Daily Archives: July 14, 2013

30 Days of Jung — Day 28: #Lifestyle #Bias #Prejudice #Individualism #Society #Culture #Psychology #Openmind


There is no “one-size fits all” of life.

Welcome to Day 28 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 a “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:

“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.”

C.G. Jung

I tried to find a word for the tagging in this post’s headline that was one word for “open minded” and so I plugged in its opposite, “bias” and then I found its antonym, “impartial” which was fine, but the problem with using that word for me is that it’s already a negative; it’s canceling out its initial meaning, so I won’t use it.

My husband came up with “free” but I can’t use that in a headline; it’s too out of context. Too… free.

I’m sitting here on my deck in the wake of last night’s ruling in the Trayvon Martin case in Florida. I’m not a current-events writer; I don’t see the need to get my undies in a bunch that way, there are always apolitical reasons to get my undies in a bunch… so today’s post will maintain that neutrality.

What I will briefly mention though is something completely banal and unexciting: gun laws.

I do not begrudge anyone for owning a gun, so long as it is legally carried, permitted and all that. I have issues regarding the type of guns that are somehow necessary when we’ve already established our freedom from England, but I don’t bother going into that.

I have friends who hunt. I was listening to a book on CD on our way home, Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup. It’s the personal memoir of a Maine widow whose husband, a Maine State Trooper, was killed while on his way to a call and her fulfillment of his retirement plans to become a minister. She became an ordained minister and chaplain for the Maine Parks and Forest agency. In her book, she talks about the men and women she works with and how they are mostly hunters and how she honors their lifestyle with new eyes because the way they eat, the way they kill deer is humane and cruelty-free in that the deer are free-range, organic, they are not born and raised for slaughter and for processing and pumped full of hormones and medicine; they eat what we provide, leave for them; they run and leap and mate and sleep in nature. When a deer hunter kills, s/he makes use of all of the animal, nothing (or not much) goes to waste and that the natural environmental fauna partakes in the ecological remnants and their circle of life continues with the intervention of man’s skill and weaponry. I emphasized the men and women she works with because I am fully aware that there are people who waste the animals, who kill not with reverence and restraint but with avarice and gluttony. Those are people I am not denying exist, but they are not people I’m going to talk about.

It put everything I’d thought about hunting on its head.

I ate some venison this week. My cousin is a hunter and he gave to us some of his venison as a gesture of gratitude for our hospitality earlier this summer while he was traveling. He killed the deer with a bow and arrow.

My kids were reluctant, “BAMBI?!” they grimaced and groaned.

“Yes, Bambi. Or his dad. Or his mother, cousin, distant relative from New York because I don’t know where Bambi was born, but I think it was California near the Disney studios… but yes, and it’s called ‘venison.’ You will try it because this is one animal that wasn’t raised for slaughter and we will honor it…” I said, smiling wildly and hoping they heard me.

They looked at me like I had three heads.

My cousin gave us the best part, the tenderloin, and on the way home from that trip when he presented it to us with a warm and sincere smile, we all listened to the Kate Braestrup story in the car.

Two days later, I prepared it in a way that I’d never prepared a meat before: with a quiet intention, gratitude for the deer. My knife slices were deliberate and kind. I felt an unusual sensation: a connection, if you will, to the animal. My husband partially softened strip bacon and I wrapped it around each tenderloin medallion, used a toothpick to hold it all together and they were grilled on our Weber out back. I served a salad I make frequently of spinach, red onion, tomatoes, avocado, strawberries, bleu cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.

The food was presented to the children. I have to say that they seemed to eat it differently, with an awareness, a softness I’d not expected.

My eldest had heard about this very recipe that my cousin had prepared for us all a few summers ago and didn’t tell us it was venison until after we’d taken our bites. I didn’t feel betrayed then, because I endeavor to be open-minded and I was his guest and I’d never refuse something that someone so clearly worked hard to prepare and share with us.

We can all go to a butcher, select some NY Strips, put them in some marinade and grill ’em, but what a hunter does, what my cousin did is so different: they set up for a couple hours ahead of the trip, they wait, they take their shot and sometimes they fail, sometimes they don’t on their first shot. Then they have to prepare their kill for transport. It’s hard work; it’s not for the meek and fancy. I honor my cousin and anyone who does this for hobby or sport with the honorable intention of expressing their gratitude and appreciation for the animal they kill.

This is the kind of gun control I can get behind. This lifestyle, of the hunter, is likely not for me. I prefer several degrees of separation between myself and my food, but maybe I should could revisit that mentality; that if I choose to eat an animal, that I should could will consider and express my sincere gratitude for the life it gave for me to live mine.

