Jungian Shadow – The Dark Side

PSYCHO

I remember when I first got into Jung’s psychology and his ideas of archetypes and shadow work. I think that was about 16 years ago.

I am currently reading a book called the “Dark Side of the Light Chasers.” And while I know the concepts all too well, I never really did the work of integrating my “shadow.”

For as long as we remember, we are told what makes us good and what makes us bad. We draw conclusions about that and worst of all, we actually believe what others are telling us. We do a fine job in projecting our own, worst fears, discomforts and inadequacies onto others.
But, I do not want to talk about what others do, because after all, this is the problem I face to begin with. My endless comparisons to others, in which I never really measure up, are exhausting and leave me confused. To be honest, it has gotten so bad that I sometimes can’t even tell you anymore who the “real” me is. I have developed a great persona that fits, what I think society and people wanted me to be, which leaves me angry, confused and quite bitter at times. Hell, it’s probably the reason I avoid society as a whole.

When I was still in my 20s I once wrote a poem about my dark side. The truth was, I really admired her. She was all the things that I was not; most importantly not a helpless ping pong ball, bouncing back between emotions without any apparent control. My darker side was calculating, didn’t have a whole lot of compassion, was quite selfish and had no reservations to do whatever pleased her; at any given time. She was the opposite of my “lighter” side and so I spent the next 15+ years repressing her and pushing her back. The only piece of freedom I kept was looking like her on the outside. The dark hair, the dark clothes, eyeliner, nail polishand tattoos make a fine image of my darker side.

I never figured out how to marry the two. Even though I believe that my dark side is a much better survivor at times. She has strength and courage, where the light side in me falls apart and retrieves into a world of hurt and self-loathing. She is not afraid of anyone, while the lighter side gets intimidated. Reading this book made me aware of how much I actually benefit from including my darker side. As a matter of fact, the dark one is much more fun than the frigid, always controlling, reasoning, super analytical head case my light side is.

The older I get, the more I get tired of controlling every aspect of my being to the point of complete and utter repression. I miss being playful (I don’t even remember ever being that way) and yes, I sometimes want to be reckless. I want to experience life to its fullest. I have exhausted myself being probably one of the most boring people I know.

I have always watched life through other’s eyes. I have experienced by watching or vicariously living through those who were the opposite of me and who simply didn’t give a shit about what other people thought. But I believe that was the other extreme that also couldn’t bring me happiness. So I feel it is time to actively marry the two and find that happy medium, which is what that book is kinda  talking about. True solace comes from being all of one’s being; the good and the bad.

Technically speaking I have started the second half of my life. I think I want to strive to truly be me, in all of her glory, imperfection, ugliness and beauty. And as always, I still stand by one of my guiding principles: Surround yourself with those who can take ALL of you and not just certain parts!


Random Thoughts from my Fire Brain

brain_on_fire

 

Today, I was walking from the office over to the parking garage. Walking in front of me was a fabulously dressed Asian man wearing dark green shoes and bright, hazard orange socks! I almost stopped him to tell him how awesome his footwear was!

I love socks. I have a strange fascination with them. Personally, I have all kinds of socks, and while I prefer the Halloween variety with bats or other spooky stuff on them, I am also very fond of Christmas socks, Valentine socks, winter socks, fall socks and whatever else one can find. I really like the fluffy kind. Unfortunately, they are too fluffy to fit in shoes, but around the house I can often be found wearing the fluffy variety. Socks are great and one can never have enough of them.

Which brings me to another thing that I think about a lot; namely feet. I don’t quite understand the concept of flip flops, unless one is by a pool, the beach or comes out from a nail salon. I am creeped out by scary feet in flip flops, and of course, can’t contain myself but must stare. It’s one of my bad habits. I stare at people. Personally, I feel if a person doesn’t have nice feet, they should keep that stuff hidden. But what do I know? I mean, like probably all women (and at least one male I know) I have a shoe fetish. One can never have enough fabulous shoes. On the plus side, I give those pairs I no longer wear away to Goodwill or my friend Lena. I think Lena owns at least 5 pair of previous Carmen shoes. And yes, I have flip flops, I wear them at home, to yoga and to the nail salon. I would never wear them to work.

Hands are also quite fascinating. The ultimate turn off for me are people who bite their nails into tiny little nubs. It sounds terribly shallow, but I could never be with a guy who has nub nails. Hands tell me a lot about a person. I like nice hands; who doesn’t? And of course, I love gloves. I have a few pairs of gloves. Like socks, I feel nice gloves are awesome. It makes me sad that they are usually not necessary in Los Angeles. Although, in the winter, when it gets down to the 40s, I wear them for driving and prefer them over my steering wheel heater. I always have a pair of kitty gloves in the car. One can turn them from mitts into the fingerless variety, which makes me super happy.

