Tuesday, March 29, 2016

REVIEW OF #JamesHollis THE MIDDLE PASSAGE by Garry Goff


A man’s journey to find the Answer of Why and How

Searching for answers is a journey with many dead ends, paths to frustration, bridges requiring time to build, and occasionally finding an accurate map/guide who points you truthfully through the fog of life. That “accurate guide”, for me was James Hollis’ book The Middle Passage, published by Inner City Books. I had recently completed two books on the topic of Meaning and began searching Carl Jung as a result. I stumbled across The Middle Passage in a book search on Amazon.com and ordered Hollis’ book. The first page of his Preface declared what my thoughts had been screaming as a direct result of frustration with life, now in my late 50s:

“…the capacity for growth depends on one’s ability to internalize and to take personal responsibility…In a 1945 letter, speaking of the work of personal growth, Jung wrote: The opus consists of three parts: insight, endurance, and action…”

In this reading of the first pages I gained clarity from the fog of frustration - responsibility to act, a choice which was mine only. This was illumination in a dark room of my last decade of living. Could Hollis’ writings give me tools to build my life on rock-bed instead of beach-sand? Intently I continued reading hoping for continued guidance.

“Our lives are tragic only to the degree that we remain unconscious of both the role of the autonomous complexes and the growing divergence between our nature and our choices”

Incredible words of clarity. I saw what I was blind to today as well as when looking back. The pain of my past was requiring, no forcing me to consciously acknowledge my nature and my choices. There are reasons and now questions about those “reasons” are being answered. Continued reading brought words to my conscious requiring me to act: authenticity, obligation to view, projections, the possible path, etc. And then what I desperately yearned to acquire appeared in Hollis’ pages - Hope.

“One of the most powerful shocks of the Middle Passage is the collapse of our tacit contract with the universe - the assumption that if we act correctly, if we are of good heart and good intentions, things will work out. We assume a reciprocity with the universe. If we do our part, the universe will comply…there is no such contract, and everyone who goes through the Middle Passage is made aware of it”

Now I understand, now I get it. Not only that I am not alone - I am comforted in my pain. My pain of the First Passage has caused me to “see” the Middle Passage so as to live life passionately. As James Hollis concludes his book with the metaphor of a castaway on a ship being tossed by the sea of life - I have chosen to grab the steering thanks to the author’s intelligent promptings based on his study of Carl Jung’s teachings.
Piloting vs. Passenger of my Middle Passage,

Garry

aka “Joe Pilot@EagleDriver22” Follow Garry on Twitter @EagleDriver22 



Sunday, March 13, 2016

Reading companions for the ‘dark night of the soul’


An archetypal motif in mythology and psychologically associated with depression and the loss of energy, the dark night of the soul is an important stage of the quest for deeper knowledge, as Joseph Campbell said:

“The dark night of the soul comes just before revelation. When everything is lost, and all seems darkness, then comes the new life and all that is needed.”
Journey through the dark night of the soul with these reading companions:
Swamplands of the Soul : New Lifein Dismal Places by James Hollis - Who does not long to arrive some distant day at that sunlit meadow where we may live in pure contentment? Yet much of the time we are lost in the quick sands of guilt, grief, betrayal, depression and the like. Perhaps the goal of life is not happiness but meaning.

World Weary Woman : Her Wound and Transformation by Cara BarkerA World Weary Woman is one whose characteristic response to stress is to struggle to achieve. However, she feels little joy in the process, suffering a disconnection from her feminine body wisdom and her creativity. Her task is to find a way of living authentically that allows her to express what awakens her heart. The provisional life exhausts her and she knows it. Thus she must detach from who she has been, in order to discover who she is meant to be.

The Middle Passage : From Misery to Meaning in Midlife by James Hollis - Why do so many go through so much disruption in their middle years?  What does it mean and how can we survive it? The Middle Passage shows how we can pass through midlife consciously, rendering the second half of life all the richer and more meaningful.

Archetypes and Strange Attractors : The Chaotic World of Symbols by John R Van Eenwyk - Is chaos in our lives a sign that things have gone terribly wrong? Not necessarily. Just as the material world oscillates between states of order and chaos, so also the individuation process involves stages of psychic balance and disruption.



Monday, February 29, 2016

FREE BOOK DOWNLOAD – Digesting Jung : Food for the Journey by Daryl Sharp






Digesting Jung provides readers new to analytical psychology with the main ingredients of Jung’s work and how they might flavor a life.

