“My deep interior is a volcano, that pushes out the fiery-molten mass of the unformed and undifferentiated. Thus my interior gives birth to the children of chaos, of the primordial mother. He who enters the crater also becomes chaotic matter, he melts.” Carl Jung, The Red Book (pg 247).

As I descend in the dreamwork, I notice a movement towards a certain internal chaos. It manifests in the dreams as my world tilting. Sandwiched in between the projected trauma and the subtle and not so subtle stories of how I am in the world, are the feelings of pain, vulnerability, grief, loss, love and need. Then, suddenly, I am made disoriented or off balance in some terrifying way. It often seems magical and always chaotic or, as Carl would say, absurd. In the quote above, Carl refers to the descent into himself as entering the interior of a volcano. I see the movement in myself from the cool, solid, known surface of my “thinking” outer life into the chaotic fire of my “feeling” inner world. It is my journey, full of bifurcations and terrifying in its unknown possibilities.

I notice places in my dream where I am suddenly challenged with the possibility of a whole new reality or perspective, a new order out of the children of chaos.

Working the Cut

I notice my feelings of shy awkwardness in NOE class tonight when someone asks me how I am doing. “Good”, I say and immediately feel the discomfort of vulnerability. After all, she had just shared with me her very deeply personal place of where she is in her work. I can’t go into “chatty” Laura here, not with these people. I might get away with it, but it would be a conversation killer in this crowd. So, I tell her. I am working with my vulnerability and even just saying it out loud makes me uncomfortable. I feel my face getting red and realize that perhaps it is not because I am ashamed, which would always be where I would go if I felt my face turn red. Maybe I am not ashamed, I am just shy. I tell her that I am noticing how uncomfortable it is for me to be vulnerable.

I tell her that my homework has changed recently from “feel this” and “notice that”, which is to say, feel into the place from the dream where I touch upon a true feeling, (pain, vulnerability, fear, love) and notice when I jump away from these feeling through all manner of distractions (anger, blame, chattiness, compulsiveness, shame), to “working my cut”. Working my cut is a shift from “feel this” and “notice that” to: notice when I am in the spin, which in my current work is chattiness or aloofness, and bring the feeling of the shy vulnerable girl into my outer world reality. It may seem a small shift, but it is a huge difference. I can remember to do my homework at any given time, once an hour, 6 times a day or whatever, but when I am in the spin it is hard to bring it in. So, the end result is I do the homework less. Crazy, right? But what I have realized is that I do often notice the spin, but there is a real place of NO in me, a refusal to let go of the emotion I am attached to in the moment. I don’t want to stop being angry or chatty or down or ashamed. Somebody really did do me wrong. I am justified in my anger or hurt. Bravado has kept me safe. What happens when I let go? Then what? It is hard to let go of ME, the ME that I have built up over a life time. The ME that copes, deals and gets by. It is the fear that I must cut through, the fear of the vulnerability of standing naked, of being exposed.

It is hard to admit that it is a choice. It doesn’t “feel” like a choice when I am in the middle of an upset. Working the cut for me is a different way of doing the work and much harder in my opinion because it requires rigorous honesty, absolute commitment and a willingness to be in God’s will not mine. It requires a choice right in my most difficult moments.

Vulnerability, Where I am Not

What is vulnerability? What does it mean to be shy? I ask these questions of my therapist as we work through my most recent dreams because I don’t know how to be these things. I don’t know how to be where I am not. She continues to point out the “chatty”, aloof or bravado places that keep coming up in the dreams; how I jump out of my feelings of shyness or vulnerability by going into story. She asks me what that is about, what would happen if I didn’t do that. I tell her I don’t know. I ask her what would I DO? What would happen to ME? I don’t know how to BE in those moments.

I have an association between shyness and shame that is difficult to break. The type of shyness that comes from vulnerability can turn to shame if in our moment of vulnerability we are hurt, and especially if our vulnerability itself is shamed. To feel shy is very uncomfortable for me because it triggers a feeling of shame that causes me to jump away from the feeling. It doesn’t matter that the shame may not be real in the moment today, because my reaction is deeply grooved. Changing my most deeply grooved “instincts” is no small task. But each time I experience the psychic shift, where one set of values or ideas is uprooted and replaced with another, my faith grows. One could call these shifts spiritual awakenings. The dreams continue to show the splits in me; the places where the truth and the lie are at odds. The places where the real me is and where the persona or ego self, in its defensiveness, covers the real me. The dream carries the information which can lead us to the truth, if we are honest, open and willing to be where we are not.

