Tag Archives: psychotherapy

Dear Therapy, (dispatches from the bunker)


I’m at this ever-so-familiar point in my experience with you, which is inevitable.

Transference. That fantastic adolescent stage of The Work when I become a snarky dismissive teenager again.

I’m assigning to you whatever emotions, biases, fears, hostilities and actions I would to a person of significance in my life. At this juncture, despite my obvious progress, it all becomes Mother, again. You are my Mother. Your agent, another ever-pleasant and helpful therapist with the wingback chair, low lighting, doilies, sets of clocks and tissues, commercial carpeting, collections of I’m OK, You’re OK books, posters explaining states of emotional identification, is Mother.


Editorial note: buckle in. This post goes all over the place but lands without much turbulence.

Due to my track record, and my intellectual tendencies to do all I can to learn about “law of diminishing returns in therapy” and to debunk the “value of long-term psychotherapy” I have to say that I am yet again at a crossroads: I don’t like this … this occasional visit to you to tell you about my nocturnal dreams (heaven forbid my life ambitions) and memories and the pattern I exhibited in choosing some friends (boy- and girl-) who were like Mother: distant, brilliant, funny, competitive, self-absorbed, unreachable, private and terrified.

Two weeks ago, the death of a former friend whom I’d unknown (read: hung on every syllable) more than 11 years ago rocked my world. She was all the things I’d apparently (and unwittingly) looked for in a friend. The news and my reaction at first were other worldly, as though on a ticker tape: “HUMAN FEMALE CONTEMPORARY OF REMOVED YET SIGNIFICANT PERSONAL HISTORICAL CONTEXT ON SEPARATE EXISTENTIAL PLANE HAS EXPERIENCED CELLULAR AND SOMATIC FAILURE. CHECK BOX HERE TO ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIPT OF THIS DATA. THIS MESSAGE WILL SELF-DESTRUCT IN … 60 DAYS.”

She is the first of my mommyhood friends to go to God and she was young, vivacious and super-involved. After initially processing the news, I thought I was ok. What I was unprepared for was the just-hours-away first shipment of hungover emotional detritus ranging from authentic heart-wrenching sadness to fervent antipathy due to how things died between us. How from the beginning I was dazzled by her glitter trail, slack-jawed and dazed like a five-year-old in Health-Tex clothes and Mary Janes at the tetherball pole and almost two years later, at 34, wrapped soundly by the tether around the pole as she slapped the ball again and again and again ever tighter.

I felt compelled to perform. To join in the chorus of mutual persons who knew her and voice my once-knowing of her. To be a part of something, despite my personal perspective, which likely everyone else was feeling: her loss. I shared on my Facebook wall about her some kindnesses and candor: that our relationship had ended years before, but that her loss was significant to me nonetheless. Most of all, I was sad that I would never see her again and thus, the exchange of another awkward civility between us was impossible. Everything I wrote was sincere. I took it down after a few days because I felt sticky, as though I didn’t belong: those people still deeply loved her. I share this here and now, likely at risk to my friendship with mutuals, but that’s how life is. I’ve never been a faker. When we share these intricacies with people and then they die or we divorce from them, our loss of them also become a loss of ourselves as well, I think. That part of us / our relationship (or co-identity) we have and which they held (in their own value system) has ceased to be held. It’s “floating” out there, vulnerable and alone. That can be hard. 

Our relationship imploded, as many have, due to my allegiance to and advocacy for my children over the relative intensity, tenure and we-all-know-it’s-really-not-healthy but we-will-deny-it-because-its-easier friendship with this person. Just like so many others. So many others with people who so energetically reminded me, in one shape or another, of my woeful habit of picking people who were stunning/terrified, cheerful/angry, energetic/hostile, altruistic/competitive, ____ and ____ and ____… and ____ (read: just like me) to populate my consciousness.