In the book, Sharp covers complexes, archetypes, instincts, the four typology functions, the persona, the shadow, anima/animus, the Self, dreams, projection, neurosis, the analytical process and the way of individuation. Each chapter begins with an extract from Jung’s writings which Sharp then fleshes out – explaining, expanding and illuminating each idea. The brilliance of Sharp lies in his capacity to distill the complex concepts and ideas of Jung so that they become truly accessible and this makes this book invaluable for the reader new to analytical psychology.

This book moves the reader beyond the mere realm of thinking into a heuristic journey of self discovery, as Sharp says in the book:

 “True healing does not happen in the head.  It occurs through feeling-toned realizations in response to lived experience …. Thoughts ‘in the form of an experience’ have a transforming effect because they are numinous, overwhelming.  They lead to a more balanced perspective: one is merely human – not entirely good (positive inflation) not entirely bad (negative inflation) but a homogenous amalgam of good and evil.  The realization and acceptance of this is a mark of the integrated personality.” (p.60).  

Digesting Jung, is illuminating, thought provoking and “stimulates the reader to ruminate on what is happening in his or her own life and the unconscious factors that for good or ill influence the lives of each of us.

The book is full of provoking questions, encouraging you to discover and become aware of the way in which you function, to assess your attitudes and behavior in a given situation and adjust them accordingly:

“…in this situation, with that person, how did I function and with what effect? Did my actions truly reflect my judgements (thinking and feeling) and perceptions (sensations and intuition)? And if not, why not? What complexes were activated in me? To what end? What does this say about my psychology? What can I do about it? What do I want to do about it?” (p.20) 

As Sharp says “Jungian analysis is not about improving yourself or making you a better person.  It is about become conscious of who you are, including your strengths and weaknesses” (p.58) so that “the truth of yesterday … be set aside for what is now the truth of one’s psychic life” Marie-Louise van Franz, Redemption Motifs in Fairy tales, p.85).


DIGESTING JUNG : Food for the Journey is available as a free download by the generosity of its author, Jungian Analyst and Publisher of Inner City Books. Download the book by simply clicking on the title above.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

BOOK REVIEW OF THE SURVIVAL PAPERS by Robert G. Longpr√©— Through a Jungian Lens


I first read the Survival Papers: Anatomy of a Midlife Crisis in the 1990s when I was beginning a delayed journey through my own midlife crisis. As I read these words in the introduction to Daryl Sharp’s book, I saw an uncanny image of myself. Daryl Sharp had nailed it:

“This book is written for those in their middle years, male and female in more or less equal numbers, who have always managed quite well, have held down a job, perhaps married and had children, and then one day find that nothing works any more.”

This was me, a male who had held down a job, got married, had children and not quite all that sudden, found out that nothing worked anymore. Like so many others over the years since Sharp’s book appeared, people such as myself have discovered hope in the story of Norman, a fictional character who serves a role of analysand in the story, and a second role of illustrating complexes in action, the various faces of archetypes who lay beneath the surface of the human psyche. Norman becomes all of us and we recognise ourselves in him.

Likely the greatest value one is gifted with is the guidance through the unknowns of what happens, and the value of psychoanalysis. When midlife crisis disturbs one’s life with a conflict between the life one is living, and the sense that something is gravely missing, then and only then is there a need to enter into analysis.

“That is why the process of analysis is unproductive unless there is an active conflict. As long as outer life proceeds relatively smoothly, there is no need to deal with the unconscious. When it doesn't, there's no way to avoid it; we are automatically confronted with the other side.”

When I found Sharp’s book, I was already seeking counselling help but felt frustrated because it just wasn’t much more than a bandage approach to trying to fix whatever it was that felt broken. Reading the book, I gradually realised that Jungian analysis was my only hope for dealing with the shadows that hid in the darkness, shadows that had declared war on my ego.

I continued reading, highlighting so many sections that spoke out to me as though I was hearing echoes of a buried voice. Bit by bit as I turned the pages of his book, I began to believe that analysis might just be what I needed. There was no promise of being fixed. If anything, the only promise seemed to be that I would end up digging deeper and deeper into the layers, peeling one layer away at a time as if I was an onion. As Sharp went on to wander through the process of analysis with Norman, I saw that I had been invited to begin a journey that would be both enlightening and threatening. I immediately thought of the journey that Odysseus had taken across seas and foreign landscapes, a journey that ended with him finding his way home. In the process, Odysseus had changed and home had changed. That was the only promise that was given as I read the book. It was enough. I was hooked

It wasn’t long before I found myself devouring other books by Daryl Sharp and the other Jungian analysts who were featured in Sharp’s publishing venture called Inner City books. Encouraged by all that I read, I was ready to commit to working with a Jungian analyst, especially when I finally fell flat on my face and didn’t think I would ever stand upright again. Sharp’s book, The Survival Papers turned out to be exactly that for me, a route to survival.


