Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Does Writing Suit Your Personality? May 9, 2014

Writing has always suited my personality.  One of my earliest memories is of folding pieces of paper together to make a book. When I was ten I was 30 pages into a novel before I tore it up in disgust because I had no idea what I wanted to say. As a teenager my favorite thing to do when I got home from school was to write plays.

Today I can sit down at my computer and, with only a few breaks in between, get up eight, nine, or ten hours later with little awareness of how much time has passed, feeling excited and utterly rejuvenated.  The next morning I can’t wait to get back to my computer.  When I was working on the manuscript for Healing the Sacred Divide I ran this marathon three or four days a week for almost three years with only a couple of months off in the summer.  For two of those three years, I had zero input about my writing from any living person. It was just me, my Self, and my computer.

Obviously, this way of life is not for everyone.  Our friend Howard enthralls all who know him with fascinating stories about his very unusual and interesting life.  People are always telling him he should write a book and I think he finds this idea attractive…but not enough to actually do it.

Carl Jung’s theory about personality types helps explain why one person can be very well-suited to writing while another is not. He found that two basic attitudes affect the focus of our attention. Extraverts are primarily oriented toward the outer world of people and objects; introverts toward the inner world of concepts and ideas. Jung saw these attitudes as mutually complementary and believed both were necessary for maintaining a balanced personal and social life.

In an article about the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, Wikipedia cites these major differences between the two types: 1) Extraverts are action oriented, while introverts are thought oriented; 2) Extraverts seek breadth of knowledge and influence, while introverts seek depth of knowledge and influence; 3) Extraverts often prefer more frequent interaction, while introverts prefer more substantial interaction; and 4) Extraverts recharge and get their energy from spending time with people, while introverts recharge and get their energy from spending time alone.

Of course there are lots of extraverted writers and plenty of introverts with no interest whatsoever in writing. Moreover, both types struggle to complete writing projects because of myriad other issues such as education, financial limitations, attention deficits, self-confidence, self-discipline, time constraints related to work and relationships, and other personal preferences. But understanding our basic attitude toward life greatly enhances our chances for success with writing or any endeavor.

I’m a strong introvert and my friend Howard is a strong extravert.  I love what Dr. Judith Rich says about her extraversion, “We E’s live outside the cave and struggle to find our way in, while the I’s live inside the cave and struggle to find their way out.” The bottom line? I love my cave and resist leaving it. I enjoy being alone. I like sitting uninterrupted at my computer for hours. I like working in perfect, luxurious, soothing, rich-with-possibility silence:  no music, no people, no phones, nothing to distract or interrupt my thoughts.  But Howard?  Cave-dwelling doesn’t suit his personality. He likes stimulation, activity, conversation. His passion is story-telling, not story-writing.

If you’re not sure what kind of work suits your personality you might ask yourself a few questions. When I was a child, what did I want to do in my spare time?  If your answer is  “Read” or “Watch TV,” you might find a clue in the subject matter of your favorite books or programs. What was my favorite subject in school? Which did I enjoy more: playing outdoors or indoors?  With friends or alone? What would my ideal work scenario look like?  Do I work best with noise or quiet? Am I an extravert or an introvert?

Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Ebook versions of The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Diesel Ebooks 

 

A Love Affair With Carl Jung March 22, 2013

carl-jungA few nights ago I dreamed I was Carl Jung’s mistress! His wife and I were in the big family room of his country house watching a fluffy black bear cub cavort over the carpet with two or three gray and white dogs and a cat. The bear cub was lovingly licking the faces of the other animals and they were enjoying themselves as much as s/he was. When I entered a study/library behind the main room, Jung was there with his other mistress and a few friends. He greeted me with a loving hug, then wrapped his right arm proprietarily around me. As I snuggled happily into his warmth he turned to me and said, “This is our time. It’s your turn now.”

My waking ego’s immediate reaction was to interpret this literally. Other mistress?  Wife?  My turn? I felt a bit indignant and embarrassed at the thought that I was content to “wait my turn” because he expected me to share him with two other women! But as my morning cobwebs dissipated, so did these thoughts.  I knew this dream was a metaphor for something going on in my psyche, I knew it had relevance to my waking life, and I knew it was good.

