Knocked Out Of Your Orbit

To get out of a rut, we may have to go to the unfamiliar. Getting knocked out of our day-to-day orbit can be life changing, a true visionary experience. Visionary times help us gain a new perspective, to shapeshift emotionally and spiritually, and change things up. It’s scary to change things up; but, if we’re willing to start fresh, good stuff can happen.

Josh Gressel Ph.D., in Psychology Today (9.2.18) states, “Of course there is a balance to walk here and each of us has to figure out how much discomfort and strangeness they can handle. I do not intend to go trekking in the Himalayas without a guide or go anywhere without a basic plan. But whether it’s starting to learn a new instrument, starting a new job, or taking a new class, it’s healthy for all of us to be forced into “beginner’s mind.”

It’s frightening when we think we’ve got it made. People seeking depth psychotherapy often complain that just before things got bad, they thought everything was all right. They thought they had it made. Then things went upside down wrong. Life knocked them out of their orbit.

Once we look at things in therapy, we see they were in a rut. They’d been there longer than they thought. Sometimes, we don’t know where we are until after the fact. Certain things, like reading and good stories, help us keep our head in the game of life. They stir emotions and keep us real.

And, one thing is for sure, to get out of the rut we’re in (and sometimes don’t realize we’re in one) we need to be open to feeling. When I wrote Goddess of the Wild Thing, I kept it close to everything I’ve experienced personally and with patients I’ve worked with in psychotherapy. When we close down emotionally, we close down the vital force that is life. It’s a thrill to feel, to stay real, and to pop out of emotional and spiritual ruts.

And in visionary fiction, dramatic thrillers about spirituality and love, it’s all about keeping it real and discovering things fresh. There’s typically a crisis in getting to where we need to be. Old patterns keep us stuck in old misery. Openness to insight (things suddenly clicking in our head and heart) and courage (leaning into what we feel is best for us) makes the story that is our life unfold in a natural and consciousness-raising way.

Check out Goddess of the Wild Thing – it’ll help you keep it real, pop out of your rut, and discover things fresh. Happy reading.

#visionary #reading #goddesswildthing #fiction

You Can’t Change Anyone But Yourself

Thinking we can change someone is never a good idea. Even as a psychotherapist, it’s not my approach. I help people to further their understanding of self and other, then we wait and yield to the effects of therapeutic human understanding. We never know how it’s going to turn out; we only know that truth facing is medicine for the soul.

So, it’s the same when I write books. Stories can be medicine for the soul. Esoteric fiction moves us into powerful psychic realities, dynamics that shift the way we see ourselves and others. Stories are their own form of truth facing – medicine for the soul.

I remember that while writing The Unholy, my depth psychotherapy practice was overrun by patients seeking healing from religious trauma. They had suffered physical, emotional and often sexual trauma within a religious context. It was within church-going homes, respected religious institutions, and mediations ashrams that trauma abounded. As they healed, they desperately wanted to make the perpetrators change; but so often the families and organizations refused to see the problem. Thus, there was no hope for changing those in denial; but my patients, through their own journey into self-understanding, healed and changed.

My writing shifted during this time away from inspirational psychology and into visionary fiction. Here I told stories of emotional and spiritual upheaval. Trauma laced its way through action-packed dramas of religion gone bad and one person’s determined struggle to battle dark forces within and without. Within the narrative, as in our daily life, things vacillated between hope and despair. The imagination takes us into realms of visions, dreams, and everyday magic in a way that inspirational psychology approaches but, for me, did not bring home.

Stories take us headlong into what we’re grappling with in our own lives. Unconsciously, we’re always drawn to read the story that will speak most to us at a given time. The writing of Goddess of the Wild Thing bolted out of me as patients moved into issues of what it means to find love. It doesn’t go the same way for everybody. You can’t pin it down. Love is a wild goddess. The image of the wild goddess came to me in a dream one night. It was to be the title for this particular book that depicts an age-old struggle about love—whether bad love is better than no love— and the discovery that love is a wild thing.