As Rumi said in his poem “The Guest House”:

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

he may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

Yet here’s the difference, this time: I am wiser. I understand now that my “selection” of those vipers (energies) in my life had little to do with them, and everything (or at least more) to do with me. This is what maturity has given me: extremely poor distance eyesight and a mirror to hold at 18″ away. That somewhere in the lineage of all these souls, are lessons about myself. About my predilections (will I EVER spell that word correctly?) due to history.

Rumi continues,

the dark thought, the shame, the malice.

meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

be grateful for whatever comes.

because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

‘Guide from beyond.’ I like that.

I’m done with saying “conditioning.” At some point, I must cease blaming this stuff on my former life and wake up to the pattern and see that the tenor of familiarity in those people is what hooked me — because honestly, I KNEW.

Not two months after she vaporized from my life, I’d lined up another vacuum. And then four more in two years’ time. If I’d just slowed down for a few breaths, stepped back, checked in (as if a 34-y.o. pregnant mother [with braces and bad hair] of 2 boys under 6 could really do that: STAYBUSYSTAYBUSYSTAYBUSYSTAYBUSY BLOCK ALL INTUITIVE FEELINGS) and assessed, I would’ve walked run. I would’ve kept things high level. But there was something in ME. Every single one of those people was just like me: floundering. We just didn’t know it. I’d like to chalk it all up to battle shock, loneliness and sadness from her exodus, but no. It was me.

In retrospect, at almost every relationship genesis, the other person was in pain and I think I was there to save the day. Not to assuage their pain (initially, anyway) but to somehow apply my kindness to them to alleviate the guilt I unconsciously felt about my mother and my inability to fix her and have some semblance of normal. (Now I know it wasn’t my job — that this is all part of the lesson, the journey in life that we are all on — we are here to do the best we can with what we have and love one another, no questions asked, and mind our own business while at the same time effecting peace and harmony as much as we are able. Right?)

Oh Therapy…  the magnifying-glass-under-the-sun, focusing-on-the-leaf feeling I have toward myself (me, being the leaf, the sun and the glass, all at different times) and my hesitancy to go forward with your agent? What of that? True to my other -ections, I need a goal. I need to have an end point, an expiration date. A “best used by” date. Something that tells me, some form of pee-on-the-stick, get-a-prick-of-blood test that tells me… I am good. And not just “good” in the sense of how my father would say, “We’re good…” as in “has everyone used the bathroom and we’re good to go?” -good:

he will make good his promisefulfillcarry outimplementdischargehonorredeemkeepobserveabide bycomply withstick toheedfollowbe bound bylive up tostand byadhere to.

But GOOD… (have you ever looked up “good” in the dictionary? My word….) — these are great:

for good those days are gone for good: foreverpermanentlyfor alwaysevermoreforevermorefor ever and everfor eternitynever to returnforevermoreinformal for keepsuntil the cows come homeuntil hell freezes overarchaic for aye.make good 

TRUE EXAMPLE!:if I don’t get away from my family, I’ll never make goodsucceedbe successfulbe a successdo wellget aheadreach the topprosperflourishthriveinformal make itmake the grademake a name for oneselfmake one’s markget somewherearrive.

That good. The “those days are gone forever -good.”

My mother has died. Corporeal and somatic and cellular death occurred over a year ago. 19 months, 7 days and 20 hours ago. -ish.

I would like to move the fuck on. For good.

Being a student of life, an examiner, a truth-teller and a “seeker” (whatever the what that means), instead of moving the fuck on, I instead have found myself dissecting the lint from my navel and wondering about shit which simply doesn’t matter any more.

I have been given numerous “signs” to move on. Signs and messages that have told me “All is well” and “You have been written a blank check by God” and “For every shame there is a star.” Those are the audible ones. The supposed more subtle ones are the breath-by-precious breath fact that I am here, every day, aspirating and exchanging gases with the trees and the grass.

There is no “thing” I’m doing “wrong.” Therapy is …. Not my mother, but I’m beginning to treat it as though it is: I’m dismissing it, arguing with it, wondering about its value and its harm. My therapist is lovely — as transference (in my case) dictates, I’m polite with her. I’m talking and “listening” and nodding and “Oh? Yes… Well…” -ing while at the same time … inwardly hostilely wondering, “What the fuck is the point of this? Can’t we just exchange casserole recipes and be done?”

