Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Thank Goodness For Facebook Friends November 14, 2017

“Aaarg, this is grueling,” I growl to myself as I pick up the next book I need to read. I’m feeling frustrated. I want to work on my book. Analyze ideas and tie them together with other ideas.  Find flaws in imperfect sentences and paragraphs. Mold them into clearer, more precise ones. Feel the pleasurable high that writing always brings.

Mentally gritting my teeth, I remind myself this is something I have to do. Comparing the manuscript I’m working on with similar books on the market is an important part of the proposal I will submit to potential publishers, but I’ve been dragging my heels to get it done. Recording and analyzing the dream I had last night was so much more meaningful and fun.

I read for a while, underline passages, take notes, decide to take a break. I’ve been neglecting social media for a while so I go to Facebook. The first thing I see is a note from a friend who’s just finishing her first book.  She writes, “I trust your new book is coming along well, Jean.  I will be working closely with Jill myself when I get home from Mexico.  I’m both a little nervous and excited! I guess those emotions are close enough to be compatible…”

Jill Swenson is a book developer my friend and sister author Elaine Mansfield introduced me to. Elaine thought so highly of her that I decided to consult her about my new venture. This book is a real bear and I need help.

I smile at Jenna’s words. I can relate. Big time. I pause. Think. Then write:

“You’re right, Jenna. The two emotions are compatible, as are many other conflicting ones. And I think this is inevitable and necessary. My project of updating, revising, and cutting 535 pages I wrote over 20 years ago down to less than 200 and doing a ton of annoying research to create a thorough proposal is a real challenge.

“This book is the hardest one yet. I’ve been bouncing back and forth between the frustration and self-criticism of “I can’t do this,” and the excitement and elation of “Oh, wait, I can do this,” for about 6 months now, and making pretty good progress anyway. Then just when I think I’m getting over this ping-pong process I have a dream like the one last night.

I’m at a travel stop and keep going back and forth between a dingy, disorganized and frustrating inn where I can’t even get something to eat and and the delightful landscape just outside the door: a vast beautiful plain carpeted in lush green grass harboring two big friendly and furry bizarre animals — one of whom speaks in a melodious voice and offers me a piece of candy — all of it ringed by distant misty mountains.

 

“This picture of my current emotions shows me I’m still conflicted but not fighting the process. Just feeling what I feel, comfortable and uncomfortable, and accepting it. I think that’s at least partly because I have Jill to steer me through it. She’s been a real treasure. You’ll love working with her. Having just described this dream here I’m reminded that it’s been a while since I’ve published a new blog post and this would be a good subject for it! I think that would be a nice break for me at the moment. Thanks for the prod!”

It’s amazing how refreshed I feel after writing this post just now. I needed this. Thank goodness for Facebook friends. And thank you also for my Twitter and WordPress friends.  It’s been too long since I’ve communicated with you and I’ve missed you. Thank you most of all to Jill, who will understand better than anyone how badly I needed this break and how restorative it’s been. Sending love to all of you.

Okay. Back to work.

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obsessing About Stressing October 2, 2012

The other night I dreamed an entire blog post. I woke up a few times thinking, “Yay! This will be a good one!” but dozed off again before writing anything down. When the alarm rang we jumped up and raced off to our grandchildren’s soccer, baseball, and volleyball games. By the time I thought about my dream it had snuck into that place where unremembered dreams hide. I sure wish I could find that place. I hate losing a good idea for a post. But I’m trying not to stress over it.

I used to think I was very laid back, but lately I’m reconsidering: partly due to an excess of traveling, and partly because I had my annual checkup last week and my doctor questioned my alleged “white coat syndrome.” My mother, a nurse, would have dismissed it with, “Pooh! It’s all in your head!” But, hey! What’s in your head is still real, right? It’s even been written up in medical journals! It’s when your blood pressure reaches a hypertensive average in an office setting but not at home. Oddly, people with this condition don’t exhibit signs of trepidation. That’s me. I don’t feel anxious or get palpitations, but put me in a room with a white coat and my blood pressure soars.

I’ve known this since I volunteered to be a guinea pig in my high school anatomy lab. After a quizzical look and two re-checks, my teacher sent me back to my desk with a vague, “Oh, you’re probably feeling a bit excited,” before quickly changing the subject. Now I always warn the nurse.

My goal is a reading no higher than 130 over 80. Last week I felt perfectly calm but it was 161 over 94! Yet I always get normal numbers at those blood pressure machines in the grocery store! Weird. But, good patient that I am, I bought a blood pressure monitor. After recording the numbers I note what I was doing before I checked it because I’m curious to see if there are any patterns. So far, out of 25 readings my average is a perfectly respectable 125/76.

