Depth Psychology Blog

This blog offers information and education about Jungian and Depth Psychology oriented approaches by psychotherapists, counselors, coaches, speakers, authors, healing professionals, and dozens of other modalities. You'll read personal stories from these practitioners about the power of symbols, the unconscious, dreams, archetypes, Jungian thought, nature, ecopsychology, mythology, and so much more. 
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  • 15 Oct 2014 7:01 PM | Anonymous
    "Just as conscious contents can vanish into the unconscious, new contents, which have never yet been conscious, can arise from it," (Man and His Symbols, p 25)wrote Carl Gustav Jung, pointing to the critical importance of translating the symbols which show up in our lives through dreams, art, mythology, film, literature and dozens of other sources.


    In Man and His Symbols, Jung spoke eloquently about the way symbols communicate the contents of the unconscious to us, saying...

    Because there are innumerable things beyond the range of human understanding, we constantly use symbolic terms to represent concepts that we cannot define or fully comprehend. This is one reason why all religions employ symbolic language or images . But this conscious use of symbols is only one aspect of a psychological fact of great importance: Man also produces symbols unconsciously and spontaneously, in the form of dreams. (p. 4)

    ...Man, as we realize if we reflect for a moment, never perceives anything fully or comprehends anything completely. He can see, hear, touch, and taste; but how far he sees, how well he hears, what his touch tells him, and what he tastes depend upon the number and quality of his senses. These limit his perception of the world around him. By using scientific instruments he can partly compensate for the deficiencies of his senses. For example, he can extend the range of his vision by binoculars or of his hearing by electrical amplification. But the most elaborate apparatus cannot do more than bring distant or small objects within range of his eyes, or make faint sounds more audible. No matter what instruments he uses, at some point he reaches the edge of certainty beyond which conscious knowledge cannot pass.(p. 4)

    There are, moreover, unconscious aspects of our perception of reality. The first is the fact that even when our senses react to real phenomena, sights, and sounds, they are somehow translated from the realm of reality into that of the mind. Within the mind they become psychic events, whose ultimate nature is unknowable (for the psyche cannot know its own psychical substance). Thus every experience contains an indefinite number of unknown factors, not to speak of the fact that every concrete object is always unknown in certain respects, because we cannot know the ultimate nature of matter itself. (p. 4)

    Then there are certain events of which we have not consciously taken note; they have remained, so to speak, below the threshold of consciousness. They have happened, but they have been absorbed subliminally, without our conscious knowledge. We can become aware of such happenings only in a moment of intuition or by a process of profound thought that leads to a later realization that they must have happened; and though we may have originally ignored their emotional and vital importance, it later wells up from the unconscious as a sort of afterthought. (p. 5)


    Reference

    Jung, Carl Gustav. Man and His Symbols (1964).  Bantam Doubleday Dell, New York: NY


    Bonnie Bright is the principle and and founder of Depth Insights, Depth Psychology Alliance, and Depth Psychology List. She holds M.A. degrees in Psychology from Sonoma State University and in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA, where she is currently completing her PhD.

  • 27 Sep 2014 11:14 AM | Kim Hermanson, PhD

    I recently met someone who is an international expert on social change movements. Over breakfast at my favorite café we talked about how successful social protests open up space in places where we think there isn’t any space. The conversation fascinated me because I’ve spent the past two years writing a book about metaphor and the creative process… But what I’m really writing about is space. Creative change happens when a certain kind of Space is opened. That’s what I do in Doorway sessions---my client and I open doors to something that we didn't know existed.

    Even though the space (or ground) is what allows transformation to happen, our focus is typically on the figure---or what is happening within a space. In his book Stillness Speaks, Eckhart Tolle writes: Most people confuse the Now with what happens in the Now, but that’s not what it is. The Now is deeper than what happens in it. It is the space in which it happens.” We have not yet developed ways to see the “space in which it happens.” We might say, “I feel good when I’m in that person’s presence” or “I always have amazing insights in that teacher’s class” or “That person has great energy” but because we have no other way to understand it, we go on about our day and forget about the fertile, creative space that had been opened for us. It stays unseen and unknown.

