Finding the SELF through Folklore

books
“Though fairy tales end after ten pages, our lives do not. We are multi-volume sets. In our lives, even though one episode amounts to a crash and burn, there is always another episode awaiting us and then another. There are always more opportunities to get it right, to fashion our lives in the ways we deserve to have them.” ― Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Clarissa Pinkola Estés wrote the bestseller “Women Who Run With the Wolves” , a collection of folktales interpreted from a woman’s perspective, revealing the archetypal wild woman. With her easy-to-grasp writing style of a storyteller, she appeals to women who want to find more meaning in life. Her interpretations help us find such meaning by getting us in touch forgotten qualities, she says, that have been dangerously tamed by a society that preaches the virtue of being “nice.”

Dr. Estes found the wolf-woman parallel while studying wildlife biology.

“Wolves and women are relational by nature: They are inquiring, possessing great endurance and strength. They are deeply intuitive, intensely concerned with their young, their mate and their pack.” She also writes: “Yet both have been hounded, harassed and falsely imputed to be devouring and devious, overly aggressive, of less value than those who are their detractors.” ~ A Savage Creativity

She defines the wild woman archetype not as uncontrolled behavior but as a kind of savage creativity – the instinctual ability to know what tool to use and when to use it.

“All options are available to women,” she said, and adds, “Everything from quiescence to camouflaging to pulling back the ears, baring the teeth and lunging for the throat.”

Women who have always been taught to be nice do not realize they have these options. She said, “When someone tells them to stay in their place, they sit and stay quiet. But when somebody is cornering you, then the only way out is to come out kicking.”

Yet everything about nature is essentially wild, too.

“We need to see and understand that whatever stands behind nature is what God is. Nature is the manifestation. We see things about nature that are beautiful, like the blue sky, and it fills us with almost a prayerful excitement. When I look at it, I feel still. I have seen this sky every day of my life and I am still in awed by it. That is what the wild is – this intense medicinal beauty. To look at it makes you feel whole. To hear it, if it is ocean or water running in a stream, is to feel made whole again. To see a thunderstorm or a lightning storm is to somehow be energized by it. Even tornadoes and earthquakes– to be rocked to your very foundations by the power made in all these things. This wildness is in every human being, so a man or a woman would essentially be no different from one another at the very elemental core.”

Being in touch with the wild woman archetype is also about getting in touch with one’s soul. Dr. Estes says,

“The soul – just as it is – is complete. It is never doubted, it is never lost. The ego may become injured. The spirit may also become injured, but the soul remains, always. I think the soul is incredibly ineffable and you cannot really talk about it. We make pictures and tell stories, but in reality, we are reaching into a dark bag and trying to describe it in a poetic way – because we can never describe, in common words, what it is that we feel and see.

Little Red Riding Hood by Gustave Doré

Little Red Riding Hood by Gustave Doré

Yet we must have the ability, like all poets, to move through different images as we develop an idea to express the soul. And we also could move away from and develop a new idea, the more clarity we have. Jung did it all the time. If you read Jung’s works you will see him constantly contradicting himself because he is developing as he goes along. So whatever metaphors we use, it will be very interesting to see if we still believe them, or if we have not found better ones, in 10 or 20 years.”

We describe life in metaphors. Find more meaning in your life through folklore!

Stay tuned for YOUR next episode!

Article sources: http://www.nytimes.com/1993/02/28/weekinreview/conversations-clarissa-pinkola-estes-message-for-all-women-run-free-wild-like.html and http://www.menweb.org/estesiv.htm

More Posts

 

 

All Is Wecomed

ThichNhatHanh

Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation,

should be welcomed, recognized, and treated

on an absolutely equal basis…

because they are ourselves.

The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind.

I clean this teapot with the kind of attention

I would have were I giving

the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath.

Nothing should be treated more carefully

than anything else.

In Mindfulness,

compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.”

~ Thích Nhất Hạnh

It’s so common to be afraid of ourselves. We think there are parts that must be hidden, even from ourselves. But in MY experience, there is nothing to fear – nothing to shy away from.  Everything – when met with true understanding – becomes Beautiful… Clear...  as it should be.