The tone of the dream reinforced this. Everything about it was suffused with love and trust. The rooms were spacious and comfortable. The bear cub and pets loved and trusted each other. Emma Jung and I loved watching their antics and weren’t concerned about being together. Everyone in the study accepted me and I accepted them. There was no hint of annoyance, judgment, guilt, furtiveness, anxiety, jealousy or shame on the part of my dream ego or anyone else as one would expect if this were a waking life situation. I didn’t know it was a dream. I didn’t know I was married. I just knew everything felt good and right. I loved being in that place with those people, and I felt loved by them.

So guess what.  This is exactly how I’ve been feeling lately. I think this mood and dream were triggered by the recent news that I’ve received the Wilbur award for Healing the Sacred Divide, which is based on Jungian psychology. I think Carl Jung represents my thinker/writer/warrior/lover animus who has been working diligently for twenty-four years to help me understand myself, and for twenty-three years to help me share what I’ve learned in my writing.

I love Jungian psychology with a passion because it has changed me in so many positive ways.  For example, I think the black bear cub represents the wildness of my natural instincts that have been tamed enough to live comfortably with more domesticated beings. And the fact that the cub was so nurturing and loving?  To me this suggests my newly developing instincts (the cub was very young…Jung!) for spontaneity and play, nurturance and love.

Without Jung’s encouragement I would never have had the nerve to follow my passion for writing.  Even if I had, I wouldn’t have had anything to write about. The only thing I know much about is the inner journey to self-discovery and the practices that guide me; and writing is the only job I’m good for!  Given my serious, self-critical and perfectionist nature, it’s hard for me to imagine what I’d be like now if I hadn’t figured this out.  Dissatisfied? Disillusioned? Unfulfilled? Disappointed? Resigned to a meaningless, unlived life? Ashamed of myself for not fulfilling my potential? Surely I’d be feeling all these things. Bitter?  Probably that too.

Yes, I’m having a love affair with Carl Jung, and apparently  it really is our time and my turn to enjoy the benefits.

 

Memories of Childhood Dreams March 5, 2013

mybabypicI was born in Michigan. My mother was a nurse, my father was a policeman, and I had an older brother named Jimmy.  When I was four, Daddy and Mama sold our Victorian cottage, hitched a trailer to the back of our car, and we headed south. That first year we lived near Tampa.  The only thing I remember about the Temple Trailer Park is that it was situated beside an icy cold natural sulphur spring where I learned how to swim. A year later Daddy found a job as a highway patrolman and at the end of the summer we arrived at Mitchell’s Trailer Park in a wooded area of Tallahassee. Daddy parked our trailer under a mossy oak tree beside a deep drainage ditch whose sides were webbed with tree roots. I had never seen a ditch or a tree that big and everything about our new forest home seemed magical to me.

Our dark green trailer had a life-sized Indian head at the top where the curved front wall met the roof.  To me he was a friendly guardian warrior. Our new home was too small for a bathtub, so Mama would bathe me in the big sink in the community wash house. With the help of the trailer park handy man, Daddy built a screened porch and put in bunk beds for Jimmy and me. I loved sleeping out there.  The nights were cool and you could hear crickets, tree frogs and hoot owls. In the mornings the birds began chirping at first light. On windy nights it sounded like the trees were humming, and when it rained we fell asleep to the rat-a-tat-tat of rain drops and acorns drumming on the tin roof.

Mama got a job working nights at the hospital. She slept during the day while Daddy was at work and Jimmy was at school, so I entertained myself. I got so accustomed to being alone that once when a little girl asked me to come out and play, I wouldn’t go. She bit my hand and ran away! I couldn’t imagine what her problem was. Another time I folded several pieces of typing paper into a book. Since I didn’t know how to write, I drew pictures.  First, I drew myself waking up in bed. Then I was sitting on the potty, then eating a bowl of oatmeal at the kitchen table. By the fourth page I couldn’t think of anything else to draw. I found this very frustrating. Filling a book with the thoughts and images inside my head seemed like a beautiful, impossible dream.

lantanaOne summer day Daddy took me for a walk down the dirt road beside the trailer park. The drainage ditches on either side were rimmed with colorful wildflowers and he taught me their names. Snapdragon. Lantana.  Japanese honeysuckle. When he stopped beside a wood fence I climbed up, looked over the top, and fell in love! It was a stable yard. I had never seen a horse before and thought these were the most beautiful creatures I’d ever seen. When I saw people riding them I wanted to ride too, so Daddy paid a quarter for a lesson.  While the lady cinched up the saddle, the brown and white pony took a deep breath to balloon his belly. When he let it out the girth loosened up. At first this was fine, but when he trotted the saddle began a slow slide down his right side and before long I was on the ground! I thought this was a great adventure. That’s the day my dream of having a horse of my own was born.