    As a culture, we focus on glamorous Hollywood stars and action heroes. In the fairy tale Cinderella (or at least one version of the tale) Cinderella steps into the pumpkin-turned-stagecoach, and she becomes a beautiful princess. Although we all adore Cinderella, she’s really just a pretty young girl who was transformed into a princess for a night. The pumpkin is where the true power lies. Being able to offer sacred, creative space is more important than any action that happens within that space. But the pumpkin is the ground and not the figure, so we focus on Cinderella and forget about the pumpkin. After all, the pumpkin hasn’t really done anything to our eyes. Opening imaginal space is subtle, it can't be seen with regular eyes. 

    Techniques for working with images have been around for a long time, likely long before Carl Jung coined the term active imagination. Visualization is considered by many to be the most powerful way to cure illness, make more money, give a great performance, and so forth. But there’s something else that wants to be known---not the tool or technique of visualizing, but the space within which those powerful images lie. The potential of transformative change lies with a particular kind of ground. After all, the creative process is always in movement---individual images are always shifting and changing into something else. If we really want to understand how creative change happens, we need to explore the terrain where those potent images live.

    Kim Hermanson is the founder of Doorway Sessions for creative breakthroughs, adjunct faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and the author of Getting Messy: A Guide to Taking Risks and Opening the Imagination.

  • 26 Aug 2014 2:37 PM | Anonymous

    “Home” is a word weighted with affect and associated with rootedness, attachment, belonging, shelter, refuge, comfort, and identity. When our relationship to “home” is considered in the context of depth psychology, the study of the unconscious pioneered by Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung among others, it stands to reason that our individual notions of “home” may impact us rather profoundly. A severed connection with “home,” particularly with the earth that supports and nurtures us, produces physical, emotional, and psychological implications. That is to say, the lack of a connection with a “home” that offers us a sense of psychological and spiritual wholeness, potentiality, and belonging in a larger archetypal manner may well compose the very heart of our disorder.

    Depth psychology calls for an understanding of how we are influenced by invisible elements beneath the surface of our conscious awareness. Tracing a path from the notion of “home” which we each carry, backward and down into its deeper meaning and psychological effect on us, can begin to shed light on why we treat the earth so destructively that we have come to a state of potential culture collapse. In At Home in the World, Jungian analyst John Hill (2010) relates how the biological origins of home began with the animal instinct to mark territory. The fight or flight mechanism, to defend space or to abandon it and flee, also carries a critical effect on our psyche since home is tied to caretaking, nurturing, and sustenance. Home has an affiliation with landscape, community, and surroundings, and it is connected to history, memory, and clan, Hill asserts, defining it further as a “narrative reality,” the manner in which we attach to a place a person or an object, a nation, a group, a culture or an ideal. These attachments are experiential, conferring a sense of belonging.

    Home, whether a physical place or a psychological concept, is a container for those who reside within its borders. This concept of home as a container, a place to which one can belong, is what C. G. Jung referred to as archetypal. According to Jung (1964), the unconscious is made up of archetypes, autonomous instincts, patterns, or behaviors, which are common across all eras, peoples, and places. Concepts that are archetypal in nature may be recognized without need for definition or explanation. Recognizing and understanding the archetypal aspect of home, then, enables us to see how leaving or losing home can set one askew, rendering us vulnerable, tentative, frightened, and ungroundedundefinedin both a literal and figurative sense.

    ###

    Bonnie Bright is the principle and founder of Depth Insights. She holds M.A. degrees in Psychology from Sonoma State University and in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA, where she is currently a PhD candidate. She founded Depth Psychology Alliance, the world's first online academic community for those who are active and interested in the fields of Depth and Jungian Psychologies in 2010 and DepthPsychologyList.com, a directory to find or list depth-oriented therapists and practitioners by location or services.

