Depth Psychology Blog

It's time to get off the island

29 Jun 2013 1:48 PM | Kim Hermanson, PhD
Do you ever feel that there is so much more to you and you don’t know how to tap into it? Or do you spend too much time of your precious time lost in confusion and overwhelm? Here’s a quote from John O’Donohue that beautifully describes my work in Doorway Sessions:

"Sometimes on a human journey a person can stay marooned on the surface of their minds, suffering the devastation of doubt, confusion and great turbulence, while the whole time just a couple of inches deeper, there was a vast world within them, a wonderful interiority, an eternity of great life and vision and memory and possibility, nesting in the deep clay of their hearts, that they never even knew was there." [from "Wisdom from the Celtic World" CD]

Metaphoric images are the language of this deep clay realm. Metaphors naturally arise in our speech (“stuck,” “lost” and “overwhelm” are all metaphors!); but to experience the transformative power of metaphor, we need to open space for it to show up. One method I frequently use is fairy tales…. fairy tales are naturally metaphoric, and they open a pathway for us to enter the ancient, “clay” world that O’Donohue speaks of in the quote above. Once a metaphoric image has arrived (no matter how vague or simple) we can follow the path that leads to its wisdom.

Metaphoric images have beauty, grace and elegance. As individual paths of healing, we might see ourselves “standing on solid ground,” “weaving a beautiful tapestry” “deeply immersed in rich soil” or “flying freely on the back of a spectacular multi-colored bird.” Our minds aren’t creating these images for us. Instead, we have to let go and open ourselves up to whatever the metaphoric realm has to say to us. When we do that, we receive the specific images that shift us into a new place of expansiveness and possibility.

One metaphoric image that comes up frequently in Doorway sessions is a spacious, loving circle. It might sound quite simple, but experiencing its presence is profound and beautiful, and “stepping into” the circle invokes shifts, healing and transformation. To hear what the circle has to say, here is writing from a recent Doorway session:

I am a spacious circle.
I am very gentle,
that's what people don't know about me...
my gentleness.
The gentleness comes from love.
There is no forcing here,
it is about holding things
in their natural, beautiful state.
When people allow me to hold them like this,
their natural beauty expresses itself.
That's where all the hidden beauty is,
in the hearts of these people
who are letting me hold them.


If you'd like to find out more about Doorway sessions, click here: http://aestheticspace.typepad.com

Kim Hermanson, Ph.D. is adjunct faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute and holds a PhD from the University of Chicago. She is the author of Getting Messy: A Guide to Taking Risks and Opening the Imagination.
 
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