Teeth are also fun to stare at. I always do it and I’m quite obsessed with my own dental hygiene. I remember being in Germany two years ago and hanging out with my brother and one of his best friends. The friend had not a single healthy tooth in his mouth. All of them were rotten or missing. Again, I found myself staring at his mouth all the time. I was simply fascinated why anyone would choose to let it get like that. Needless to say, said friend was single, and as far as I know, always has been.

One other bizarre habit I have is sorting. I love counting and sorting. When I get really stressed, I start counting things, like panes on a window, or panels of any kind. It is calming to me. Maybe that’s why I love spreadsheets so much, haha. And of course, I HAVE to sort things by height! It’s a weird thing, but books, bottles on shelves or in the bathroom, need to be sorted from highest on the left, to lowest on the right. And of course, anything with a label MUST face outwards.

Yep, these are some of the things my tired brain ponders at nauseum. Thank god for Candy Crush; or Bejeweled and….oh look! Squirrel…


Push

voices-in-my-head

Sometimes I imagine my brain as a large data center, filled with tons of computers and people that operate them. I imagine that there is a large control panel and tons of people in white hazmat suits who operate them.

These guys control every motion, every thought, every emotion and everything else in between. Maybe they have brooms to sweep stuff away; especially emotions?

Every time I feel a negative emotion, regardless if it is sadness or anger, disappointment or loss, I feel like there are little men in my head that immediately sweep them away. It’s like an entire army shows up, sounds the alarm and yells “MAYDAY! INTRUDER ALERT” And immediately I start pushing them back to wherever they may have come from. Granted, that makes for a whole bunch of repressed crap, but on the bright side, I can switch from one mood to the next within seconds; which always freaked people out. As fear or despair washes over me, I immediately go into self-protect mode and make sure that all is under control.

It’s like a loud voice sounds the orders “We have it all under control here. Nothing to see here; keep moving on folks.” There is a reason I never got into drinking or drugs. I feel that could have really been dangerous for me. But what really drives it all away is my choice of music. When I need to push and purge, I choose techno, trance or dance music, which immediately overwrites the sad mode/gear I am in. If I feel it’s beneficial to feel for about 5 minutes, I listen to music that allows me to let go and feel. I know it’s messed up, but it’s the only way I know how to not fall completely apart when the proverbial shit hits the fan. I guess we all have our mechanisms.

I envy those who are strong enough to not feel despair or sadness. I envy those who live life day by day, have fun, exercise little control and follow their whims and passions. I am drawn to them, and yet I always feel I am not good enough for them. I can’t quite let go of anything and most people are not patient enough to make me feel safe enough to try.

So I hide in my head and behind my words and blogs and computer games and imaginary worlds I started creating when I was a mere child. I remember that a therapist once told me that the veil between sanity and insanity is rather thin and sometimes merely depends on a choice. I guess my choice was to walk the fine line along the abyss, clinging to the wall and making sure I won’t descend into the deep, dark madness.

I guess we all do our thing. Little men in the brain with white hazmat suits are mine. What can I say?


Perspective – Take 1,000,000,000

This morning I woke up at 6 am, feeling groggy and tired from staying up too late. I started my long walk over to the conference center and started getting grumpy on the way there. It was merely 7:30 am now and I already had over 100 emails. I thought about all the work I have left to do this week, challenges I currently have and other stuff, while watching the storm cloud slowly forming above my head. For a short moment I felt an overwhelming need to turn around, run back to my room, pack up and leave. And then I just stopped.

I stood there, literally frozen in my tracks, raising my head and looking around me. I was in Vegas. I was staying in a nice spa suite and was learning/gaining knowledge from new industry peers. I was dressed well, in a nice silk blouse and for the first time I actually noticed people smiling at me in passing. I was/am in a place that most people would consider so very fortunate and I was about to blow it and miss it.

As soon as I noticed what I was doing, or about to do, my mood changed, as it always does when I decide to wake up.

Why does it come so easy and effortlessly to come from a place of “I do not have/I am not (enough)? Why do I get bogged down by my flaws, when I know that our eyes are not the catalyst for true seeing and for perception?

Why do we focus on daily tasks and the mundane, when it takes but a mere second to create an island?

I stress too much and I think too much about things, concepts, people and places that really do not matter. Sometimes, there is an endless movie of pipe dreams, recreating imaginary pictures of what I think I should have or be. And then I stop. And then I yell out in my mind THINKING, before I focus on my breath and truly open my eyes.