  • 29 Jul 2014 10:40 AM | Donna May

    Psyche: Your Inner GPS Navigation System

    By

    Donna May

    I was walking this morning and came upon a sign that read: Warning GPS Navigation Times and System Information: Times and Speed Calculations EXTREMELY INACCURATE. The road goes up and over a series of mountainous wilderness areas, ascending and descending through some of the most gorgeous terrain anywhere in the world. And it’s wild, truly “a road less traveled.” The territory is filled with mountain ranges, creeks, tributaries and one of the only remaining free-flowing rivers in the United States. Wildlife is everywhere. Sometimes in winter, the road is impassable, due to snow and ice. During rainy times, an avalanche of rock and debris will rumble down the mountainside, the road becoming impassable. One year, the underside of the road eroded away and there are still parts of the lane where only one car can pass at a time. The landscape is lush, greens of every hue. Little water grottos roll down rock crevices. Deer are common, and there is an occasional siting of a bear, mountain lion, or bobcat. Gorgeous California mountain king snakes, or the more common garter snake, mosey across the road, sometimes stopping to bask on the hot pavement during warmer months. Dragonflies and butterflies create a medley of colors, dancing through shimmery shadow and light. Osprey and eagles can be seen flying overhead, as well as hawks, falcons, blue jays, woodpeckers and other types of birds.

    If you know where to look, there are waterholes for swimming, huge boulders used by locals as diving platforms, and places to sun. Seasonally, salmon swim through and fishing spots, known by generations of local tribes’ people and others, can be found. Bear grass grows here and is used to weave beautiful baskets. This road meanders through sacred spots, believed by many to be the center of all things.

    After many twists and turns, you will reach the top of Etna Mountain, one of the places where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the road. The vistas show mountaintop upon mountaintop undefined a cascade of purple gray mountains awash in green, layers of soft color for as far as the eye can see. From this place, more unseen delights await you on the road: there are alpine lakes, bowls of granite, water so pristine, so clear, you can see the lake bottom. As you journey down this side of the mountain, you will see lupine, wild orchids, dogwoods, wildflowers of hot pink, white and purple. There are flowers so rare, only a few know what they are!

    Along this road, life is only lightly touched by human hand or foot.

    The modern GPS may say this road is the fastest way to the coast; however, locals and nature Herself knows otherwise. Until the sign was installed, vacationers’ GPS devices would tell them that this was the shortest way to the Pacific Coast; however, what the modern electronic device didn’t tell the driver was that even though the mileage was half that of other routes, the time would be double. The GPS also didn’t let the driver know that there wouldn’t be a gas station, bathroom, or place to eat for miles. No amusement parks, corporate food chains, or shopping malls here. Yes, the distance and delights between here and there mean something quite different on this road. This landscape is well worth the trip undefined if you know what you are getting into.

    And so it is with Soul Travels.

    When Psyche calls, it’s not usually a fast track from here to there. The inner travels are in the rhythms of nature. The path to the authentic self is magnificent and wild, inner terrain dynamic and alive. Like the sign on the road this morning, you cannot measure or comprehend the details of your journey by the calculations of modern societal thinking or belief systems. Inner travels require a Soul Compass. Tools for the inner journey: dreams, art, writing, music, dance/movement, meditation and prayer. These are Psyche’s GPS devices, the way to find your True North, Psyche’s call for you.

    The inner landscape of the soul traverses depths and vistas not to be missed; this is an expedition into a different terrain, however, and requires planning, support, and patience. Surround yourself with people who have traveled this road before you, who will support you with your journey.

    Take all the time you need to swim your depths, go fishing for stories, both personal and collective, and listen to what Psyche is singing awake in you. Learn about the center of all things and take time to weave together the reeds of experience and dreams into your most beautiful work of art: you. Your Soul Journeys will require you to not measure yourself and your calling by outside devices, people, places or things. This may be tough going at times, but well worth the effort.

    If you are called to something, called to travel Psyche’s Road, you know it. You can do this.

