Through a Jungian Lens

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The Shifting Boundaries of Beauty

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This particular lily sits in a garden in front of my daughter’s house.  It had rained during the night and I was able to capture a few of the raindrops that had not yet evaporated the following morning thanks to overcast skies.  Of course the light conditions didn’t allow for as much colour saturation as I would have liked, but what I did get was good regardless, not perfect but good.

One of the problems in engaging in therapy or analysis is that one expects too much; there is the expectation that one will be fixed and that life will return to normal if not better than normal.  Of course, if one works long enough one comes to accept that there never was a normal way of being.  For those who become patients in a pharmacological approach to therapy, the drugs create an illusion of being fixed which often leads to the patient making a decision that the drugs are no longer needed.  Predictably the patient returns to the previous state of instability often unaware that they are in jeopardy again.  For them, a crisis and/or an intervention is required to have them again achieve some sort of psychological balance.   For many conditions, medication must become a lifelong part of the therapeutic process.  Hopefully, it won’t be the only part of the process.

For those who engage in therapeutic processes that don’t include prescription drugs, there is the same need to readjust one’s life around the lessons learned, the discoveries uncovered by counselling or analytic session.  One needs to create a new normal that is fluid, that has the ability to shift as one becomes more and more aware of shadows within.  This doesn’t suggest that one becomes a permanent client in therapy, but it does suggest that one needs to learn how to self-engage in therapy.  Ideally, one would maintain a therapeutic relationship that would allow for more objective evaluation of the processes underway.  This isn’t any different than going for a biannual eye checkup or a semi-annual dental checkup.

This journey of growing awareness of the depth and complexity of self will allow one to find beauty in the self regardless of the condition of light and life.


3 Responses

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  1. James Hollis on therapy:
    From: Creating a Life: Finding Your Individual Path (2000)

    Were therapists required by “truth in advertising” legislation to tell their reality, then virtually no one would enter therapy. The therapist would be obliged to say at least three things in return to the suffering supplicant:

    First, you will have to deal with this core issue the rest of your life, and at best you will manage to win a few skirmishes in your long uncivil war with yourself. Decades from now you will be fighting on these familiar fronts, though the terrain may have shifted so much that you may have difficulty recognizing the same old, same old.

    Second, you will be obliged to disassemble the many forces you have gathered to defend against your wound. At this late date it is your defenses, not your wound, that cause the problem and arrest your journey. But removing these defenses will oblige you to feel all the pain of that wound again.

    And third, you will not be spared pain, vouchsafed wisdom or granted exemption from future suffering. In fact, genuine disclosure would require a therapist to reveal the shabby sham of managed care as a fraud, and make a much more modest claim for long-term depth therapy or analysis.

    Yet, however modest that claim, it is, I believe, true. Therapy will not heal you, make your problems go away or make your life work out. It will, quite simply, make your life more interesting. You will come to more and more complex riddles wrapped within yourself and your relationships. This claim seems small potatoes to the anxious consumer world, but it is an immense gift, a stupendous contribution. Think of it: your own life might become more interesting to you!

    Consciousness is the gift, and that is the best it gets.
    A very nice summation IMHO.

    John Ferric

    August 7, 2011 at 12:31 pm

  2. A lovely post, I’m glad I was alerted to read it. I like your definition of ‘normal’ as fluid not fixed, as embracing the shadows within rather than rejecting or excluding them. The depth and nuance of colour in the lily says it so eloquently.


    August 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    • I am pleased to have you visit my site and find it of value. Yes, normal is fluid for an individual and for a collective. I hope that there will be more visits in the future. I am impressed with your writing on your site and will make a point of visiting there again.


      August 7, 2011 at 9:07 pm

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