Nothing truly matters and I mean that from a place of stillness. What matters is that every single day is a blank canvas for us to paint on and recreate. Didn’t get it right today? Who cares? Tomorrow is a new day and we can start painting all over again. What happened yesterday is gone; what happens tomorrow who knows. But right now, in this very moment, I choose to be present and alive; and yes, wide awake.

When we are present, miracles happen and true happiness occurs for that very moment and place and time; miracles we would miss because we were too busy stressing or worrying and spending too much time completely checked out.

Look up, smile, take the outstretched hand, cry, laugh and know that nothing is impossible when your simply change your perspective.

 


Present

If we could simply focus, for just a moment, and understand that we control nothing, but our own reactions and perceptions, we can finally let go of the belief that there is something wrong with us, that we need to do more, are not enough or are disconnected.

When we spent our time pondering what we could or should have done, or not done, for that matter, we miss that we are, right at that very moment, still doing “it.” We lost our connection to the present and hence, keep repeating the same cycles, because we are chasing the past.

When we can’t let go and chase that which has been, we are unconscious. When we are unconscious, we are defaulting to our pre-programmed hard-wiring. There is no freedom, just compulsive creation of the same patterns, thought processes and emotions we are not just accustomed to, but addicted to.
The only way to stop the addiction, or rewire our very brain patterns, is by reminding ourselves each day to stop, breathe and be; be ourselves.

If, for just a moment, we realize that we have all we want and need, all we aspire to be, dream of and hope for already within us, right now, we can again, stop the chase, the noise, the need to feel lack and so again stay in the present and be.

Our happiness and fulfillment does not lie in the past or future, but in the middle, namely the present. We must cherish each moment and live each day as if it might be our last.

So each day I work on just letting go and stopping my addiction to meaning and attachment. Life is amazing and precious. I have a duty to live it to the fullest, instead of wasting it by merely existing.

 


Living vs. Existing

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We always say that we are trying our best to live life to its fullest. We vow that we will never forget that we have only one life and that we will live each day as if it is the last. And while most people apparently live their life as if it is never ending, I find that there are only a few of us who really try to remember living every day; namely those of us who lost people.

When you experienced death in your family and friendship circle, you start looking at life differently. You start remembering that you don’t have an infinite amount of years or days to waste and to do as you please and you remember, or become painfully aware, of your own mortality.

I’m not going to go into a rant, or lecture, or preach. Not today, not now. But I do so want to urge you to remember that all of our days are limited and we do not know how many we have left. So don’t waste your time on regret, fear, anger, hate, sadness, sorrow and worry.

I do wish for everyone to learn this lesson before you experience loss. I do wish for everyone to experience joy, happiness, laughter, delight, silliness, adventure and fullness. I do so wish that we become lighter, stressing less, relaxing more and feeling more connected, instead of feeling isolated or alone. Surround yourself with those who don’t judge you and allow you to be. Find those who compliment your being, instead of taking from it. Find those who help you grow, instead of those who keep you little and small.

Life is not a struggle. It is not meant to be a burden. It is meant to cherish and love and experience. You will never be perfect, but you will be perfect enough for a few, who understand your essence and think that you add more to their life and being, than take from it.

So, go live, love, drink, eat, swim, float, fly, run, climb, walk, engage, talk, listen and in the end, just be.



Melancholy – My Friend and Muse

Melancholy

 

I truly believe that melancholy is one of the most misinterpreted emotions out there. It is easily confused with depression or sadness; but for me it is neither.

Melancholy has been a steady friend of mine for most of my life. It walks alongside me as I grow older, and goes back to the time I was a mere child. I enjoy it so much because it has always served me as a great muse for poetry, writings and dreams. It takes me through time, around it, beyond it and past it; stretches me to be present, even though most would interpret melancholy as an escape.

It is due to melancholy I enjoy rain so much. I love thunder and lightning and steady rain. It cleans the air, just like melancholy washes away what’s been stored and should have been let go or purged within me.

I find myself lost in melancholy, completely enveloped and finally able to surrender and lose control. No other emotion achieves this so easily. I trust it so deeply that I can let myself fall and explore what is hidden within me. I can go to my “happy place.” I can relax into it without a need to control what comes to mind or heart. Within this space, I find liberation and freedom and happiness.

