 2011 at 8:47 am

2 Responses

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  1. Making choices cn be very difficult, and holding taht tension for as long as possible allows us to seek other choices, plus mentally explore how each choice could change our lives.

    However for me I also see the luxury we have in such choices. For so much of the world there are so few choices – survival issues fill their minds. So even though I often find making a decision difficult, I am always conscious and grateful that my life is such that I have these dilemmas.

    Lotus Eater

    July 1, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    • Lotus, as always your words resonate. I know you are more than familiar with holding the tension waiting for something more to emerge. Thank you.


      July 3, 2011 at 5:50 pm

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