This isn’t about activism to me; this won’t make me watch “Food Inc” or “Forks Over Knives” any more readily than I would watch “Bowling for Columbine” or “An Inconvenient Truth.” I can’t easily tolerate such parity, but I allow it in others; I would never deign to tell someone else how to live.

I have a strong interest in physical health and mindful eating and exercise. I just do. I have seen what its opposite, mindlessness, does: blown-out tendons, my own calves when I ran too far in new shoes, aching muscles when I lift too much, vitamin deficiency, narrow-mindedness and judgement; then there’s another side of that coin: obesity, health risks, depression, structural breakdown and arthritis pain due to inactivity. There is no RIGHT WAY for anyone, but there has to be SOME WAY for all of us.

Expecting tomorrow to take care of itself and hoping that tomorrow will allow us that 45-minute slice of time to change clothes, lace up, get the water bottle, get the iPod (or whatever it takes, I have lots of gear like that, I love gear), turn on the treadmill or make sure the kids know where I will be and what route I’m taking … all that, takes preparation, but not a lifetime.

All I know is that health is paramount. I see what neglecting health does to all of us. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to go for a walk today or a run or a skate or a stretch: don’t be. Start today.

So yeah, there is no one-size fits all. I don’t tell anyone how to live their lives; I just hope that by doing my best to live mine in a way that works for me that I’ll maybe be inspiring to someone else; and I am always looking out for inspiration from someone else. This yoga retreat coming up is going to rock my world… in so many ways… I know it. I’m a little afraid too. But I do know this: I have my intuition to help me.

Right now, a gentle breeze is passing over my face and I’m listening to Patty Griffin singing “Burgundy Shoes” and she’s at the part (2:00) where she’s echoing herself, “sun … sun … sun … sun …” I can’t help but be inspired by the fact that every moment is a moment to recognize and celebrate our individuality and our commonality.

Thank you.

30 Days of Jung — Day 27: #Happiness #Balance #Humility #Survival #Thrive #Costco


I can’t help it. This quote makes me smile and think we’re all gonna be alright after all, like the theme song of the “Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

Welcome to Day 27 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:

“There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”

― C.G. Jung

I am very late with today’s post; a good 12 hours late. It’s OK though because real life has taken over in a big way and as much as I’ve been enjoying this little “therapy retreat” as one of my favorite readers called it, all good things must end and soon, we will be at our end here with this Jungian journey.

My, what a ride is has been though, huh? I will have no choice but to write a retrospective when all is said and done in a few days. Then I’m off to begin phase 1 of my yoga training; I sense that my brain is the perfect amount of mush now and is ready to take in even more woo-woo, as Kelly DeBie and Lillian Connelly and I call it.

I love the quote.

I often hear from my children (about whom I’ve not written much lately, sorry boys) from one to the other sounds of mirth or rage or defiance or jocularity or surprise or wonder and even, dare I venture: support. Sometimes, though, I just like the silence.

The silence means they’re busy. Maybe even reading and so it is often that I marvel over the silence and am equally thankful for the noise, because as Jung said, there is always a balance, and were it not for the balance we’d have no way of appreciating anything.

How would we know noise if we didn’t know silence?

How would we know joy if we didn’t know pain?

How would we know right if we didn’t know wrong?

I could go on and on… one more? Ok…

How could we know bad cereal if we didn’t have the goodness of Cap’n Crunch? (It has been too long without a Cap’n reference; I couldn’t help myself.)

But where do we strike the balance? Or do we strike the balance? We can be excessive. For instance, today I was at Costco. (I could just stop there….) I had this moment of quandary: how do I strike the Jungian balance of being a part of the world, but also maintain my selfness, my autonomy and my need for progress when the world seems to want to just stand there? And how do I get to stand still and just be, try to grasp what little I can of the time that fleets before me when the zeitgeist of the world moves too quickly for my taste?

Balance. Karma. Give. Take. Cheese. Combo.

I needed to order a pizza to bring home for lunch. Two registers were open, but the twenty or so people standing in the mob-blob in front of the registers were sort of mooing, bleating and clucking to themselves; there was no order, and it wasn’t as though they were a group trying to choose from the great vastness of the menu: plain or pepperoni, sandwich or a hot dog? Vanilla or chocolate? If they were standing in front of the soda machines, I could understand it, but not where they were.

One of the cashiers was trying to get the tall peoples’ attention, anything… he was waving enthusiastically, he said, “This register is open! I can take your order!” and the answer was more mooing and croaking.