I remember when I was in school and would daydream. My teacher thought this was a great concern. Well, all my teachers did. From 1st grade on I had notes in my report card, stating that “Carmen seems to be unresponsive and has a hard time concentrating.” “Carmen needs to learn how to focus better. She needs to pay better attention, especially in Math.” This theme continued all the way through trade/business school. Teachers would get angry, because they felt I purposely ignored them. They would get annoyed when I would complete an assignment, humming, seemingly lost in what I did. They’d ask me to stop humming, just to scold me a mere 3 minutes later, as I, absentmindedly, started all over again.

I always could, and always will, find solace in staring across the ocean, out of a window, being in a forest (how I love the smell of pine and how I miss forests and the ripe smell of earth), a meadow or a garden. I can spend vast amounts of time imagining things that might be and remembering good things that happened in the past. I enjoy melancholy because I enjoy silence. I enjoy being alone; I do not know boredom or lack of connectedness as I explore my core;  being alone recharges my batteries. I do not enjoy being in crowds, but at times, can be found feeling melancholic in a crowd.

Melancholy, my true friend, my muse, my creator, my solace and my place to turn to when the world and its people no longer make sense to me. I shall always cherish you for the wisdom you have given me and the longing and the slight, bittersweet pain you provide me as I rush down your rabbit hole of crazy serenity.


The Heart – The World through the Eyes of an Empath

Robot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine a world where you feel so much it almost breaks you apart whenever you spend time in public. A world where you seem to literally carry the cross of all those around you, without the possibility of shutting it off.

I remember when I was a little girl. My mother used to take me out for breakfast at the department store, across from the school my father worked at. We would steal away for a little while, I would have a soft-boiled egg and toast, while intensely listening to her confessions about life, about what she experienced, how she felt. I also remember understanding what she was saying, and yet not having the vocabulary to respond. I simply didn’t have enough language or words to really tell her that I understood; truly understood. I was an adult in a child’s body and it saddened me; it isolated me.

And so it went; year in and year out. I had an endless stream of advice seeking “friends” who couldn’t quite understand how I always seemed to get it and how I had the uncanny ability to see what lied ahead. How I could read the most hidden thoughts and secrets of others with the ease most use to read the newspaper. They couldn’t understand how much I cared and how much their own pain hurt me just the same.

I wanted to be a nurse, I wanted to be a doctor, I wanted to be a caretaker, I wanted to rescue. And I did so, in more ways I care to count. I collected broken souls and I carefully put them back together at times. People told me I had a gift. Granted, the gift scared them, but it always drew them nonetheless; at least for a little while. Then being found out and truly seen became to much for them and they’d inevitably turn to run. I remember two things very clearly; my first therapist once told me that I had an immense light that would draw others, good and bad, and that people would try to take some of that light and finally would seek to destroy it, for I held up a mirror to them. He told me to protect my tender heart. And then there was my ex-boyfriend who gently held my hand while telling me: “I truly believe you are not from this world. I believe you to be an angel that was sent here to heal and help many. But it just doesn’t work like this for the rest of us.” This was 14 years ago and he stood by his statement for the years to follow.

I’ve spent years studying ancient philosophies, wisdom, religion and paths, and yes, I learned a great deal. But the more I knew, the lonelier it became. I lost the ability to connect to society. Scolded for “having my head in the clouds,” and for being “way out there,” I desperately tried to learn what it means to be a little less. I’d try to do small talk, but would get sidetracked and just end up staring into space in mid conversation. I couldn’t relate to fashion, and the every day worries people had. To me, the entire universe and the vast cosmic spaces resided in my being.

When I was little I wanted to be an angel. When I was older I started breaking down each time I realized that I was simply human. The pain of not being able to exist only and always on another plane was unbearable. I started disassociating more, meditating less. I could not risk being in large crowds. Hearing the thoughts and feeling the feelings of many was draining me and would often render me sick for days. Lights would start flickering around me, lamps would start swinging and it felt as if I was going insane.

When I reached my mid-thirties, I decided to stop the noise and the pain. I shut it all off. I erected a large wall, built a bunker and put my heart in it. I threw the key away and the very things that I used to “teach,” were now no longer true to me. It was too much. I broke down and I could no longer bear to fall apart at the mere sound of a sad song, the sight of suffering and pain. I locked myself away and deconstructed that which had defined and cursed me for most of my life. I was more successful at work. I cried less, I felt less and I no longer walked the edge. Alas, I was more one of them now. And yet, still not close enough.

I want to be courageous and I want to live my life from my higher self but the fear always wins. I cannot risk such deep thoughts and feelings, because I cannot risk to feel so isolated and lonely again. I never realized that angels do not belong here when I made the promise as a child. Sometimes their wings break and they realize that they are only human.