Robert G. Longpr√©— Through a Jungian Lens

Saturday, January 30, 2016

BOOK REVIEW - ANOTHER PIECE OF MY HEART : The Badger Trilogy Book 2



Daryl Sharp, I have just finished your book, ANOTHER PIECE OF MY HEART: The Badger Trilogy, Book 2.  In the busyness of the days, I had to wait for the right time/space to enjoy.  

The back cover describes the work beautifully - it is a delightful page-turner and I was surprised when it ended - sorry not to have another page to turn.  It is also "deceptively" simple!!   It reminds me of those analytic hours where nothing serious seemed to happen but you know something did - you can't quite describe it.  A great part of the psyche was felt and perhaps the big Self got involved too.  

You have taken your reader into the world of a man who now can describe 'what happened' to him after a life-time of relating to Jung, analysis, reflection, containment and the opening of oneself to Eros.  The 'mixed blessings' of the messenger's life coalesce in a delightful see-saw of human experiences from the mundane to the sublime.  And every so often, we feel the see-saw of life suspended momentarily in that weighted perfect balance - the one we always tried for as kids.  And then it's back to the ups and downs of the ride and all the push-ups that entails.  When you touch-down on the lonely, lower realities of the dark nights, the music comes on and you push off the ground again, as does the reader - but still feeling they have touched the ground – that it will happen again and again but the Eros filling the ride imbues the reader with the belief that what goes down must go up again. 

The elements of whimsicality, chance, fate are everywhere present but over time, the puppet comes to realize that he can relate to the puppeteer and help direct his own show.  The puppet becomes more flexible and cooperative (sore feet aside) - after all, he is a puppet (or badger, why not) and nothing else to do but succumb to being one.

And that is Eros – a veritably swing, see-saw, jungle gym in your own turret – a playground for the psyche.

J.P, AC Review of Books, Toronto





Thursday, January 7, 2016

Preface Extract from THE SECRET WORLD OF DRAWINGS A Jungian approach to healing through Art by Gregg M. Furth


Interpretation can paradoxically help discover a particular kind of beauty in a drawing. Whoever has made a drawing often judges his picture according to external aesthetic criteria, and he therefore tends to underestimate it in view of his limited means of pictorial expression. Here, interpretation can help the patient change that viewpoint and those criteria. Namely, it allows him to experience that, deep insider, his unconscious is allowing for a surprisingly accurate expression of is emotional state of mind; this, in turn, allows the patient to experience the deeper knowledge reigning beyond his conscious intentions. In the end, it is only interpretation that permits the patient to change over from subjective opinions on the actual aesthetic creativity of his drawing to a better understanding of the autonomous psychic reality it expresses. In this sense, interpretation in one way leads to a reductive summary of the picture, but rather to amazement – on the part of the patient as well as the therapist – at the wisdom of its fundamental creativity.

Gregg Furth eminently succeeds in conveying this feeling of respect towards the drawings he discusses, while at the same time inviting their methodical exploration. He lets the reader feel that picture interpretation is both a mysterious game and scientific work. In this sense, his book is a superior introduction to the right spirit and competent practice of picture interpretation.


Dr Paul Brutsche

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Tributes to Jungian analysts, author and Inner City Books Publisher Daryl Sharp on his 80th birthday



 Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote,
The only gift is a portion of thyself. … the poet brings his poem; the shepherd, his lamb; the farmer, corn; the miner, a stone; the painter, his picture; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing.
Daryl has brought a wealth of gifts – his own books, and the works of many other Jungian Analysts. His own writings, written with wit and humor and human warmth, are pearls of insights. If as has been said, the meaning of life is to find your gift, and the purpose of life to give it away, to share it with others, we can only congratulate dear Daryl, who truly is living the individuated life, sharing the wisdom of the inner city, so that the world becomes a less noisy, and more meaningful place. I congratulate you, Daryl, and wish you many more years of joy, happiness, meaning and sharing!
Jungian Analyst and author, Erel Shalit, Tel Aviv 

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I met Daryl Sharp about twenty years ago as I made my way through a book called the Survival Papers which I had found out about earlier that same year while at a conference where someone had told me about Inner City Books and that they were publishing books by Jungian analysts. Since I had a decades long interest in Jungian psychology, I decided to take a chance and order three books from this publisher including Daryl's book. It was a risk that has paid off in many ways over the years as I built a sizeable collection of the books published by Inner City including most of Daryl's books.

