Dear Toko-pa; I dream a couple brings their two sons to a new place, from the east coast to the west coast. Here, the littler boy is happier. He is more sensitive and says he likes being in a place where he is good at things. The landscape and what it offers resonates more with his abilities and personality. The older boy is silent and more serious, and I have the sense he is disappointed. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this little dream — Katia.
Dear Katia; The question of your dream seems to be about how to satisfy both boys; serious and sensitive. Should you live in the east or west; where the sun rises or sets; in a place of originality or destination? In as much as you enjoy a happy frolic in the country, if you really want to capture something juicy, as Marie Louise von Franz was fond of saying, “It takes the hare to constellate the hounds!”
Delectably flagrant astrologer, Rob Brezsny, warns us not to draw upon pat ‘formulas’ for our creative work because it puts the muse in danger of stagnancy. He says we should work on the fringes of our unknown and forge ahead from there. Our own constant surprise will be what translates as authentic to others.
If you’re anything like me, however, you have more than occasional bouts of wishing the work were finally done and it was time to play. But since life won’t stop throwing us curveballs, it may be a wiser plan to learn how to live with, and breathe through, our discomforts. This isn’t, as it first appears, about detaching from life, but rather immersing yourself more fully in it. By sinking down into the irritation, you honour its innate wisdom, and allow it to dissipate faster by blending it into your mix.
One of the great problems of the New Age movement is the pathologizing of negative emotions. Depression, anger, irritation, anxiety – none of these are ‘allowed’ on our emotional palette. But if we try to “stay in the light” all the time, splitting off from the shadow, it only grows fatter and gains momentum. Enlightenment is not, as Carl Jung once put it, achieved by “imagining beings of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
Aspiring to be human, to be ordinary, may be one of the greatest teachings one can absorb. Nelson Algren wrote that loving Chicago was “like loving a woman with a broken nose. You may well find lovelier lovelies, but never a lovely so real.”
Wholeness is not some image of perfect intactness, but rather more like a waxing and waning moon. It doesn’t resist the cycles, but is governed, (and governs), by them, becoming especially fertile in total darkness.
There is a little boy in all of us that wants to stay where things are easier for him, and there is certainly something to be said for playfulness and ease. But to really grow up one’s masculinity, it’s important to have grist for the psychic mill. There must be some friction against which to discover your limits, pushing you to the frontiers of your understanding so as to not slip into sterility. With this in mind, we can actually be thankful for the sand in the oyster, knowing it might eventually irritate a pearl.