Sometimes we need to act with profound courage … to take a leap of faith… to explore our secret parts with someone we can trust to guide us gently.

This is why I love being a therapist – It’s a privilege to help an individual along their path to self-actualization.

Quote from:― Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

More Posts

Leaning Into Uncomfortable Emotions Actually Makes You Happier!

Worth reading – from Off the Web!

Why Leaning Into Your Uncomfortable Emotions Actually Makes You Happier

2971831831_7ebf8e6860_oby Dina Overland

Life is the most amazing teacher.  It offers us the exact lesson we need, precisely when we need to hear it.

So that means that if you’re feeling emotions like anxiety, anger, sadness, jealousy, or bitterness, then life is offering you an opportunity to understand where you’re stuck in your growth… where you have more to learn… where you could focus your attention.

That’s why you should LEAN INTO those emotions and really FEEL them. Explore them. Consider WHY you’re feeling that feeling. Think about what lesson you can learn from the situation and the feeling you’re having.

It’s when we truly feel and experience ALL of our emotions that we’re able to move past the emotional pain and start receiving more happiness and peace in our lives.

In fact, these so-called negative emotions are actually quite positive — if you take the time to SIT with them. View them as messages to stop what you’re doing and look these feelings right in the eyes.

“To stay with that shakiness — to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge — that is the path of true awakening,”  ~ Pema Chodron 

I know this firsthand. Although I have accepted and come to peace with the fact that I will most likely only have one child, I still feel sad that I can’t have what I desperately want in my life — more children. In fact, I felt deep heartbreak earlier this year when I learned that three of my close friends were all pregnant.

I knew I had two options — ignore the crippling emotional pain, pretending I was fine with the news or open up my heart and really explore my honest emotions that were stirred up as a result of my friends’ pregnancies.

I opted to follow the advice I give to my clients and feel my feelings. So I gave my sadness and despair a space to exist by limiting my to-do list and social obligations. That freed up my time to practice good self-care tools like journaling, sharing my honest feelings with my husband (and he shared his with me), and meditating so that I was able to fully process the sadness and upset out of my system.

From an outside perspective, it looked like I was moping about for a few days, but I was really letting my sadness have a place to exist — without judgment. I wasn’t stuffing it away, hoping it would just miraculously disappear so I could avoid feeling crappy.

And I felt so much better for my choice to feel my feelings. It was like I healed a part of myself by releasing these emotions.

If you find yourself in a painful situation, and you think you can’t bear a minute more of whatever you’re feeling, follow these three steps:

  1. Become aware that you’re resisting and pushing away the feelings. Simply being mindful of your tendency to avoid feeling emotional pain is a huge step toward moving past that pain and feeling more happiness. That’s because you can’t change a thought or behavior if you don’t know you’re thinking or doing it.
  1. Observe your feelings without judgment. Don’t push them away, but don’t obsess over them either. Just acknowledge them and let them go. One way to do that is to observe your feelings and thoughts simply as “feelings” and “thoughts.” Don’t qualify them as good or bad, positive or negative. Just allow whatever feelings you have to come to the surface and remind yourself with compassion and kindness that you’re merely feeling a feeling or thinking a thought. To help prevent those feelings and thoughts from taking over your life, use this affirmation: I accept all of my emotions and thoughts. It is safe to feel those emotions and think those thoughts. 
  1. Refrain. As I mentioned in Step 1, we often try to distract ourselves from feeling sadness, loneliness, bitterness, and other so-called negative emotions. But try to refrain from diverting your attention away from those feelings. It’s when you refrain — by pausing and being mindful of those feelings BEFORE you take any action based on them — that you’re getting to know your deepest fears and able to heal the wounds that caused the fears. For example, if you’re feeling particularly hurt and lonely after your estranged spouse makes an insensitive comment to you, don’t just lash out in response. Instead, sit with that hurt and loneliness and use the opportunity to consider where else you can work on healing yourself.

Essentially, if we live our lives seeing everything as a chance to heal, then every single moment and experience — even the especially hard ones — is truly a gift helping us grow and welcome deep peace and happiness.

