Dear Friends and Members of the C.G. Jung Society:
In late July, I had an opportunity to attend a workshop presented by the Marion Woodman Foundation. For five days, we lived, worked, and played in a sacred space, a temenos, at La Casa de Maria retreat center in Montecito, California. There were no televisions, Wi-Fi was seldom operative, and cell phones were banned from our meeting room. We were disconnected from the wild and unconscious territory of the collective but had access to a beautiful place in nature where people have been praying for many years. We practiced silence every morning. I felt odd at first eating with others in silence, as the old conditioning seems to make us nervous if there is empty space of any kind, but soon it became relaxing and nurturing to be in community with others without the need to make conversation. I found it refreshing and freeing; I felt contained. When no one was talking, I felt peaceful. I said to myself, “every morning is a sacred prayer.” Now I am back in Dallas and I must consciously work to honor this inner place of peace; let it continue to live and grow within me. I learned how badly I sometimes need to disconnect from the collective and connect deeply with nature, to find soulful places, and to enjoy safe relationships. This is healthy self-care and something our culture does not teach us.
We often feel guilty or selfish for taking time and caring for ourselves. In Addiction to Perfection, Marion Woodman explains how perfectionism destroys life and creates addictions, how willpower and compulsions narrow life down. She tells us that “a weak ego pretends to be strong, but its strength is in its rigidity…..there can be no genuine growth when you are using willpower against your feelings and natural instincts, forcing yourself into masculine drivenness.” I see now that the ability to be flexible and spontaneous, to move with life, to be in touch with my body and my feelings, and to honor the seasons and the phases of the moon can help me make my way and ground me with the earth. On the other hand, I know healthy discipline is necessary to live a life that is free of self-inflicted chaos.
Life is a continual balancing between effort and surrender. Many days I know I am erring on the side of doing since that is what the cultural conditioning has demanded of me for many years. To do so is to neglect the feminine, which is eternal being, the inner life, whose rhythms are slower. I must give myself permission to be, to rest, to reflect, to feel, to do nothing. It’s interesting to note that while other species move at a slow or moderate pace unless they are in danger, our adolescent culture values speed and thinks it normal to be rushing and tied to busy schedules. But to do our inner work and nurture ourselves, we must slow down in order to take time to integrate our experience and to live from a deeper place. There must be emptiness, space, if anything new is to come into being.
To deepen your personal journey and offer conscious community, the Society is pleased to offer you a fall program exploring romantic love and conscious relationships; symbolism and synchronicity of the Tarot; and the orphan state as a journey towards wholeness. I hope you will join us.
C.G. Jung Society of North Texas