I told her yesterday, “I miss my sense of humor.”

“Really? What do you mean?” she asked.

“Well, I used to be really flip and funny, before …”

“Before what?”

“Before this. Before therapy. Before ‘help’ and ‘healthy’ got in the way…” I squirm in my chair. Instead of looking away, I look right at her. With dead, laser eyes and a sneer beginning its curl on my upper lip. “Oh, I know… it was a defense …”

She said nothing.

I continued. “Was it wrong? Maybe. No. It wasn’t. But it was certainly more fun than this.” (Pass the sugar, my venom is getting acidic. I need you to think it’s a nectar first….)

She adjusted herself.

I sat there. Put the old well-intentioned pillow (covered in who knows what) on my lap. I wanted a blanket. I trusted no one. I knew I’d done it, was in for it. I was expecting some sort of comment along the lines of, “Well, I don’t take much of what you say with any weight. At least you’re you. Much of what you say is figurative emotionally, loaded with a lot of irregularities. And I don’t take it that seriously…” which is part of the rambling and incoherent voicemail message my mother left for me three days after my birthday a few years ago. The other part of the message is the blaring daytime television talk show playing in the background. She left the message on the heels of yet another argument we’d had when she called me earlier in the week to say happy birthday to me and then remind me that it was she who should get the presents because she did all the work, “HEE HEE.” My eyes rolled so much they spun themselves out.

“But it was all a joke, don’t you see, Mally. You take everything so seriously…”

God, I’m screwed.

What do you do with that? Yes, I still have that message. Part of me says, “IT’S POISON! GET RID OF IT!!!” and the other says, “NO! IT’S DATA! IT’S PROOF!” and then another part of me says, “You’re 47. Move on.”  To which I reply, “Move on and keep it –move on? Or move on and delete it –move on?” It’s hard to decide.

Why? Because like most of us, Mom had a different face for each place. I’d like to say that I’m pretty consistent, but the fact is that we’re all a little scared inside. Hence, the faces.

So, Therapy, what do we do?

A message I woke with in my head this morning was “This is life. Everyone has their shit to deal with. The more you inspect it, the more you find… How much more do you want to find? It’s all about you anyway — your deflections and projections and transferences and ruses to throw Therapist off the scent by bitching about other people are all about you anyway… YOU DO KNOW THIS… Accept it. Accept what’s yours, learn what you can and grow up. Cut it out.”

Her wings are her fingers.

Her wings are her fingers.

It wasn’t quite that Joan Rivers-esque, but it was close. Wouldn’t it be funny if my Messenger were Joan Rivers? It would be The Best.

Mother is gone and I have learned. The latent vipers I welcomed have also vacated. I don’t give all my bandwidth to the vacuums anymore and yet… . Egads, I don’t want to be a vacuum. So this requires Radical Acceptance of what is and screw the rest. After all, what are we going to do? Unring a bell? That’s crazy. The thing is: we all have stories. We all have -isms.

My goal, I just realized 20 minutes ago when the computer locked up and I was concerned I’d lost all this post (which I hadn’t), was that I think I’ve have resumed with Therapy was because I had a certain, alien, expectation of Therapy, that I would emerge from it somehow taller, Scandinavian, in fabulous boots, and perky. That all my shit would be gone and my baggage replaced with a new set of Louis Vuitton — all of it, from the key fob to the casket — and I’d be ready to pack in new experiences, taller experiences.

I honestly thought I would be scrubbed of stuff. It’s like when I rowed in the stroke seat for the first time; the coaches just automatically assumed I knew that I wasn’t supposed to pull the hardest, but that I was simply supposed to set the time. Well, I did both, and I screwed up my back. I wonder how many other people think that Therapy somehow has a new YOU waiting at the end of the ever-distant and moving finish line? But that’s not it, is it? That’s not at all how it goes. I’m going to emerge emerging wiser and older with my same mismatched luggage, two rolls of animal print duct tape, some WD-40 (one of the small cans, I’m 47 after all), and toolkit instead of an array of showy new designer luggage and casket.