About two months after receiving these first three books, I placed an order for ten more books. I was surprised when I received a letter from Daryl before the arrival of the books. He had noticed that the books were being sent to a town in Saskatchewan where he had spent a number of years as a youth. It was the start of regular correspondence between the two of us. You can imagine my immense pleasure upon receiving a Christmas card from Adam Brillig.

Over the years I have taken the liberty of quoting from Daryl's books as I use photography as a medium to bring Jungian psychology to the attention of those otherwise not familiar with Jungian psychology. I know that I owe my success over the years to Daryl who made Jungian psychology come to life. Thank you, Daryl on your eightieth birthday.

affectionately yours, Robert Longpre of Through a Jungian Lens

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On behalf of myself and The Centre for Applied Jungian Studies we would like to congratulate and wish you well on the most auspicious occasion of your 80th birthday. May the following decade bring you much joy, good health and the opportunity to continue your work in our field. The gift you have given the Global Jungian Community, both through your publishing house and your own writing, can hardly be overstated. We are very much in your debt.

All good wishes, Stephen Farah, The Centre for Applied Jungian Studies

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Nine years ago as I scoured the internet in search of some understanding of Carl Jung’s work I stumbled upon the work of Jungian analyst, author, publisher and bon vivant, Daryl Sharp. Amongst the pages of his books I explored the work of Jung and saw how Jung’s work might flavour a life. Since then my life, other people, the world has become, for me, far more interesting.  Through these two great men, Jung and Sharp, I have been brought face to face with the many facets that make up who I am, I have learnt to name and claim my shadow and my complexes.  I have learnt that it is okay to live my nonsense. I have learnt to strive for wholeness not perfection and perhaps most importantly I found questions that guide me, that orientate me towards living an authentic life. Thank you Daryl for your amazing books that have inspired, flavored and transformed my life! Happy birthday! 

Tasha Tollman, The Jungian Book Club


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Happy 80th Birthday, Daryl! We all extend our sincere gratitude to you for your enormous contributions as a Jungian publisher. The Jungian world owes so much to you for the riches you have brought to us all through the many great Jungian authors and works that Inner City Nooks has made readily available, such as Marion Woodman, James Hollis, Anthony Stevens, Marie-Louise von Franz, Aldo Carotenuto, and so many, many more. I also acknowledge with great gratitude your contribution as a Jungian pioneer in Canada. Without your many contributions, including a founder, and for very many years, helmsman, of the Ontario Association of Jungian Analysts, the Jungian presence in Ontario would only be a very dim shadow of what it is today. In addition to these impressive contributions, I can also speak to Daryl’s great gifts as a analyst from my personal experience. I came to Daryl as an analysand at a time in my life when I was completely depleted and without answers, and over several years, worked with him in analytic work that I can honestly say has been the single most transformative experience in my life. Thank you for all the difference you have made to so many people, Daryl, and to the entire Jungian world. As you would be the first to say, I wish you all the good luck in the world as you journey forward. With every good wish for your 80th, and very many happy returns.



Friday, January 1, 2016

The Kallichoron Well by J. Gary Sparks For Daryl

I arrived around midnight.  The flight had been delayed for several hours.  When I got to the hotel I found my reservation was mislaid, and there was no free room.  My suitcase and I had no choice but to set out in the bleak night for a hotel with available room.  After about an hour and a half I finally succeeded—a fleabag room in a rundown hotel.  The room, on the top floor, was immediately next to the large electrical motor that ran the lift.  Who could sleep next to that?

I didn’t want to sleep anyway.  I had imagined the moment of laying my eyes on it ever since I could remember.  I took my street map in hand and went in search.  No matter where I went I couldn’t find it, only a fenced-in park that always ended my route.  Surely the map must be old or badly drawn, I thought.  Finally, about three a.m., in this sleeping city, I looked for a place to sit and recoup.  I saw a light just ahead, the warm glow of what must have been the one taverna open in all of Athens half way to dawn.

I sat at an outdoor table, ordered a birra, and threw my head back.  There it was on the hill in front of me, bathed in the whitish-orange streaks of spotlights, burning its way into my brain.  No wonder I kept missing it.  I had forgotten that the word acropolis derives from two conjoined words meaning, “high place.”   Rightfully so.  In my mind the acropolis reflects one of the high moments of our Western civlization, the birth of free choice.  At least the struggle for free choice, no matter how imperfect that struggle might have been.