The idea of being where we are not is discussed in the teachings from The Red Book in the Carl & Me class taught at the Center for Archetypal Dreamwork. Where God is, is where I am not. All of the ways I have lived and coped, all of the story of who I think I am is not who I am and therefore not where God is for me. I must go beyond where I am to where I am not. This is a difficult thing to do. I can’t will it to happen, nor can I wish it and make it so. I cannot demand it. I can only do my work and when it comes allow it and accept it.

The Hope

What does it feel like to not struggle? What comes after surrender? In my previous posting, as the boy, I fall to the ground feeling lost and hurt because I have lost Him. He wants me to feel into how I am lost without him. This is an unfamiliar, uncomfortable feeling for me to allow in. I have a lifetime built upon a persona of self reliance, independence, and control. In the dream, I feel the surrender but not the relief of the surrender. My instinct, instead of feeling into my loss, is to be frustrated, angry, upset. This is a familiar pattern for me. To be able to stay with the loss is the challenge.

I am with a man and we are standing up to our waists in the water trying to pull a boat off the shore. The boat is tethered by a rope. Every time we go to pull the boat out, the tether gets stuck or we somehow pull against each other. Then I am swimming under the water. I don’t see the man, but I feel his presence.

In the dream work, to be in the water, swimming under the water, breathing the water is to be in the human essence, in feeling. When I am no longer fighting against Him, I can be in the water. In the water everything is free. In this dream, there is limited visibility, no distractions. Everywhere is pale green and white, the color of sunlight deeply diffused in salty sea water. I don’t have to see Him to know he is there. I feel His presence all around me. It is comforting, a feeling to be captured and carried out into my outer world.

My homework from these recent dreams is to notice the “Cut”; to notice when I am thrashing around overwhelmed and lost and then be in the water feeling His presence.

This idea of the “Cut”, as far as I understand it, is a way of aligning the outer world with the inner world place of connection with the Divine, which comes from the dream work.

I see a girl holding a flame in her hand.

The hope. I see her, small and ethereal, showing me in a delicate outstretched hand. It is a tiny, yellow flame, beautiful and fragile yet illuminating the darkness with light. Not hidden, but held out, an offering. Puella Aeterna. The Eternal Girl.

I am that I am

From the dream:
I am a boy. My penis has been cut. A girl who is older than me checks out the wound. We both look at it and she takes it in her hand to move the bandage so we can see how bad it is. When she moves it, I feel pain and I tell her it hurts. She asks me if I understand that it won’t work right when I get older. I think she is wrong and I will be OK.

Reading this, you might think of this as a trauma dream. Certainly it is about trauma, but for me, this dream is a gift. I have had several dreams where I see the boy and I see his wound even when he does not (see my very first post in which the Anima pulls a huge creature from the boy’s backside and a recent post from my work in Bermuda where the boy has thorns embedded in his back but isn’t aware of them until I point it out). The difference here is that I am the boy. This means that I not only know the wound is there, but I see my wound on my own body and I feel it in a visceral way. This pain is not the pain of trauma, but the pain of knowing the wound. It is real. It hurts in a physical way. Being the boy with my wound also allows me the real gift of the inner knowing that the wound can be healed and that I will be OK. The boy knows this and as the boy, I know it too. To be the child in the dream is the goal, because when we are the child we are in our true self, our soul self. The soul self that cares nothing for things of this world and knows its own true need.

The fact that my boy has been attacked and had his penis cut speaks to the way that I experienced reactions to my boy energy as a young person. I am that I am. Despite the fact that it was the 60’s and early 70’s, my parents were of a different generation. Girls weren’t supposed to act the way I did. I was the tomboy girl who was daring and fast, funny and exuberant. I hated dresses, I didn’t like girly things, and I wanted to be like the boys. My father told me girls don’t play the drums. He scoffed at the idea of me being an archeologist. My mother, terrified of my passion, libido and expressiveness, sought to crush it out of me, break my spirit, put me in my place.
Did you ever feel like something was taken from you; something beautiful and free, some part of yourself that inexplicably went missing. How many of us, as children, have had bits and pieces stolen from us, pieces stripped from the bone of our souls? We turn to the human “God” animal, for love and support and we experience judgment, criticism, disinterest, or sometimes violence. Our true self slowly or abruptly sinks away, goes underground, into hiding and we don’t even know it. Occasionally we might experience the aching feeling of loss which we try to avoid at all costs, with booze, drugs, relationships, pursuit of wealth, shopping, work, causes, and all manner of other distractions. In the dreamwork, as I have begun to experience feelings of pain and loss, my instinctive inclination is to jump away. I think to go to the feelings of loss and the accompanying grief, I might disappear in it. I will suffer; it will hurt. I never saw that the real suffering was in the avoidance.