And that’s the point. We are who we are, with all our baggage and shit and we can still get fabulous boots. 

I’m feeling that when I bring this wagon back to center, that when I identify with these moments of transference and realize that they are really about ME, then change can happen. 

We’ve got this. 

 Thank you.

30 Days of Jung — Day 10: #Addiction #Morality #Psychology #Irony


Day 10! I’ve made it 10 days! I’m a third underway! This is great! Today’s quote is like yesterday’s: simply good.

Welcome to Day 10 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.

“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism.”
C.G. Jung

Oy. Let’s get on this. End the count at 1,160.

Hello, my name is Molly and I’m an awarenessaholic with a specialization in tongue-biting and nag-suppression.

I try to be good about it. I don’t talk much about the lapses I see when other people become totally unaware: when they yell at traffic, yell at their kids, comment about how someone is dressed, or groan about something and then take a swig. I just take notes and learn. I’m no better; I groan about something and stomp around, grouse or hole up in my office and write about Jung. Sometimes I hop on the rowing machine or beat up our heavy bag. Usually, I try to just chill out though, let the moment pass.

Sometimes, I do get involved if it’s over the top as in the time I saw a woman rage on and physically abuse her three-year-old daughter for showing off her own belly button at the take-out line in a Red Robin restaurant. The little girl was clearly in pain and the mother was unconcerned. It felt like it was a habit. People in the room were visibly disturbed.

I was totally aware of what I was doing, in fact I was aware of the surge of adrenaline coursing through my body and amping up my larger muscles when I calmly approached her and said,

“Hey. Look at my face. Are you looking at me? Can you hear me? I’m a mom too. Please stop freaking on your kid, it’s just a belly button. If you do it again, I’ll do it to you and we’ll have ourselves a problem.”

Her response: “I’m a nurse, I know what I’m doing. I’m not hurting her.”

My response: “You’re a nurse? That’s supposed to impress me? Remind me to never need your medical expertise. Lighten your tone with your daughter and loosen your grip on her blanched forearm. Now.” She did what she was told and then she sneered at me. The toddler rubber her arm, looked at me and hugged her mother’s thigh.

After they left, a muslim woman came up to me later and told me she would pray for me because she wished I was there for her when she was that young girl and her mother slapped her across the face and into the next room. She showed me the scar on her cheek from the ring that cut her. I tensely smiled and nodded almost imperceptibly; I was was ready to rumble quite honestly, but I appreciated her prayers.

I used to be held that way by my mother. It hurt then and I can remember it now. My dear husband tried to stop me from walking into a parking lot one time by bracing my forearm and I almost flipped him. That’s when I realized: I better start paying attention to what I’m feeling. Then that’s when the awareness bus came and took me away to AwarenessLand, a fun-filled carnival experience for all people who would like to know better.

So thinking about that Red Robin incident: was I unaware when I decided to approach? Even my husband was going to say something, but he saw the cut of my jaw and the blaze in my eyes and knew I was going to say something after the third time the mother slapped the child on the top of her blonde head. For my husband, it was a matter of preventing a cat fight.

So I try not to be the morality police; I try to let people make their own mistakes and not do unto others as I would have them do unto me, but … it’s hard. I don’t have all the answers, all I have is my experience and my perspective and I hope my wits. I’ve been on a therapeutic journey of late to better sync my emotional side with my intellectual side.

For years I thought everything, I did’t feel it. I rationalized and intellectualized so-called grievances and offenses and branded them as reasonable or not. That perspective gave me a quick albeit insufficient solution to what I perceived as major problems and once the problem was “solved” I filed it away.

The game changer for me came up when I was stuck: when I could not make my emotions agree with my thoughts. This happened about a year ago and the process to rewiring my emotional assessments with my logical appreciations has been exhausting but I’m seeing the payoff now. I’m not so stuck anymore and I can make assessments faster and act on them rather than wonder if what I was doing was “right” or “morally correct.”