A few days later all I could think about was how much I wanted to ride that pony. I couldn’t find a quarter, so since Mama was asleep I borrowed one from a lady in a nearby trailer. Then I walked to the stable and had a fine ride. When the lady told my parents about my visit, I couldn’t understand why they seemed worried. I was rather proud of my creative solution! They gave me a quarter to pay back the lady, told me to apologize for borrowing money, and said I was never to do it again. I didn’t.

My life has changed in many ways since then, but some things haven’t changed at all. I still love trees and the patterns of roots and the magic and mystery of forests. I love the way Native Americans respect and protect nature. I love the night, the sounds of wind and rain. I love being alone. I love writing books. I love flowers and horses and new adventures. And when a dream feels really, really important to me, I pursue it until I make it happen.

My wish for you is that you’ll remember who you are and what you love, and that you’ll be able to pursue your dreams until you make them happen.

You can find my newest book, Healing the Sacred Divide, at my Amazon author’s page or Larson Publications, Inc.

 

Does Writing Suit Your Personality? August 9, 2011

Writing has always suited my personality.  One of my earliest memories is of folding pieces of paper together to make a book. When I was ten I was 30 pages into a novel before I tore it up in discouragement because I didn’t know what I wanted to say. As a teenager my favorite thing to do when I got home from school was to write plays.

Today I can sit down at my computer and, with only a few breaks in between, get up eight, nine, or ten hours later with little awareness of how much time has passed, feeling excited and utterly rejuvenated.  The next morning I can’t wait to get back to my computer.  When I was working on the manuscript for my next book I ran this marathon three or four days a week for almost three years with only a couple of months off in the summer.  For two of those three years, I had zero input about my writing from any living person. It was just me, my Self, and my computer.

Obviously, this way of life is not for everyone.  Our friend Howard enthralls all who know him with fascinating stories about his very unusual and interesting life.  People are always telling him he should write a book and I think he finds this idea attractive;  but not enough to actually do it.

Carl Jung’s theory about personality types helps explain why one person can be very well-suited to writing while another is not. He found that two basic attitudes affect the focus of our attention. Extraverts are primarily oriented toward the outer world of people and objects; introverts toward the inner world of concepts and ideas. Jung saw these attitudes as mutually complementary and believed both were necessary for maintaining a balanced personal and social life.

In an article about the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, Wikipedia cites these major differences between the two types: 1) Extraverts are action oriented, while introverts are thought oriented; 2) Extraverts seek breadth of knowledge and influence, while introverts seek depth of knowledge and influence; 3) Extraverts often prefer more frequent interaction, while introverts prefer more substantial interaction; and 4) Extraverts recharge and get their energy from spending time with people, while introverts recharge and get their energy from spending time alone.

Of course there are lots of extraverted writers and plenty of introverts with no interest whatsoever in writing. Moreover, both types struggle to complete writing projects because of myriad other issues such as education, financial limitations, attention deficits, self-confidence, self-discipline, and time restrictions related to work and relationships. But understanding our basic attitude toward life greatly enhances our chances for success with writing or any endeavor.

I’m a strong introvert and my story-telling friend is a strong extravert.  As Dr. Judith Rich says about her extraversion, “We E’s live outside the cave and struggle to find our way in, while the I’s live inside the cave and struggle to find their way out.” The bottom line? Cave-dwelling doesn’t suit my friend’s personality and writing just isn’t his passion.

If you’re wondering what to do with the rest of your life, you might want to reflect on these questions: When you were a child, what did you choose to do in your spare time? Are you an extravert or an introvert? What kind of work best suits your personality?

 

 
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