Category Archives: reading

Escapist reading – two haiku

Through a gate of words
My heart escapes its fear. Rests
In other minds’ dreams.

Do I spend too long,
Safe but lonely, inside my
Paper-walled fortress?

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Songs

“Songs are ways that human beings explore emotions. They express who we are and how we feel, they bring us closer to others, they keep us company when we are alone. They articulate our beliefs and values. As the years pass, songs bear witness to our lives. They allow us to relive the past, examine the present, and to voice our dreams of the future. Songs weave tales of our joys and sorrows, they reveal our innermost secrets, and they express our hopes and disappointments, our fears and triumphs. They are the sounds of our personal development.”

Bruscia – The dynamics of music psychotherapy”

Masculine and feminine creative forces

Further thoughts on creativity, confidence and love:

I’m still reading Women who run with the Wolves (Clarissa Pinkola Estes), and came across a very interesting section that’s relevant to my last post:

“By classical Jungian definition, animus is the soul-force in women and is consdered masculine… Animus can best be understood as a force that assists women in acting on their own behalf in the outer world. Animus helps a woman put forth her specific and feminine inner thoughts and feelings in concrete ways – emotionally, sexually, financially, cretaively and otherwise…

“But when there is damage to the animus through all the myriad forces of culture and self, something very weary, or mean-spirited, or a deadness some call ‘being neutral’ interposes itself between the inner world of psyche and the outer world of the blank page, clear canvas, waiting dancefloor, boardroom, gathering.

“There is an odd phenomenon in the psyche: when a woman is afflicted with a negative animus, any effort at a creative act touches it off so that it attacks her. She picks up a pen… thinks about applying to school, or takes a class, but stops in the middle, choking on the lack of inward nourishment and support.

This really strikes a chord with how I have been feeling lately about my efforts to take forward my singing. And I think I can see a bit more of why I have been feeling this way.

My emotional life and my creative life are deeply entangled. While I was together with my ex, he was like an external animus so powerful that it left me with very little need to draw on my own internal resources. Ironically it was him who told me how, by trying to meet others’ needs, we can end up unintentionally weakening their ability to take care of their own needs – I didn’t realise until it was too late how much he was doing this to me. Unfortunately when he tore himself out of my life, he not only suddenly withdrew that support, but also damaged my confidence through the reasons he gave for leaving. So in many ways I am left with my inner animus weaker than it had been before, and I have a lot of work to do to rebuild that.

“How to banish this pollution? By insisting nothing will stop us from exercising the well-integrated animus, by continuing our soul-spinning, wing-making ventures, our art, our psychic mending and sewing, whether we feel strong or not, whether we feel ready or not. It is essential, even though often painful, to put in the necessary time, to not skirt the difficult tasks inherent in striving for mastery. If you would avoid hambre del alma, the starved soul, name the problem for what it is, and fix it.”

Inner and outer predators

I’ve just started reading Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women who run with the wolves. Some passages speak to me very profoundly… like the following one:

“This fact is one of the central truths… that all women must acknowledge – that both within and without, there is a force which will act in opposition to the natural self, and that that malignant force is what it is. Though we might have mercy on it, our first actions must be to recognise it, to protect ourselves from its devastations, and ultimately to deprive it of its murderous energy.

“All creatures must learn that there exist predators. Without this knowing, a woman will be unable to negotiate safely within her own forest without being devoured. To understand the predator is to become a mature animal who is not vulnerable out of naivete, inexperience or foolishness.

“The youngest sister represents a creative potential within the psyche. A something that is going toward exuberant and fissioning life. But there is a detour as she agrees to become the prize of a vicious man because her instincts to notice and do otherwise are not intact…. She is not only naive about her own mental processes , and totally ignorant about the murdering aspect of her own psyche, but is also able to be lured by pleasures of the ego…. It is to be hoped that she will finally open the door to the room where the destruction of her life lies. While it may be the woman’s actual mate who denigrates and dismantles her life, the innate predator within her own psyche concurs.

“In the tale, the sisters slam shut the door to the killing chamber. The young wife stares at the blood on the key…. now the naive self has knowledge about a killing force loose within the psyche. In this state the woman loses her energy to create, whether it be solutions to mundane matters in her life, or her concerns with compelling issues in the larger world, or with issues of spirit, her personal development, her art. This is not a mere procrastination, for it continues over weeks and months of time. She seems flattened out, filled with ideas perhaps, but deeply anaemic and more and more unable to act on them….

“We can say what we like, present the most smiling facade, but once we have seen the shocking truth of the killing room, we can no longer pretend it does not exist. And seeing the truth causes us to bleed energy even more…. A starved soul can become so filled with pain, a woman can no longer bear it. Because women have a soul-need to express themselves in their own soulful ways, they must develop and blossom in ways that are sensible to them and without molestation from others.

“Ironically, both aspects of the psyche, the predator and the young potential, reach their boiling point. When a woman understands that she has been prey, both in the outer and inner worlds, she can hardly bear it. It strikes at the root of who she is at centre, and she plans, as she must, to kill the predatory force. Meanwhile her predatory complex is enraged that she has opened the hidden door….

“When opposing elements of a woman’s psyche both reach their flashpoints, a woman may feel incredibly tired, for her libido is being drawn away in two different directions. But even if a woman is fatigued unto death with her miserable struggles, no matter what they might be, even though she be starved of soul, she must yet plan her escape; a woman must force herself forward anyway.

“This is the more profound initiation, a woman’s initiation into her proper instinctive senses wherein the predator is identified and banished. This is the moment in which the captured woman moves from victim status into shrewd-minded, wily-eyed, sharp-eared status instead.

“When women surface from their naivete, they draw with them and to themselves something unexplored… In the end several things occur. One is that the vast and disabling ability of the predator is disabled in a woman’s psyche. And second, the blueberry-eyed maiden is replaced by one with eyes awake, and third, a warrior to each side of her if she calls for them.”