And yes, I’ve found a pattern. The six lowest readings averaged 110/70. Of these, two were taken immediately after I’d written long e-mails to friends, one after playing Words With Friends on my I-phone, two after being with my children and grandchildren, and one after checking my social media sites. I love it! All six had to do with positive interactions with family or friends! Conversely, the highest reading, 149/87, was taken after I’d spent an hour trying to figure out how to edit my e-mail signature! That time I didn’t need to take my blood pressure to know I was stressed!

So what gems of self-knowledge have I mined from this little science experiment?

1.  My ego may believe I’m not afraid to die, but somewhere in my unconscious (probably next door to the Cave for Unremembered Dreams) lives a part of me that fears the things I associate with doctors: physical vulnerability, suffering, mortality. More “proof” of this split-off part: an hour ago while I was writing about white coat syndrome my blood pressure rose to 137/86! Now that I’m almost finished with this post, it’s down to 128/73!

2.  I love how easy my computer makes blogging and writing to friends, but it also has a sick technological side. Obviously, I need a computer doctor! No one with a white coat need apply.

3.  Balancing work I love with good relationships is the best medicine I know for stress.

I just took my blood pressure again. It’s 122/71! (Am I obsessing? Should I worry about bursting blood vessels in my left arm?)

My new book, Healing the Sacred Divide, can be found at www.Amazon.com or www.larsonpublications.com.

 

Working On A Dream About Individuation: Part III September 9, 2011

I’d like to begin by saying a huge thank-you to Joseph, Jerry and Jane (what’s with all the J’s?) for their comments (Jane’s came via e-mail) about Dream #4337.  Their thoughtful associations were enormously helpful as I pondered this dream.

Dreams express things essentially unknown to the ego. Most believe, however, that they are primarily about emotions, which are charges of energy that influence our thoughts and behavior. Sometimes they create so much anxiety that stopping to reflect on what we are feeling before responding does not come easily to us. We find it far easier to either ignore them or act immediately, often with disastrous consequences. Emotional awareness is the stairway between the archaic being at the deeper levels of our psyche and higher consciousness, and dreamwork builds this stairway.

Dream #4337 (see previous two posts) is like a 3-act play.  Act I takes place in a social setting. Emotion is introduced by the thirsty woman who wants to fill her plastic cup with water. The energy of her wanting compels her to leave the collective and set out on a solitary journey. As Jerry noted, this seems to express discomfort with aspects of my positioning in society which are too plastic and unfulfilling to quench my thirst for personal meaning and self-knowledge — i.e. individuation.

Act II introduces Ms X (as Jane calls this shadow of mine) with her warning of potential danger. The meeting of these two streams of emotional energy sets up a conflict: Thirsty Woman’s determination vs. Ms X’s fear. Joseph sees Ms X as one so involved in her work that she has stopped along the way. Jane, too, sees her as one who has made it over the first railing but then stopped: perhaps because she got tired or frightened. Because she’s in my dream, there is a part of me like her. One association I have for the waking-life Ms X is that she resists facing her shadow emotions and appears to rechannel their energy into hard work. Whereas 22 years of dreamwork have emboldened me to face my shadow, I obviously still have some sublimated, unredeemed fear.

In Act III my thirsty woman dream ego experiences three new emotions: receptivity to Ms X’s fears, willingness to stop and examine the road ahead, and conscious concern for her safety. I had no idea what this had to do with my waking life until I read Jerry’s question about my involvement with social media: “Could this dream be addressing the issues that go with these instruments of social communication?” This brought a huge “Aha!” My shadow has an important message for me and my ego is listening.

Two weeks before this dream a few communications on Twitter shook me up and stopped me in my tracks. As Jerry suggested, “The use of these media devices can become [so] ego influenced it threatens the fabric of someone like yourself who is ‘spiritual to the bone’. It can be a great outlet for expression but when dealing with the release of emotions {by others} there is always a danger. I sense the dream is focused on these issues. I also sense from the last part of the dream [the bathroom as a place of elimination, cleansing and refreshment] it is something you can control. There will always be challenges to the spiritual self when participating in a world full [of] ego.” Bingo!

And so the question remains: Shall I continue in this direction? Jerry’s words could be mine: “…the answer is yes. It is just too great a way to ‘get out the message’, to share what we have learned so others discover a path to wholeness.” But I’ll be listening to my shadow and watching the way ahead.

 

 
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