When it comes to behavior and synthesis, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The one the works is the one which brings you clarity or peace.

So my “result” has been “morality” in the vein of “mindfulness” and “self-awareness.” Yes, I treat it like an Olympic sport sometimes, and I know it drives some people nuts. They ask me, “Why do you have to think so much about these things? Why can’t you just let this go?” but to me, I need a deeper appreciation. And it’s not so bad that to process it all, and I’ll tell you: I know when people are into it or they aren’t, but I have yet to find someone who isn’t interested in a conversation about being a better person. Sometimes I let it go… it will come back in another form (it always does) and maybe I’ll try it again.

I’ve known addicts of many stripes. They are all the same: they lie, they barter, they hide and cheat and steal to get a fix. I am a recovering addict of chaos. It sounds funny, but it’s true. I would create problems in order to solve them or have relationships with certain people (as a commenter said, “you can smell your own”) in order to stir up crap in my life so that I could be unhappy or troublesome and then complain about it or blame it on other things: I’m tired, I drank too much last night, she cut me off, he didn’t thank me…

I HAD NO CLUE. I have since cleared my life of all those people from my past when I was unconscious (what term “unhealthy”) and if there are still hangers-on, I have developed tools to help me deal because many people, even if they’re chaotic, have wonderful qualities too.

Have I made it my life’s mission to educate people on awareness? I can’t lie. I try whenever I can with my boys and whenever it’s welcome with others. But sometimes, it’s not welcome, and that’s when I’ve joined the “tongue-biters” club.

Thank you.

30 Days of Jung — Day 9: #Awareness #Discovery #Unconscious #Psychology


THIS. This is why I’m still doing this series; this is why I started in the first place.

Welcome to Day 9 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.

My first exposure to Jung was in college, naturally, when I pronounced his name with the hard “J” sound; I also pronounced “Goethe” as “Goy-thee” and was summarily laughed out of English 101. I also pronounced “Tucson” as “Tuck-son” when I was little and was also laughed at by assholes scholars. Did I say that? Anyway, when I read Jung’s “What irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves” back in college, I was in. Jung, to me, was the one badass who was willing to Call People Out for their crap; he was like the “Oh Yeah?!” guy who you need just before a knife fight in a darkened city parking lot.

So today’s quote is this stuff, this heady stuff which is why I love Jung so much:

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
C.G. Jung

BOOM! Jung drops mic, walks off the stage.

End the count at 1,290.

I’m a woo-woo person; I like to believe that fate guides us. I also like to believe in free lunches, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and Cap’n Crunch. I know that the “I am where I am meant to be” mantra helps prevent overwhelming angst, but I also know that those concepts, while stress-relieving for the most part (and that’s where for me their benefit lies) are also … sort of … well sometimes a load of crap.

For example: My son has a guitar lesson. It’s a five-minute drive. I can choose to leave eight minutes ahead of the start time to give him a chancy 3-minute cushion (a segment of which I can blame on ill-fated -timed lights, a car accident, or a Kashi Go-Lean -filled little old lady who drives 15 miles per hour in a 40) while waiting for the lesson to start. Whatever the scenario, the choice is mine. I can continue to give me that possibly stressful 3-minutes, thereby making my son a nervous tic for the first ten minutes of his lesson or I can consciously decide to leave ten minutes early and get to the lesson several minutes early.

I know what I need to do. But here’s Jung hissing (’cause he’s dead) over my shoulder: “But what do you want to do?”

Another case in point: I’m a little hungry and I’m writing most of these posts 12 hours in advance and so just now, I wanted (unconsciously) to go eat a brownie, but as I approached, I actually felt the shift in my consciousness, and I chose a cheese stick and water instead. I heard myself say to myself, simply because I am writing this post, “Self, if I eat the brownie, I will regret it because it’s all sugar and I’ll be pissed later because it certainly won’t help me stay healthy.” So I growled at myself and got the cheese stick (pepper jack, thank you very much) and a big bottle of water and while I’m not exactly thrilled I chose against the tastier treat and I know that the cheese will satisfy me longer, I am psyched that I noticed the shift in my consciousness and chose the healthier option.