Finally, an adroit member of the Costco cashier team said loudly, her hands cupped against her laugh lines (they’re always laugh lines on this cashier): “Two. Lanes. Are. O-PEN. Form! Two! Lines!” and her arms spread out with each index finger pointing at a beige IBM terminal, their green LED screens flashing, “Costco Food Court.” The mooing and clucking became “ohhh”-ing and “agh”-ing and it was as if Moses himself had divided the red sea.

The man in the white shirt ahead of me clearly chose the left lane. I stayed behind him. A mass of people moved to the right. I didn’t care or notice who was behind me, but I was definitely always directly behind this man and his white shirt. About four people were ahead of him. Out of the corner of my eye, behind me, definitely behind me, was this little woman and her two grandchildren. She reminded me of a very short Olympia Dukakis, one of my favorite actresses.

Was she in the right lane? Was she in the left lane? Was she aware? Was she accustomed to lanes, to order in Costco, the likes of which our Food Court Moses had manifested?

I could sense my space was being infringed upon.

I didn’t like it.

Normally, I honest to goodness would absolutely let anyone get in front of me who was encumbered by small children; I have been there and I would absolutely would allow a grandparent. Normally.

Yet, I wasn’t sure what she was trying to do. Read the menu? She wouldn’t look at me. But she got closer. Her wee charges pulling one arm one way and another arm the other way. Her salt & pepper hair was wavy and sagacious. One of the children moved directly in front of me; between me and Mr. White Shirt.

I was tired. I was hungry and I was totally aware of my Jungian responsibility to this woman: we are all connected. We are all one people. We are all the same. ‘Cept she wasn’t making eye contact. She started to move in.

The lane to the right was moving along; it was a couple people longer than mine, but it was moving as people were making orders like I would be and not actually need food served at the moment.

She stepped right into my path. She bumped into Mr. White Shirt. He turned to her, she said, “Oh! Sorry,” and she still didn’t look at me.

I cleared my throat as if I had the plague and I said to her, “I’ve been behind him since the lane formed. What do you need? Are you in a line?”

“It’s no beeeg deeeeeal! It’s nooo beeg deeeel!” She said, nodding and smiling.

I had to pee. I also had to find my husband who was still shopping. I was afraid he’d get the wrong 5-gallon tub of mustard. I hate it when he does that. I also had to order a pizza and I was also supremely thirsty.

I was still aware of my connection. “We are all one. We all have sadness and happiness; we all have fears and confidences; we all have wants and aversions…”  I said to myself.

I didn’t care. I mean, I did, so I tempered myself, but I didn’t care.

“It is a big deal; I need to order a pizza and I don’t know what you’re doing. I’ve been behind him. Are you with him? You can get behind me or that other line…” I didn’t growl, but I was firm. I also stood about a foot taller than she did; and I’m just 5’5″.

“It’s no beeeg deeeeeal! It’s nooo beeg deeeel!” She sings, smiles again.

White Shirt turns to look at me. He’s cute; looks like Benjamin Bratt. He looks at her. He turns back around.

She goes over to the other line.

I stand there, unfazed by it all, waiting for my turn to tell them “Pizza please: half-combo, half-plain, two drinks please.” It would be at least two more people ahead of me before I got to do that.

I look over and she’s already done. She’s on her way to the fountain drinks. I laugh to myself. She putters over to a table, I place my order and we go on our ways.

But the whole time internally I’m saying to myself, “Jung would beat me with his dead femur right now if he were here. He just would. I should have given my space to that woman; I should have gestured: you go ahead…” But I reasoned, “I didn’t know what she wanted. She just sort of bobbed in and out. She finished her business way before I did…”

And so I sit here, clearly exceeding my word limit as I explain this to you both, wondering: was that a balance today or was I just a Costco shrew? I try so often to be different from my fellow humans: to be aware (which I was), but to make room, to allow for the randomness and be equanimous (Wayne) with what’s going on. But today I felt as though I were the ignored one, as though she were trying to inch in, flashing her smile, avoiding eye contact and tweeting her “It’s no beeeg deeeeeal! It’s nooo beeg deeeel!” and I didn’t like it. Could’ve been cultural.

Gah! I’m such a shrew! Oh! Forgive me Olympia Dukakis of Costco!

I’ve read a lot over the years about “compassion” and how we can sometimes neglect ourselves for the benefit of others all in the name of compassion. For some reason today, I decided not to do that. Was I feeling a balance?

And she finished before I did. She moved on and I got to be.

“It’s no beeeg deeeeeal! It’s nooo beeg deeeel!”

Ain’t that the truth?

Thank you.