Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Birthing a Book May 8, 2012

In response to queries about my new book—where I got the idea, how it’s progressing, when it will come out, if it can be pre-ordered, and so on—I’d like to share some of the process and answer your questions in this and the next post. I know you come here for the psychological content, but I assure you I’ll weave some of that in along the way. It won’t be difficult, since I always look for, and usually find, psychological meaning in everything! Plus, the book’s about psychology!

While certain basics never change, the details of the process—from the conception of a book, to the writing of it, to its publication—are as unique as each book. When I started writing my first psychological book , The Bridge to Wholeness:  A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth, in the fall of 1989, I had just retired from college teaching because of a restless discontent with my work and a deep knowing that I had something to say that was vastly different from anything I had written professionally. With no expectations for what would emerge, I followed my heart and for three or four days a week wrote a series of memoir-type essays via which I searched for meaning in my life’s most interesting and puzzling experiences. Essentially, I was re-mything my life from a Jungian perspective.

I’d been recording and working on my dreams for over a year, so I was delighted to discover that my unconscious self supported my writing by providing material at night that often inspired the next day’s work.  Six months into this project I was sitting in front of my make-up mirror one morning when a fairy tale wove its way into my awareness via a spontaneous session of active imagination. This story provided the focus that pulled all the essays together and a year later I sent a proposal and three sample chapters to ten publishers. With a hint from a dream and a suggestion from a Jungian writer, one was based in California. Three days later Lura Geiger of LuraMedia called and told me she wanted it, and my new creation entered the world in 1992!

My next book, Dream Theaters of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine Through Jungian Dream Work, underwent a very different gestation. Shortly after Bridge was launched I was again filled with restless discontent, so one day I began to explore ideas for a book to help others understand their dreams. Within a few hours I had an outline. Three months later the completed manuscript was also accepted by LuraMedia and it was published in 1994!

Encouraged by my previous successes and motivated by a powerful longing for answers to some pressing questions, in 1993 I began researching and writing the next book. Fifteen years later I had five manuscripts in my computer! Each had a different title and focus and none felt finished, but they were all related to my passion for understanding how gender and family issues, plus my religion, spiritual experiences, and psychological development had influenced my search for self-discovery and spiritual meaning.  By the summer of 2009 I had a new manuscript with a new focus that combined elements from all five. After another rewrite based on suggestions from three experts in their fields, I signed a contract with Larson Publications in March of 2011. That book will be formally launched this summer with the title, Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World.

Honestly? The others were deeply satisfying, but this baby feels special! More about it next time.

 

Toppling a House of Cards, Building Strong Relationships September 20, 2011

In my last post I said that understanding and compassion can heal dysfunctional relationships. While I know this is true, I also know that some relationships are not worth saving. The problem is how to tell the difference between those with healing potential and those that are truly toxic.  Some relationships are vehicles to higher consciousness; others are accidents waiting to happen.

Evolving into beings who can protect ourselves from negative influences and live in loving intimacy with our true selves and others is extremely difficult, partly because of our natural inertia, and partly because our need to preserve our ego edifice is so strong that we automatically see whatever challenges it as the enemy. The stronger the challenge, the greater our resistance. This stalemate can be prolonged indefinitely until we are pushed to our limits and either give up and drop out or begin a search for a newer, healthier edifice.

The in-between time of escalating conflict which inevitably shows up somewhere between the first-blush attraction and final solution to relationship problems is a danger zone filled with daunting obstacles. The good news is that they can usually be overcome with perseverance and inner work. The bad news is that inner work entails more suffering than some egos can endure and those who cannot tolerate the tension will put an end to it one way or another.

In her brilliant book, Psychic Energy, Jungian analyst M. Esther Harding has written, “The individual with adequately developed ego is competent not only to overcome obstacles in the outer world and so to make a satisfactory work and social adjustment, but also to rouse himself from the inertia that saps his energy even before he makes the attempt to tackle the external problem. For the ego is the function that man has developed to deal with this primary inertia.”

Our inner and outer relationships do not grow stronger by resisting, repressing and pretending, but by overcoming our inertia and cultivating self-understanding and compassion. Aspiring to these qualities is one thing;  actually possessing them is quite another. A goal is a detached mental construction, like a house of cards built by a growing ego. But using our energy to act on our goals brings ego strength and maturity. Until we acquire the self-discipline to rein in the conditioned reflexes of our raw instincts and emotions, our high ideals have no practical value. As one of my favorite sayings goes, “You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to show up!”

The compulsion to evolve from unknowing to knowledge and from passive indifference to active love is the motivation behind every seeker and every authentic religion. Likewise, the goal of all psycho-spiritual practices is to acquire enough self-restraint to set aside our ego’s desirousness and inertia so that we can grow, unite with, and lovingly serve the miracle of Life in all its manifestations.

In writing this post I realized the time has come to share some special news that illustrates the rewards of persevering in psycho-spiritual practices.  In midlife my discomfort grew so strong that I redirected my focus from the outer to the inner world. Years of strengthening the relationship between these two parts of myself gave me the knowledge and courage to follow my true passions. As a result, I became a published writer. Today I’m thrilled to announce that my newest book, Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other and the World, will be issued from Larson Publications in June of 2012! Without inner work, this dream of mine would never have been realized.

 

 
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