Basically this quote to me is the “prove it” quote. As far as I’m concerned. it only applies to adults, by the way. We all have stories. We all have suffering and we all have joys. What this quote means to me is that we have a choice, again. It also feels like it’s also about fear, again.

In order to grow up, pull up our big people panties and stop blaming “fate” for our lives, we need to wake the hell up and take stock of our lives and commit to living the best possible way we can. If we are asleep / unconscious, we continually focus on fate as being what we’d rather use as ammunition to blame our current predicament on (obesity, bad marriage, bad job, crappy relationships, parenting challenges, addiction, etc.).

Say there’s someone who complains about their second marriage and troubled relationships with kids and friends and that the lack of self-esteem is blamed on a crappy childhood and sexist parents and everyone else is the problem. Let’s say this person drinks a bottle of wine every day, during the afternoon with lunch, y’know, because we all do that, either with friends or alone and then more with the spouse at dinner despite it being against doctor’s orders. Add in some inappropriate emotionally adulterous relationships with other, much younger people even though the spouse is bending over backwards to give attention and by all accounts from this person, demonstrations of love and support, even if somewhat controlling (due to worry). This person continues to see the patterns, even suggests depression but stops therapy because it’s “too hard” and continues the obsessive bad habits and unhealthy relationships. These behaviors all sound like unconscious desperate attempts for attention because they are regardless of the interventions and psychiatric help. So one day I posit: “If you were reading about this person in People Magazine, what would you think? Does this story sound like someone who’s got it together or does it all sound a few DUIs and a custody battle away from a ‘LifeTime True Stories Original Movie’?”

The answer, “I know, but…”

So it continues. That person is unconscious and is calling this fate.

I shrug. If I’m not careful, my unconscious could take over and ignite my addiction to chaos (which I’ve written about extensively) and I’d be in the movie too. So I walk away.

Speaking of walking…

I just watched Nik Wallenda cross the Grand Canyon from 1,500 feet up on a tight wire that was two inches in diameter. It took him 22 minutes. Doing anything consistently for 22 minutes without a break is hard, I can’t imagine it on a tight wire in the wind. He was carrying a 45-lb, 30-foot-long beam held by a yoke across his shoulders. That dude? He wasn’t unconscious; he wasn’t calling this his “fate!” He was aware, focused, determined and quite connected –in every possible way– to the elements: he was aware of the wind, he was wearing leather booties, he was wearing skinny jeans (!?) and he was praying and praising Jesus like an Olde Tyme Preacher, but maaaan… he was conscious.

Do you think he blames “fate” for his ability to cross? Do you think he’s any different from me and you? Sure, he has tons of training, but other than that, he looks like any average American middle-aged man who’s spent his Saturdays at the ball park. He wasn’t a beach body, he wasn’t super tall or fabulously handsome. He wasn’t even charismatically fantabulous; he’d probably bore me to tears at a picnic, but:

THE DUDE HAS CHARACTER and consciousness. We all have that potential. We all can be conscious and take control of our lives and stop looking for things to blame, which until that day we choose otherwise, have been our main reason we might not be truly happy.

Thank you.

30 Days of Jung — Day 8: #Morality #Reason #Monkeymind


I see this quote and I feel like shouting at dead Jung, “Hey, dead maverick psychologist: judge much?!”

Welcome to Day 8 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:

“The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.”
― C.G. Jung

End the post at 1195. Please.

I feel like this quote swings between sense and nonsense.

I suppose though it’s up to me to determine if I’m going to include a quote but I’m not going to be arbitrary. I’m taking this stuff as it comes.

Ok. Context. Let’s make some stuff up: nonsense.

Sense and nonsense: news reports. They tell us lots of stuff, most of it completely immaterial to our daily lives. They mostly report on what has already happened. If you watch the news where I live it goes like this:

“A newborn baby was discovered in the lion’s den at the National Zoo today; it was speaking in tongues, no one knew what it was trying to say; the baby was unharmed but the lion was hidden in the corner whimpering and shaking; anyone with knowledge of this baby is asked to let the lion know that it was nothing personal.”