    ###


    Donna May is a therapist, educator and author of the upcoming book Psyche’s Call: Putting the Soul Back in to Psychology. She is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Siskiyous and is a board member for the Depth Psychology Alliance. She is passionate about the need for, and utilization of, depth psychology tools in these modern and changing times and does counseling and consultations in her Etna, CA office and via videoconferencing. Donna facilitates classes and workshops in and out of Siskiyou County, including her popular Soul Callings Workshops in Mt. Shasta and Story Tending Circles which utilize active imagination, art, writing, and drumming/music to deepen participants’ connection with their inner terrain and soul callings. She also offers free Psyche’s Call Writing Prompts that go out daily to people all over the world (http://www.psychescall.com/writing). You can connect with her on Facebook (Psyche’s Call with Donna May), Twitter (@Psyches_Call), LinkedIn & Pinterest. To learn more about Donna and her work, go to: http://www.psychescall.com.

  • 29 May 2014 4:40 PM | Anonymous

    In light of the recent shootings at Isla Vista/UCSB [Update June 5: Now adding Seattle Pacific University} as well as the hundreds of other gun violence incidents across the country and the world, I wanted to share/re-share some depth psychological resources and discussion around the topic. But first, some statistics courtesy of NBC News

    • Every year in the U.S., an average of more than 100,000 people are shot, according to The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence.

    • Every day in the U.S., an average of 289 people are shot. Eighty-six of them die: 30 are murdered, 53 kill themselves, two die accidentally, and one is shot in a police intervention, the Brady Campaign reports.

    • Between 2000 and 2010, a total of 335,609 people died from guns -- more than the population of St. Louis, Mo. (318,069), Pittsburgh (307,484), Cincinnati, Ohio (296,223), Newark, N.J. (277,540), and Orlando, Fla. (243,195) (sources:  CDFU.S. CensusCDC)

    • One person is killed by a firearm every 17 minutes, 87 people are killed during an average day, and 609 are killed every week. (source: CDC)

    Meanwhile, as many psychologists and commentators alike are saying, the problem goes well beyond gun laws. Our cultural container and systems for treating mental health are simply not adequate to treat people with the deep-seated issues that often precede such violent acts.

    Depth Psychologist/Educator Glen Slater, PhD touches into the depth psychological perspective, saying, 

    "Gun violence keeps the national psyche in a holding pattern, preventing it from a more conscious encounter with more soul-wrenching issues. The obsessive need for guns, the paranoid fear of having guns taken away, the lack of will to effectively legislate or litigate, and even the violence itself are bonded in a conspiracy of collective defense and denial against a deeper darkness and pathology. Cracking open the neurotic dynamics means going in search of mythic and archetypal roots." (In Spring Journal, Vol 81).

    As you'll note in many of the following resources, the general agreement is that focus needs to be on the underlying depth psychological issues that apply to the profile of mass shooters, who are often young men.


    First, depth psychologist Craig Chalquist's latest post "No Man Is an Island: Recognizing Gun Violence as a Cultural Symptom," is an insightful depth psychological take on the problem, even employing a terrapsychological view based on the psychology of place where the shooting occurred.

    Many Depth Psychology Alliance members joined Jungian analyst, Dr. Michael Conforti, and me for a two-part teleseminar"Beyond Horror and Hope: The Archetypal Intersection of Innocence and Evilwhich were exploratory conversations in response to the Sandy Hook Connecticut school shooting. We offered these in 2012 after the shooting in

     NewTown, CT, but I think they are still so relevant today if you want to listen to the archived recordings

    In January 2013, I interviewed depth psychology professor, Dr. Glen Slater, for Depth Insights radio podcast, The Roots of Mass Shootings: A Depth Psychological Look at Gun Violence, a conversation that touched on his 2009 article in Spring Journal, "The Mythology of Bullets."  You can find a link to the full article, courtesy of Spring Journal, on that podcast page.

    Finally, I mentioned some of my thoughts at that time in a short blog post on here on Depth List, "The Shadow of Society and its Role in Mass Shootings."

