**I’ve been wrestling lately with topics for a substantive, essay-like post but haven’t come up with anything that satisfies me. So, I decided to take a slightly more creative approach, opting once again to play around with stream-of-consciousness. This post is a kind of internal monologue in which I discuss and raise questions about some of the reading I’ve been doing lately. If you are not familiar (or if you have not read any previous posts), the full names of the psychologists mentioned below are: Carl Jung, Otto Rank, Rollo May, and Jordan Peterson.**
I’ve been in an oh, ah mood lately. Rhythmic, smoky, amorous. All dream catchers and gypsy poetry. Throaty jazz and heartbeats. I am intuitive and clever. Breezy. I have entered a season of raw intuition. Moving through the world by sense. Surrounded by luminosity. Covered in eyes. Sexual, fresh, alive. Seeing other people by the light from within. I met a girl the other day who I’d met before. I made her laugh for the first time. Her smile gave me stars. I am energized by the good. The soul that smiles. And, sometimes, the wound. My heart breaks whenever I look at strangers and see their wounds. The sadness, the insecurities, the tragic flaws that we wear on our sleeves. I am so flooded with compassion and pity I want to disappear. I should apologize for the intrusion. I also feel exposed. It is only my selfishness–my vanity, my cowardice, and my capacity for hardness–that closes me.
Archetypes and shadow selves. I’ve been looking at Jung. Bits and pieces. Perhaps, I’ll delve in after I finish my Rank-and-May phase. I envision archetypes like a pinwheel. A hub-and-spoke. A multiplicity of selves. Did I just write a poem about one? A wild woman. Earthy and unchained. Am I really writing about one now? Didn’t someone–I’m not sure exactly who–come up with a gypsy/wanderess archetype for a woman? Yes, I think so. I like the notion of archetypes. But, it seems to me to be frequently and easily overused and abused. I like feelings better. Designing feelings. Inner luxuries. Luxe caché. Communicativeness. So says May.
Values, values, values. Everything I’m reading now centers on the importance of values. Alignment and inner certitude. Values, virtues, and religiosity. May brings it up. Peterson brings it up. This talk makes me uneasy. At the crux of the matter, as far as I’m concerned is this–this central issue I’d like to reconcile: Must I attach to something “greater than” (read: external to) myself in order to become more myself? I don’t want it to be true. I want this process to be a self-created phenomenon. Individuation? An act of creative will and imagination. Does my ego really need to hook on to something in addition to? What’s scary is that I can almost see it…Oh, but, no! No! I believe in myself! My only certitude. My compass. My unshakeable core. My lightness. A source of wonderment and awe. My inner world is my life blood. It is my soul, the seat of my joy (and occasional bouts of amateurish wisdom). Integrity. When I do right by myself, all the rest falls into place. I can’t subjugate my will. Can’t give it away. I want to buck and run. I will not be doomed to live out the same self-betraying fictions over and over again. Autonomy. The closer one is to freedom, the greater is one’s anxiety. According to May. I will not forsake myself. I won’t. I won’t. I won’t. I have been chiseled with teeth. One day, I will look back and find myself cut like a diamond.
The pressures of externality. Politics, news, fake news, specious science, technology. Blisters. Prostheses. Education. Like a blood-hard stone. I envision my teenage self. Private school. Latin contests. White gravy and no meat on Fridays. Plaid skirts. We used to roll ours up and smoke. Fill our Gatorade bottles with Schnapps and chug them in the lavatories at lunchtime. Writing notes to our boyfriends. The stench of green walls and cigarette smoke. A crucifix over every door. Rebellion: a perversity of will. Rank? May? Both. I read it first in May’s Man’s Search for Himself. Or, was it Art and Artist? May has a remarkably sensitive authorial voice. If Rank were reading this, he’d say there’s no good reason for me to have written this paragraph at all. Filler. Distraction. I am feigning usefulness by providing details that will already be apparent to the trained observer. The past is inscribed in the present. The oh and the ah. I remember it all with a great, big smile.
Sometimes, I think if I had to give one piece of advice on living–not that I’ll ever be asked for one, mind you–it could all boil down to this: Just don’t be an asshole. Not to yourself and not to anyone else. Whatever that means for each of us (I’m shifting to the first person now.), in whichever circumstances we find ourselves during the different seasons of our lives. Whatever it takes. Beauty, love, work, vocation, religion, creativity, friendship, hobbies, expansion. Wait. Did I just answer my own question on values? Morality? Not really. I’d be blind without my intuition. Have I ever mentioned that? I like personality tests. I’m an INTJ. But, I don’t like talking about that because everyone talks about that. And, I’m already fretting because I think I’m talking about myself too much. But, no, no. Values. Alignment. Ego transcendence. I still need more information.
I want to freestyle this last paragraph and see what happens. I’m not editing this part, okay? Forgive me? I’m feeling capricious. Coquettish. Oh, ah. A mood like lace. A single fringe that tickles a strand of light through. Entranced. Unlocked. Sung. I spin myself into a reverie. I know I’m not the only one who thinks in poetry. My grandmother was a poet. I’m listening to Matt Maeson and drinking espresso. It’s almost time to run. Four miles. Four and a half. My favorite part of the day. I should be hydrating. The sun is shining, and it’s already warm. I was afraid this post would be weighty. Dense and philosophical. I wanted it to read like my mood instead. Like the weather. Heavy thinking. Warm and feather-light feelings. I suspect that’s not an accident.