About The Author
Dina Overland is a Spiritual Life Coach helping people (especially mamas) move past their emotional pain so they can stop feeling angry, anxious, bitter, depressed, and alone and start feeling more happiness, love, and peace. Watch her FREE video — From Pain to Joy:  4 Steps to Finding Peace Through Emotional Suffering — connect with her on Facebook, and check out her website.
THIS ARTICLE IS OFFERED UNDER CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE. IT’S OKAY TO REPUBLISH IT ANYWHERE AS LONG AS ATTRIBUTION BIO IS INCLUDED AND ALL LINKS REMAIN INTACT.

Original source: http://truththeory.com/2015/10/29/why-leaning-into-your-uncomfortable-emotions-actually-makes-you-happier/

 

More Posts

The Value of Journaling

Introspection Overload? The Value of Journaling by 

~ Worth Reading from Off the Web

Introspection Overload? The Value of JournalingTo my fellow over-thinkers, ruminators, and introspective-dwellers: I know what it’s like to feel “stuck in your head.

It’s those moments when your mind starts to wander, and all your reflections and ponderings (whether they may be trivial or significant) begin to simulate a mountain that’s too exhausting to climb. I like to refer to this as ‘introspection overload’ — thinking that decides to examine a subject matter intricately and closely, inviting further thoughts to join the party, even though you reason that it’s probably time to take a few steps back.

This is one of the reasons why I love journaling. I have drawers devoted to several years of journal-keeping (including a precious gem from my second-grade self).

Besides my interest in writing and jotting down various notes, happenings, or musings that strike my fancy, journaling has become an integral component in reining in introspection. The transfer of your thoughts from your mind onto paper is a symbolic release in and of itself.

Phylameana lila Desy’s article suggests that journaling serves as a therapeutic outlet of sorts:

“Journaling can be a healing process to help you get in touch with your deepest yearnings, find resolve for problems, and deal with personal issues. Whatever type of painful emotion you are experiencing (grief, sadness, fear, isolation, etc.) expressing yourself in writing can help ease your discomfort.”

Besides the basic ‘daily diary’ that’s best for making sense of your experiences, try these alternative kinds of journaling:

  • a gratitude journal – focusing on the positives is beneficial to any kind of healing
  • a dream journal – symbolism/scenarios in dreams may have important meanings, and self-analysis may help to uncover what that is.
  • a memory journal – writing down childhood stories may be a way to preserve memories for future sharing, but it also may spark further understanding of the past.

In The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, Julia Cameron suggests experimenting with various writing exercises to induce greater internal clarity.

  • The Morning Papers” –  Take three sheets of blank paper and allow your pen to mark down your stream of consciousness, writing down anything and everything that surfaces.

While these pages are not meant to be kept, Cameron advocates that writing can generally serve as a cathartic tool to release negative thought processes.

According to Sandy Grason, author of Journalution: Journaling to Awaken Your Inner Voice, Heal Your Life and Manifest Your Dreams, journaling is an overall proficient method to simply get to know yourself better.

“I believe each time you give yourself fully to the blank page, you get a little bit closer to your true Self… It’s the place that your greatness can whisper to you and remind you of all that you came to this earth to be.”

So, my fellow over-thinkers, ruminators, and introspective-dwellers: there are probably other avenues that can quiet all the chatter in your head. Maybe a long walk is soothing, or maybe meditating and focused breathing exercises do the trick — it’s all up to you. I, for one, will always be an avid supporter of the journal. I should probably start creating more space for my collection.

Source: Introspection Overload? The Value of Journaling | World of Psychology, edited for readability

Also see https://janeweisslcsw.com/2015/01/08/why-journal/

Using Compassion to Cope with Anxiety

Worth Reading From Off the Web!

 

Using Compassion to Cope with AnxietyIf you struggle with anxiety, you probably have a mean streak. That is, you’re probably very mean to yourself. You probably have no problem being harsh and overly critical of your thoughts and behaviors — particularly when you’re having a tough time with anxiety.

