Hello! Today is day 21, meaning I’ve been at this for a long enough time to be making it a habit. Did you know that? It takes 21 days to create (or break, which is obvi, also creating, just in different form) a habit. Confession: I’ve not written anything for this series for 21 days straight. I ruefully admit that; if I’d not gone on vacation though I would have. The technological restraints made it next-to-impossible.
Rueful. Hmm. That’s a feeling. Let’s get on with it… writing in the moment for the moment.
Welcome to Day 21 of “30 Days of Jung,” my series, wherein (soon, I will start repeating myself, like now) I take a famous quote of Carl G. Jung‘s and try to make sense or refute or invert or disembowel it or where I turn into a heaping pile of mush because of it in 1,000 words or less.
If you don’t know who Jung is, he formulated the theories of introverted and extroverted personalities, the stages of individuation, the basis of the “Meyers-Briggs” personality (INFJ / ESFJ, etc.) tests. He’s the “father” of modern-day psychoanalysis. In short, he’s a badass. But he’s dead, so he can’t be with us today.
Here is today’s:
“Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling.”
― C.G. Jung
I said ‘rueful’ above. I know what it means and I meant it. ‘There is no conflict between thinking and feeling.’ Where is the wisdom in my situation right now? Oh, it’s there alright; it’s just being ignored because I sense I’d rather (which I really can’t believe, but yet I can due to my unconscious penchant for chaos) get down on myself for not doing something for 21 days in a row because it was nigh impossible technologically.
Some, Jung for instance, might even go so far as to suggest that I chose to begin this theme, “30 Days of Jung” with my vacation in the midst of it (truly in the midst now that I think about it) because I knew it would be impossible and that I knew it would cause myself some angst and then I could beat myself up about not actually writing about Jung for 30 days continuously and then I could then challenge myself to do the impossible again which is to write about it during my upcoming yoga teacher training retreat.
A wise chaosaholic, such as myself, would further suggest that I’ve added on that task so that I could create more drama and problems for myself which could then distract me from getting even more proactive things done and effecting healthy behaviors.
I hate that wise chaosaholic. She’s always right. The wisdom in her knows the limitations were there and that despite those limitations, the posts were written or seemingly written daily for anyone who is following them and regardless of whether or not I was writing them every day, they were certainly on my mind, percolating every day.
But then there’s the skeptic (active chaosaholic) in me who says, “That’s just an illusion; you weren’t really writing those every day… sometimes you wrote three in one day… that’s cheating.”
Like any normal person, I turn into the wise recovering chaosaholic in me and say, “Shut the hell up. You’re just beating yourself up. What matters is What Matters, and this little argument doesn’t matter. You prepared for the vacation, you put the quotes on your reading list to access offline, you read the quotes, you thought about them, you ‘whateverized’ them and they showed up. The rest is details. The fact is: you got this done on time and in time on ‘on budget’; don’t listen to the pot-stirrer, little Miss S-disturber. You rocked it. This is beyond ‘good enough’; you’re honoring the commitment you made and you’re doing it. Whether you’re writing every day isn’t the issue; you’re thinking more about deep stuff in 30 days than most people do in a lifetime and that is Work.”
So I win. The wise recovering chaosaholic reigns and the conflict between thinking and feeling is neutralized.
Do you do this to yourself? Do you have loved ones who do it to themselves? This negative self-talk that can take up an entire day or for some an entire lifetime and then we cycle back with guilt and then shame for the guilt and then we do something irrational (meaning unrelated) to move on from it?
On the way back from Canada, we listened to The Little Prince on CD. This year marks the book’s 70th anniversary. It was read by the amazing Viggo Mortensen, who does such an enviable job of getting into the Little Prince’s mind and thoughts and feelings. I remember seeing the book at my aunt’s house as a child and thinking it was for boys, so I never got interested in it. But now, having three boys as a mother, when I saw the copy at the Barnes & Noble (sorry, no indie bookstores near me) I scooped it up.
There’s a part in the book where the little prince visits seven planets and each one was inhabited by at least one man whom he happened to meet. All the men on the planets seemingly represented by the seven deadly sins and the one that kept striking me throughout the story was the “drunkard” (who probably represented gluttony); which “plunged the little prince into a deep depression.”
“What are you doing there?” he asked the drunkard, whom he found sitting in silence before a collection of empty bottles and a collection of full ones.
“Drinking” replied the drunkard, with a gloomy expression.
“Why are you drinking?” the little prince asked.
“To forget,” replied the drunkard.
“To forget what?” inquired the little prince, who was already beginning to feel sorry for him.
“To forget that I’m ashamed,” confessed the drunkard, hanging his head.
“What are you ashamed of?” inquired the little prince, who wanted to help.
“Of drinking!” concluded the drunkard, withdrawing into silence for good. And the little prince went on his way, puzzled.
I think this attracted me so much because I know that shame. I know that feeling of hopelessness and sadness and the need to ‘forget.’ But this quote of Jung’s, about wisdom tells me this: don’t try to forget. Try to learn from what you are ashamed of, try to learn from the feeling of shame and sit with it and honestly ask yourself, as the little prince did, “why are you trying to forget it?” Instead: turn into it, pick it apart and examine all its folds and in those folds we will see things we hadn’t before; we will have a truer understanding of what makes us tick. We will have wisdom.
ps – I was afraid of this quote when I looked at it last night; I was afraid I’d not be able to do it justice. But as usual, it wrote itself today. The vacation was good. I will try to remember this post for awhile. Staying in a place of shame because of the standards we brace ourselves against certainly doesn’t help us forget it. And forgetting does us no good; we can’t learn.