The next day, little sleep or no, I headed out to the first locale on my list.  The temple of Demeter at Eleusis, modern Elefsina.  A bus ride took me there in about 45 minutes, and then a pretty raven-haired, olive-skinned girl directed me along the streets to the sanctuary’s remains.

I spent the day wandering the archaeological site.  It’s a massive space, with a view to the water and with the (at least) twenty-five century-old ruts from the wagon wheels carrying initiates to it still visible in the stone slabs forming the ancient road to the ancient entry.  Once inside, I lingered long at the Kallichoron Well.  Was I perhaps unknowingly waiting for the Greek woman who walked past and merely said to me—in English, “that’s where she grieved for her daughter”?  Yeah, grieved.

At the signal for the site’s closing, I walked out the large entrance gates.  In a quiet mood from the enormity of what happened there those thousands of years ago still working in me, I looked up.  The signage of the restaurant just outside the sanctuary said it all.  The restaurant was named “Slow Food.”

Why bother with Jungian psychology and Jungian analysis?  It is a long, slow and often painful process.  There are faster methodologies.  With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy you can retrain your thinking to live a happy and prosperous life.  The reductive approach of Psychoanalysis—by reductive I mean explaining present suffering as mistaken suffering held over from past causes, does work.  Understand the past and “poof” the suffering can be gone.  There is some validity in both approaches I have come to accept after nearly forty years practicing as a Jungian analyst.  Sometimes pain is just too much, and what relief to get rid of it.  The birth of personal freedom in the face of misery is no small matter, and the hell with theoretical niceties.  But those forty years have taught me something else:  the value of the kind of free choice that comes out of the slow food articulated so eloquently by C.G. Jung.

In his most recent book Pocket Jung (I write on the eve of his eightieth birthday—ample proof that the good don’t always die young) Inner City Books’ General Editor and Paragon of Mischief, Daryl Sharp, starts off quoting one of my favorite from C.G.:

[T]he individual will never find the real justification for his existence and his own spiritual and moral autonomy anywhere except in an extramundane principle capable of relativizing the overpowering influence of external factors.  The individual who is not anchored in God can offer no resistance on his own resources to the physical and moral blandishments of the world.  For this he needs the evidence of inner, transcendental experience which alone can protect him from the otherwise inevitable submersion in the mass. (Sharp, p. 7; Jung, “The Undiscovered Self,” Collected Works, vol. 10, par. 511.)

Choice—freedom, is, finally to life at depth, a necessary but not sufficient condition.  Psychology typically understands choice as freedom from, freedom from distorted thinking, freedom from repeating the pain of the past.  For Jung, however, choice and freedom are not finally described until freedom from becomes freedom to.  Freedom to become anchored in and the servant of, as Jung says, an extramundane principle, a transcendental experience.  True, we must be free enough to entertain the reality of the extramundane and the transcendental.  But, in the last account, meaningful freedom only emerges when our freedom serves something bigger.  This something bigger and the way to it is the subject of Jung’s entire scientific research and heartfelt authorship.  That way is indeed slow food.

I know of no other person, outside of the first generation of Jungians (Marie-Louise von Franz, Barbara Hannah, E.A. Bennett, Liliane Frey-Rohn, Gerhard Adler, C.A. Meier, Rivkah Kluger, to name a few … I’d also include Edward Edinger and Marion Woodman in this list), who has done as much to make Jungian psychology available to the wider public as has Daryl Sharp.  His Inner City Books has navigated the treacherous waters of economic survival and respect for the individual so rare in today’s corporate universe.  We Jungians are all small potatoes in the megalith of a profession increasingly dominated by insurance companies and the half-baked practitioners who kiss butt with quick pseudo-fixes, appealing on paper to the quantitative mind.  Daryl’s ear to the individual voice of the small author has given the Jungian soul a chance to express itself, to place its words within the grasp of the intelligent layperson, words which otherwise would have withered without a hearing.  Thanks to the books Inner City has published, it is clear that the spirit of Jung’s work and all it entails lives on and with a living platform. 

As Athens was working its way to sunrise that night when I was moved by the sight representing to me the birth of the struggle for choice, and as the sanctuary of Demeter the next day reminded me of the slow and difficult road in birthing that choice to a meaningful service for life’s greater dimension, so Jung’s work has stared existence in the face at its deepest roots.  As Jung tirelessly demonstrated, choice is given its dignity through the something bigger of transcendence, meaning, and service.  Thank you Daryl for your role in preserving that legacy.


And, Happy Eightieth Birthday most esteemed friend.