    Please feel free to comment on any of these resources here, or share some you have come cross that you have found insightful or worthwhile.

    ###


    Bonnie Bright is the founder of Depth Psychology Alliance, the world's most comprehensive online community for depth psychology. She has hosted interviews with authors and thinkers in depth psychology on the free podcast, Depth Insights, as well as editing thesemi-annual scholarly e-zine of the same name. She founded www.DepthPsychologyList.com, a free-to-search online database for depth psychology oriented therapists and practitioners. She holds Masters degrees in Psychology and Depth Psychology, and is a Ph.D. candidate at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. Follow her on Twitter @bonniebright5 or on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/BonnieBright.DepthPsych

  • 21 May 2014 4:18 PM | Anonymous

    American psychiatrist Robert J. Lifton identifies our very human tendency to ignore difficult realities and overwrite them with thoughts and beliefs that are more palatable as "psychic numbing." This allows our ego to distract itself enough that it doesn’t have to engage with inner and outer voices and images and movements that go beyond the mainstream consciousness (in Shulman-Lorenz & Watkins, Toward Psychologies of Liberation).

    When we witness instances of ecocide (ecological suicide) in the world around us, take note of how wasteful and damaging our consumer-oriented culture has become, or are faced with dire news about how climate change is devastating our planet and threatening life as we know it, we are affected in both body and psyche.

    Aspects of the psyche which we require to be healthy and whole get displaced at seeing the destruction; they split off and take cover in a sense, because it’s easier than admitting and knowing we each have some part it in it. This creates a condition of what some indigenous cultures regard as “soul loss,” a sort of psycho-spiritual deficit, which leaves us individually (and collectively) in a state of depression, malaise, and a general loss of vitality. In fact, in Modern Man in Search of Soul, Jung (1933) diagnosed our entire culture as suffering from loss of soul.

    In his essay, “The Viable Human,” (in Deep Ecology for the Twenty-first Century, Shambhala), theologist Thomas Berry wrote, “Our present dilemma is the consequence of a disturbed psychic situation, a mental imbalance, an emotional insensitivity.” Ecocide and our contribution to climate change make it nearly impossible to feel “at home” on our planet in today’s world. Many of us are consciously or unconsciously experiencing anxiety at the destruction we’re inflicting on the earth.

    In his excellent and comprehensive book, Psychoanalysis and Ecology at the Edge of Chaos: Complexity Theory, Deleuze|Guattari and Psychoanalysis for a Climate in Crisis offers an interesting look at some humorous ways comedians and others engage us in the environmental debate, in the end, he notes many of us turn to denial because the possible outcomes are so grim and so vastly unknown that we just can’t wrap our brains (or our emotions) around the issues.

    Dodds writes, “It seems that we have evolved to deal optimally with threats which are immediate, clear, visible, with simple causation, caused by a clearly identifiable ‘enemy’, and with obvious direct personal consequences,”(p. 46) subsequently pointing out that climate change is highly uncertain, not readily visible, and rather abstract in relation to the “here and now.” This translates to the mass denial, apathy, and dissociation we are currently witnessing overall. Dodds calls it the “ultimate bystander effect.”

    Globalization, and especially the pervasiveness of media and the manner in which information is conveyed, amplifies the symptoms, affecting us even more deeply, both somatically and psychologically. The speed at which we exchange and take in information is also a significant problem for the psyche, allowing little or no time for reflection and contemplation of what we hear, see, or read.

    Much of my current research on the topic of ecocide, environmental degradation, climate change, and their effects on the human psyche consist of newspaper and magazine articles providing the latest information and statistics on the symptoms of a pattern I am referring to as “Culture Collapse Disorder.”  

    Due to the speed and fragmentation of mass media, I struggle to articulate and convey information in a way that is considerate of the deep wounds to soul at work in this amazing and frightening phenomena of witnessing the collapse of life as we know it.

