A few nights ago, I was lying in bed reading Miguel Serrano’s book, C.G. Jung and Hermann Hesse. The book includes a letter that startled me in which Dr. Jung writes that, “…the world we live in is full …
As we wander on these journeys, we find that just like in the stories, we often begin in shadowy places, dark forests of the heart or lonely castles that reflect some of the gloomiest wounded and denied places within the kingdom of ourselves. Along the way, we will meet monsters, strange animals (even talking ones), and extraordinary people like dwarfs, witches, beggars, old hags, and even the devil. Some of these figures are helpful; others try to hinder us or even destroy us. But if we want to follow the maps laid out by these stories and to be transported by the stories, we must remember to embrace the world of metaphor because, in reality, the story is within us.
One of our greatest longings is to have our own voice, one that speaks of our greatest values with strength, clarity, compassion, and understanding. I want a voice like that and more.
As we are touched by the feminine and are able to step outside of our traps of rationality, efficiency, and “things that have to be done,” we become more open to our innate wisdom. An awareness of our innate wisdom helps us understand the language of love, the mystical, art and poetry—the language of symbolism, metaphor, meaning, eternity, and, most of all, the real language of stories.
Learning how we are really wounded, how our childhood was lacking, and how we need to be healed and grow is crucially important to living a fulfilled life.
If our emotional needs are not met at the right time, we will face a daunting task later in life as we try to heal the structural wounds of our personalities.
Many of my female analysands painfully confess that they no longer have an idea of what it is to be feminine. Over twenty-five years ago, the Jungian analyst June Singer, in an article titled “The Sadness of the Successful Woman,” said that she believed that such women are suffering from a particular form of depression: They are mourning for their lost femininity.
Heroes and heroines often lost in the woods, faced witches, dragons, dwarves, and trolls in our stories from medieval times. In our complicated age, I, like most of us, have had to learn that as a foundation for change and growth, I have to face dark forces within myself. I have had to learn that there are no new creations without passion, without rage. I am constantly challenged to stay aware of the complexity within myself that shapes how I respond to the events I am experiencing. I take on confronting myself as a personal duty because I care about the world I am helping to create for my children, grandchildren, and the family of humanity.
The courageous people who gave birth to our Declaration of Independence were human beings, like all of us. They were products of their time and had their flaws and weaknesses, like all of us. But their example challenges us to face life with more courage and the deep desire to fulfill our part in carrying our country’s founding vision a step forward in our lifetime. The challenge to our hearts is to remember and carry forward the vision of “Liberty” married to “Equality” as stated in our Declaration of Independence.
We are losing the heart and soul of our tradition, of the American spirit, and of our democracy. An attitude of narrow self-interest, hard-hearted practicality, and short-term vision is wreaking havoc across our land. It shows little concern for people’s actual well-being, it diminishes imagination and thoughtfulness, and it brands a passion for truth and knowledge as irrelevant.