You might blame yourself and see yourself as less-than because anxiety follows you everywhere, from home to work to the grocery store.

You also might think in shoulds: I should have more control over my anxiety. I should be a better public speaker by now. I shouldnever be scared of something so silly. I should be ashamed. I should be different.

 And you might think that being harsh toward yourself will curb your anxiety and whip you into calmer and cooler shape. Or maybe you think that being self-critical is simply being realistic. That you’re realistically evaluating your shortcomings or weaknesses. Or maybe being self-critical has simply become your default, your automatic response to anxiety (or anything else in your life).

But guess what? This kind of thinking often backfires and actually can boost your anxiety.

At least according to Dennis D. Tirch, Ph.D, psychologist and author of The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Overcoming Anxiety: Using Compassion-Focused Therapy to Calm Worry, Panic and Fear

You can’t insult your way to less anxiety (or any positive change). And you know what? You deserve better. Millions of people struggle with anxiety — and there’s no shame in that.

Self-Criticism vs. Compassionate Self-Correction

In his book, Tirch distinguishes between self-criticism and compassionate self-correction. He says that “Compassionate self-correction is grounded in the desire to alleviate suffering and to help us realize our hearts’ deepest desire to be able to behave as we’d wish to.”

He explains that it’s not about denying mistakes or weaknesses. Instead it’s about radically accepting yourself: “accepting your fallibility, your frailty and your suffering, all of which are essential aspects of your common humanity.”

Tirch cites Paul Gilbert’s analogy involving two teachers with different styles: the critical teacher and the encouraging, supportive teacher. The critical teacher focuses on their students’ faults and scolds or teases them. As a result, the students become afraid and resentful, while the teacher becomes angry and anxious. The encouraging and supportive teacher, however, focuses on their student’s strengths, has clear expectations and gives constructive feedback.

Connecting to Your Compassionate Self

Tirch features several valuable activities to help readers tap into their compassionate self. One activity involves using two chairs to mimic your anxious mind and your compassionate mind. It helps you learn how to purposely activate your compassionate mind – and, over time, being empathetic will become automatic.

Take two chairs, and have them face each other. First, sit in one chair and imagine looking at yourself in the other chair. Connect to your self-anxious thoughts, and say them out loud. Talk about your worries, your criticisms, your shame.

Then, when you’re ready, sit in the other chair, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Visualize your compassionate self, and let yourself smile. Connect to your forgiving, kind and warm thoughts. You can also place your hand over your heart and think of being compassionate.

Next, open your eyes and acknowledge that you’re with your anxious self. You might say that you understand your feelings, and acknowledge the difficulty of anxiety; and that it’s OK to feel this way. Then close your eyes, again, and after a natural exhale, let go of the exercise, and give yourself credit for practicing this activity.

In the second exercise Tirch suggests readers compose a compassionate letter to themselves. Before beginning, take a few deep breaths. Then focus on your thoughts. “What conflicts, problems or self-criticisms come to mind? What’s your mind beginning to tell you? What emotions arise within you?”

Then take a few more deep breaths, and focus on being compassionate, nonjudgmental and accepting of yourself. Recognize that your feelings are valid and your struggles are a normal part of life. Find a time to read your letter – and feel free to revise it any time.

Bringing Compassion to the What-Ifs

In the same chapter, Tirch also talks about how readers can bring more compassion to worrisome thoughts (i.e., the usual litany of “what ifs”). It’s these what-ifs that, over time, our brains begin to interpret as cold, hard facts. Then our bodies act in kind, producing anxiety-riddled sensations.

As Tirch writes, “Of course, the anxious mind is very good at generating anxiety-provoking predictions of possible threats. All too often, our emotional brains then respond to these imaginary threats as if they were real, so our physical sensations, feelings, and behavior come to be dominated by our worries.”

He suggests readers explore their thoughts by asking questions such as: “What’s going through my mind when I’m anxious?” “How does my anxious self see the world, and what does it think about the current situation?” “What is my anxious self/mind telling me right now?” Write down your thoughts, and think about how your compassionate mind would respond to them. Think about how you’d talk to a friend who was in a similar situation.