    News today in general is difficult to sift through, and does a poor job of conveying what is important. So-called “news” is often delivered at such speed, and with so little time between stories as newscasters, newspapers, or websites skip from one to the next, that we as a public have no time to reflect on any given story.

    Too, stories are placed in conjunction with one another with no context of what is deeply important. Recently, I watched PBS Newshour spend nearly ten minutes talking about what it means that many western cultures default to assigning “pink” to girls and “blue” to boys, arguing that it limits girls in their capacity to grow up and become leadersundefinedonly to see that in the next segment, which lasted less than a minute, they “touched on” the topic of the 200 school girls in Nigeria that had been kidnapped to be sold into marriage by terrorists. While I don’t contend that the “pink and blue” debate relating to gender issues is important--it certainly beats the Kardashians reality show which was just a few channels over--the way each topic is portrayed in conjunction with the next, distorting the significance of each, confuses the human mind regarding status and urgency of each situation. 

    I recall noting during the early days of the 2011 tsunami disaster in Japan, headlines on the Yahoo home page read “Japan Faces Nuclear Crisis,” positioned right next to a section entitled “Trending Right Now” which included information on “The Bachelorette,” “Lady Gaga,” and “Oil Prices.” Stories on Yahoo about Charlie Sheen acting out uncontrollably received more overall hits than the Japan disaster did during that time, and we can witness this kind of cognitive dissidence online in a myriad of ways virtually every single day.

    Back in Psychoanalysis and Ecology at the Edge of Chaos, Dodds succinctly and convincingly portrays how media serves to skew our comprehension of the real imperative but also reflects our ambivalence, citing examples of how articles for climate change appearing in newspapers are placed side by side with ads for holiday airfares or for SUVs.

    Today’s incredibly fast pace of information dissemination via Internet and social media allows us to access important news and data about ecological destruction and climate change, but when treating all topics with equal intensity (everything seems to be “breaking news” on CNN these days), we quickly lose sight of the context that makes meaning.

    A recent comic sketch on the HBO news-satire program, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver illustrates this concept visually and forcefully. Oliver explains that, while 97% of climate scientists concur that climate change is a reality and that humans have a part in it, we normally only see television debates in which both sides of the argument are represented equally--as if the debate were fifty-fifty, for and against.

    In the sketch, Oliver points out that in order to portray the issue realistically, the debate would have to be between just three climate change deniers and 97 individuals who believe. The point that the debate is 97 to 3, rather than fifty/fifty, is driven home when Oliver sets up a mock debate and proceeds to march out three people on one side of the table and dozens on the other. (Click the video below or watch it here).

    Online, virtually everywhere, stories about celebrities and their public lives line up alongside stories about the destruction of the planet, about atrocities, violence and trauma, as if all were equal in importance and scope. Debates occur without context or proper weighting for us to reflect on what is real and meaningful. It makes me wonder how we, both individually and as a culture, can truly begin to understand what is truly critical and meaningful to spend our time and resources on, when we haven’t properly reflected about what’s going on on our planet and in our culture. 

    Reflection, and taking the time to allow things to emerge from the margins where they have been banished, or to well up from where they have been suppressed, is a fundamental aspect of depth psychology which enables us to have profound insights. What if we collectively set aside a few minutes each day simply to unplug, turn off the news and sit in quiet contemplation, allowing our psyche to truly absorb and reflect the challenges we face? How might that kind of quiet activism begin to initiate change, first in ourselves--and then in the world around us?

    ###


    NOTE: If you're interested in the topic of soul loss, you can read more about it in my essay, The Shamanic Perspective: Where Jungian Thought and Archetypal Shamanism Converge.