“A fire broke out today in the cotton candy district; firefighters struggled for hours to get the blaze under control; the Department of Public Works expects the town to be sticky and smell bad through Memorial Day weekend dampening the spirits of many Revolutionary War re-enactors.”

Really? I’m being a bit totally smug about this, but there’s not much we can do with the news that the news reports. To me, that’s nonsense. To watch the news is nonsense. To me.

Recycling: I do it. I don’t waver between sense and nonsense or right and wrong on this. It makes sense to me do what I can to assist in the slowing of our planet’s eventual death. This is verging on political (nonsense) so I will stop (sense).

I was watching a Discovery Channel show, “North America” today and they had a ranking of the top 10 best places for natural wonders on the continent. The Sequoia National Park was in the top three I think. I see those big old trees and I get totally emotional. I can’t explain it and I don’t think I need to. They are majestic — absolutely humbling and they deserve every ounce of our respect. Is that nonsense? Is that sense? Is that right? Is that wrong? I don’t obsess over it, but I care. I move on. I have Cap’n Crunch to eat after all.

Another snapshot: our health. Do you think about your health? Maybe thinking is the issue; maybe what Jung is getting on to is that when we think we don’t really act; maybe that’s the sense versus nonsense he’s talking about.

I know that when I think about my health, I look at all of it: genetics, what I can and can’t do or stop, what I need to get going on again, and whether it will make me healthier or at least keep me from getting less healthy. Is that nonsense? It’s sensical, right? Up to a point. Eventually, if I just talk about it, as I eat an entire box of Cap’n Crunch at once and then complain that the Cap’n three-stripe yellow bits in the cereal are manifesting on my midsection and my skin is taking on that creepy yellow Fritos glow then eventually even I want to slap myself with a spatula. Yesterday I complained; today I got on the ergometer and humiliated myself. I’m out of shape. But not for long.

What about conflicts with people? We can think and think ourselves to death about the conflict or we can take action. So I’m thinking that the perpetual thinking (the pendulum) is the nonsense; in order to make sense of it we must follow up with action? So in terms of conflict: I can think about my role in it; my ability to continue the role in it or my ability to say no more and make a choice. Then that choice must be followed by action.

Does it mean I’m right if I choose one way over another? No, it just means I’ve reached my limitations about something and I need to change course.

See, this is where this quote jacks me up. I see where the pendulum swinging can be a real drag; so what I think he’s talking about here, but it wasn’t included in the quote because enough people thought like everyone else and didn’t include any context is that action is what makes the difference. It goes back (as far as I’m concerned anyway) to Day 5 when Jung said that we are what we do, not what we say we will do.

I don’t feel as though there’s much more I can do with this quote. I feel as though our minds are mostly within our control; we can choose to be sensical or nonsensical. I find the latter to be annoying at times, but completely necessary in order for us to rest, rewire and recharge. What do I consider to be nonsense? “30 Rock”; “Bruce Almighty” any classic, old Looney Tunes cartoon involving Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Sylvester; “Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail”; “Tropic Thunder” a game of corn holes, a game of any kind. A run, a long run with my amazing dog who JUST THIS MOMENT stepped up to greet me with a wet nose on my forearm.

Murphy says it’s time to stop trying to make sense of this quote and I totally concur. The sky is partly cloudy today and it’s almost 80 degrees. Time for a walk. Time for some nonsense.

On a personal note, I hope you are enjoying this series. I do hope you’ll stick around because the next few quotes are HUM-DINGERS and naturally, I’ll be on vacation, so I’ll be “working” from the beaches of Canada. Yes, they have beaches in Canada. Maybe when I’m all done with it I can look back and see how I’ve changed some of my perceptions and if I still want to beat the crap out of poor Carl Jung.

Please comment! Argue with me! Tell me you like Chex cereal!

Thank you.