Category: Individuate

Failure to Launch

A Review of Separation-Individuation Struggles in Adult Life: Leaving Home by Sarah Fels Usher Click on title below to read a copy of the review (downloads as a Word document): Failure to Launch and the Pain of Emotional Dependency First published by PsycCRITIQUES April 24, 2017, Vol. 62, No. 17, Article 4. It can be …

A meditation on love

The Indian union of Shiva and Shakti (also known as lingam and yoni), along with the Chinese Yin-Yang, show the power of love resides in joining opposites. Love overcomes antagonism and dualism, dissolving difference in a complimentary and binding whole. In Plato’s Symposium, Aristophanes gave a similar account of love. He told the myth of …

Seeking the muse … again … and again …

I took time off from working on a manuscript to prepare a short paper and present at a conference. As I shift my focus back to book writing, I feel the weight of a large, creative project, along with the need to regain momentum that I typically face after a break. A friend once described a book …

Transformative approaches to crises, self-doubt & extreme states

Crises and self-doubt plague all of us at different times in our lives. A natural response is to want to escape the turmoil and angst, and return to solid ground as quick as possible. Yet when we can remain open to suffering, and not shut down or numb out, troubled times can become opportunities for deep transformation. Murray Stein describes …

Individuation and the spiritual aspects of healing trauma

I am reading Murray Stein’s wonderful book, Minding the Self: Jungian Meditations on Contemporary Spirituality, after spending the weekend assisting a sensorimotor psychotherapy training. On first glance, spirituality and neurobiologically-informed psychotherapy might seem to have little in common. However, one of the topics in the sensorimotor psychotherapy training was the model of structural dissociation — …

A bit of kindling for Hestia’s fire

I am in the process of moving my office to another room in my home. I’ve been going through folders and boxes of paper, some of it I can’t remember why I saved. But I am also finding a few gems, like the notes below that I took at the 5th San Francisco Mayor’s Summit for Women, …

Maya Angelou on what it takes to truly live

In Remembrance of Dr. Maya Angelou April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014 “Most people don’t grow up. It’s too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older. That’s the truth of it. They honor their credit cards, they find parking spaces, they marry, they have the nerve to have children, but they don’t …

“The Red Book”: A primer for healing madness in a mad world

Through his meticulous design of The Red Book, CG Jung interwove his experience of madness with the collective suffering of his era. Such syntheses are rare — and just what the current mental health field desperately needs. In what follows, I look at how The Red Book became Jung’s journey out of madness as well …

Embracing the shadow side of creativity

In a blog post, “What is Creativity?,” Maria Popova quoted designer Charles Eames on the cultural obsession with the creative process: “Recent years have shown a growing preoccupation with the circumstances surrounding the creative act and a search for the ingredients that promote creativity. This preoccupation suggests we are in a special kind of trouble — …

The “Ides of March” in the cycle of growth

“Beware the Ides of March,” says the soothsayer to Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s drama about the leader’s demise. This phrase, which once forewarned Caesar’s assassination, is uttered each spring by mental health professionals. According to folk wisdom, the season coincides with an increase in mental disorders and symptoms of psychological distress. “March Madness” has become …

Love and the split self

The other night, I watched the movie, Take This Waltz (2011). (I try not to give the ending away, but if it’s in your movie queue, you might want to pass on reading the rest of this paragraph.) The protagonist, a young Canadian woman, is happily married, although not excited about her life.  She writes …

More wisdom from Pema Chödrön

In her “Smile At Fear” Retreat (2010), Pema Chödrön spoke to the challenges of living with uncertainty —and the fear it produces — during difficult times such as ours. (I also shared about the retreat in this post.) Here are a few more pearls of wisdom from Pema’s teachings: • Fearlessness starts with unconditional acceptance of your basic …