    Bonnie Bright is the founder of Depth Psychology Alliance, the world's most comprehensive online community for depth psychology. She has hosted interviews with authors and thinkers in depth psychology on the free podcast, Depth Insights, as well as editing the semi-annual scholarly e-zine of the same name. She founded www.DepthPsychologyList.com, a free-to-search online database for depth psychology oriented therapists and practitioners. She holds Masters degrees in Psychology and Depth Psychology, and is a Ph.D. candidate at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. Follow her on Twitter @bonniebright5 or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BonnieBright.DepthPsych

  • 20 May 2014 5:56 PM | Anonymous

    Jung went on to say, "The general function of dreams is to try to restore our psychological balance by producing dream material that re-establishes, in a subtle way, the total psychic equilibrium. This is what I call the complementary (or compensatory) role of dreams in our psychic make-up."*

    If dreams are indeed necessary for our individual psychological balance, it would behoove us to pay attention to them, just as we might consider taking nutritional supplements if our physical bodies are out of balance.

    How often do you learn from your dreams, write them down, and honor them--and the vast unconscious which brought them to you? If you are interested in working with your dreams, search for a Jungian depth psychology oriented dream worker here on www.DepthList.com

    Man and His Symbols (Kindle Locations 613-614). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

     
  • 21 Apr 2014 2:11 PM | Kim Hermanson, PhD
    One way to enter into the deep symbolic language of our soul is through a fairy tale. When we write a fairy tale, the words “Once upon a time” opens up a portal to another world. We have stepped into shamanic terrain.

    Every fairy tale is psychologically significant. The narrative and images that show up are metaphorical, not literal. These metaphorical images are powerful, because they’re working on all levels at once. They will show you perspectives and doors that you wouldn’t have seen in any other way. When you enter into this metaphoric terrain, there’s an expansion that happens. Space is opened up and you naturally see other options and possibilities that wouldn't have occurred to you. Your brain starts firing in a different way.

    Our creative process isn’t linear. It will make leaps, and your left brain may judge what you're writing and want to shut it down. Let go of your attachment to what you think this fairy tale should be. Welcome and write down anything that comes. Let the images that show up write the tale and simply record what they have to say. And they do have something to say to you.

    If you come to a place where you feel stuck, write the words “…and what I really want to say is…” and see what happens. Those words will help drop you down into a deeper level of wisdom and insight.

    Sacred moments are those that bring surprise. If we already know what’s going to happen, we’re not in a sacred moment. When we write a fairy tale, we are entering a sacred space where we don't know what's going to happen next. The more you realize that this fairy tale is a real place with real wisdom that you can tap into, the more it will reveal to you.

    For more on fairy tales, as well as a process for you to follow when writing your own fairy tale, a short video:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAVbcKlbDB4

    Kim Hermanson is adjunct faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Her recent course is, "The Purpose and Power of Image."
  • 22 Feb 2014 2:33 PM | Kim Hermanson, PhD

    Mythologist Michael Meade describes sacred occurrences as those in which the "seal that separates the worlds" is broken and Spirit enters through that break. In Doorway sessions, clients go through a portal into a sacred, interior place where they tap into their own metaphoric inner wisdom. The messages from this realm are clear, direct and immediate. Once we've received an image, there is no further analysis or thinking that we need to do.

    Valuing My Time: How a Metaphor Instantly Shifted Things

    I've often felt uncomfortable setting limits and boundaries on my time with people. I've struggled with feeling that I was being callous, or it was my ego. But in a Doorway Session I saw fruit falling off my tree...and the fruit was my time. My tree was producing fruit and if I didn't take care to harvest that fruit, it would hit the ground and be wasted. I had been acting like I had unlimited time and the image clearly showed me that I don't. My tree won't be producing fruit forever and it's my responsibility to harvest it now.

    After this image showed up, I had no energy about this anymore. Metaphors put an end to the stuckness, we're no longer in our heads analyzing the various sides of the issue: "Is it better for my business if I do this or I do that?"  Instead, we experience immediate truth. We all have such metaphoric inner wisdom available to us for any issue that we struggle with.


    I have two upcoming Doorways groups starting in March. For more information: http://aestheticspace.typepad.com/aesthetic_space/workshops.html

    Kim Hermanson, Ph.D. is adjunct faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute. To find out more about Doorway Sessions for Creative Breakthroughs: http://aestheticspace.typepad.com

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