So when it comes to changing someone, don’t do it. It’s the message of lives nearly lost and then regained. We can lose ourselves by giving more and more to someone who does not see or want to see that there is a problem. Whether in religion, love, or day-to-day work and relationships it’s the getting on with things as they are that matters. Of course, that doesn’t imply sticking with what’s bad or dysfunctional. There are mean and malignant people. They are the ones who, in small ways or big strikes, undermine our sense of worth and integrity. Actually, they seem to get a kick out of it. Oh, they might say they’re sorry, but they’ll come around and do it again. There’s a payoff for them in the form of power and control. We need to shake loose of them and move on.

In story writing, it’s utterly fascinating to experience the characters speaking to me, the writer, of their plight. Maybe (they wonder) they made up the bad thing that happened. Maybe they blew it out of proportion. Maybe, maybe, maybe. So many maybes signal upside down thinking and one unhappy soul setting themselves up for another you-know-what.

So, when we read we can go through things on the page that helps us with everyday things. That way we’re less likely to set ourselves up for another you-know-what situation. We can avoid unnecessary life pain and trauma through an understanding of self and others. Reading opens up soul paths for change because, after all, you can’t change anyone but yourself.

#visionaryfiction #depthpsychology #soulmedicine #change

Homesick for Soul

This morning inspiration struck so I pulled up my personal Facebook page and posted, “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and I’m back home on Friday to jam out with writing and enjoying Kate, and family, and yoga and music and film and art after a full week of rolling through intense dreams with patients doing trauma therapy and healing soul pain, my own dreams last night replete with subterranean messengers cautioning against following psychological gurus, yoga enlightened ones, and all manner of leaders since it’s all about listening to our own beat and rhythm and “don’t follow no leaders and watch your parking meters.’ “ This got to the heart of my soul’s yearning to return to the quietude of my study to read and write then move into the weekend with enjoyment.

The soul calls us home. When we feel tired, worn, and at odds with self or others, it may be that we’re homesick for soul. So much calls and begs and demands our attention. There is this and that to drag or siphon away time and energy. It’s always there – those maleficent sirens that look and sound alluring from afar. But, if we take the bait and follow every impulse to meet this need or that, then we’re left down and out and homesick for soul.

Reading visionary fiction draws me down and deep. I sense soul-stirring enlivenment when I read stories of people feeling their pain and conflict. They grope, as I often do, often blindly to find their way. Poignant themes of oppressive society and religion, yearning for true love in the midst of bad love, and breaking free from conventional restraint run hot and wild. Consciousness and personal evolution, making our way through life muck and gunk into cleared spaces of hope and life, is the soul’s path.

It’s sad when it takes a long time to return back inside, to that place within we call soul. It’s home, and there’s homesickness when we lose touch. During this week of professional psychotherapy practice, I’ve done my best to help folks regain touch with soul. Many have found themselves wandering for quite some time in the midst of godforsaken deserts. This translates into lives of emptiness and going about the tasks of daily life with no enjoyment or passion. It’s sad when we lose touch with soul. And, it’s good to know there’s a way back to cleared spaces of hope and life.

Reading helps us to get to cleared mental space of hope and life. Just settle back and into your chair or lay easefully on your bed and pick up a book that calls to you. Folks today tout mindfulness meditation as though it were something new. It’s been around for a long, long time. People have done it when they enjoy their relationships, the fine exchange of ideas and love. We happen into it when our work fills us with contentment. And then, there’s reading. We’re into the book, want to open it and read. There is natural mindfulness that comes when we settle back and into our favorite read.

Different types of reads speak to me at various times during the day. As I listen and respond, there’s a movement into soul. I feel like I find and nourish my deepest self. At times, it’s with new or old readings in depth psychology; first of the morning, it’s with my favorites news periodicals, catching me up on world events. Later in the day, I sink into stories, visionary fiction my favorite. Visionary fiction is a different kind of read because it calls out to us from a place of inner quietude, often unacknowledged psychic homesickness. Heartfelt visionary fiction tends to our homesickness for the mystic and offers rays of light for the soul.