Being kind to ourselves can be hard – really hard for some of us – especially if the critical thoughts are deeply ingrained. But with practice you can learn to be self-compassionate.

And remember that there’s nothing self-indulgent about being kind to yourself. (This is a common misconception.) Tirch cites research that’s actually found the opposite: People who are self-compassionate tend to be less self-indulgent.

As he writes, “To operate from the compassionate mind is to have a deep appreciation of the suffering of both others and ourselves.”

Learn more about Dennis Tirch and his work at his website.

Question The Thoughts that Cause Suffering

Happiness is the absence of suffering.

Unhappiness, then, is believing a thought that causes suffering.

Why, then, wouldn’t you question it?!

If you are suffering, it’s because you are arguing with reality.

It is innocent – our thoughts seem real. But what if you could suspend your attachment to your thoughts – observe with the kindness of the ideal mother, and the non-judgemental curiosity of a scientist.

IMG_0347

I don’t accept reality. I get drunk with it. The world is perfect. When I move from this truth, I can question my thoughts.


Many of our assumptions – about life, the world, ourselves and others – have never been questioned. Asking, is it true, can be mind blowing! 

Putting FEAR in its place

Worth reading from off the web –

What+would+you+do+if+you+had+no+fear

“Let me tell you about fear. It’s poison. It’s poison for your mind. It makes you lose control, it makes you freeze, it makes you take the wrong decision. When you let fear take over, you’re just an echo of your former self. An empty shadow and nothing more.

But we’re all afraid, aren’t we? Even the brave are afraid. There’s no such thing as fearless. There’s always something to be afraid of. What will happen, what might happen, what we might lose, what we might never gain.

So… what is there to be had on the other side of fear?

The awful truth about life is that what doesn’t kill often makes you wish it did. There’s great sadness and pain in this world, and we all get our fair share. But, you see, eventually all those things that don’t kill us either make us stronger or weaker. After a while, when pain becomes but a memory, we have a choice.

We can either decide to become stronger or weaker. We can harden ourselves up or not. The choice is always ours.

But we’re afraid… even when the pain goes away, we’re afraid it might return. Even after heartbreaks heal, we’re afraid someone else will break our hearts again. We might never want to fall in love again. We might want to spend a lifetime behind closed doors, just to be sure.

That’s when we need to fight fear, we need to see what is it that we can find on the other side of fear.

All our dreams and expectations. All our ambitions. All the power and the courage and the determination and the discipline we could ever need. All that lies just on the other side of fear.

I’ve always wanted to go to the United States and forge a better future there. Ever since I was six, actually. I never even traveled there, mostly because I was afraid of the visa requirements. Or the fact that I’d fail. I just wanted to fight a sure battle, but no one could ever guarantee me that. No one ever will.

And I’ve filled the ocean that lies between Romania and the US with excuses, endless scenarios, and fear. I’ve thought about it, over and over again, and decided that it would be best to wait. Living in a foreign country, all by myself, seemed like too much. Just the thought that I’d need to go through a lot of trouble just to arrive at my destination seemed impossible.

I’ve never even been on a plane.

But…

There’s one thing about me that I never lost, one thing that I didn’t learn or mimic from others. I want things so badly that I’d be willing to do anything to get them. When I decide that it’s time to do so, I don’t let anything stand in my way.

I did the same for writing. I wrote on and off for 8 years before finally deciding that I’d better man up and write more and more stuff. And finish stuff. And get stuff published.

There are no impossible journeys in life. Only journeys we’re too afraid to even start.

Now I know that life’s all about being afraid and doing it anyways. In fact, fear should motivate me. It should drive me to act, to try my best, to try to solve problems.

I don’t want to spend a lifetime dreaming about an ideal future. I don’t want to wish for it to happen. I want to make it happen. Because no one else will do it for me.

And that makes all the difference.

The world is never against you. The world does not hate you.

You’re just alone. You and your dreams. And it’s entirely up to you to make them happen, one at a time, before it’s too late.

Because the most tragic thing that could ever happen to you is to realize that it’s too late.”

 

by Cristian Mihai

via The other side of fear.