The Examined Life and Personal Growth
Hello to my fellow travelers on this road called life! Haven’t written in a while because life keeps changing and keeps me busy. I’m told by those older than me that I should enjoy this time, as when kids get older and don’t want or need your company much due to busy lives of their own, all the spare time that looks so tempting now will not be quite as attractive. So, I am stealing a bit of time for myself — it’s time to get back to the real me!
The real me…who exactly is that? There are so many components of my life, and sometimes it feels like they don’t overlap. Mother, daughter, friend, supporter, housekeeper (oh yes, this likely falls under the mother component), single parent, widow, teacher, skin care/cosmetics consultant, person in recovery, and the latest addition: employed person. I have finally accepted an offer of a permanent J-O-B as we say in Mary Kay. If you know me at all, you’ll be aware that I really don’t want to work full time…at least not 52 weeks per year! Just seems like too much of a commitment, kind of like marriage: easier to get into than to get out of if you’ll pardon my analogy. However, this position found me, and it felt good, so, I accepted. And I’m grateful, and happy for the opportunity and all that stuff that one is supposed to be for a job in this day and age.
However, it is bringing up (once again) certain issues, concepts, ideas, whatever you’d like to call them, that are uncomfortable and thought provoking, so I’ll air these ideas here and solicit feedback. These feelings seem to be leading me on a quest: to learn more about my shadow self (thank you C.G. Jung) and how to become aware of and embrace some of these less attractive qualities — understatement — about myself. For example, I’m a bit ashamed to say (the other half of me, that shadow self, is laughing about it) that the other day I realized I wanted to trash some business-related items of a woman I don’t love so much!. Whoa! I didn’t do it (yet, smiley face), and now I see that there’s something here in this idea that bears examining. Not because I’ve considered doing something mean or wrong, but to realize the possibility that there is some quality behind this thought that, reworked, can benefit me and perhaps evolve into a more productive quality. At this time I have no idea of what that is, but I’ll keep investigating and let you know. To address this, I’ve obtained several books by C.G. Jung and a few by other authors. The one I’ve just started is titled “Shadow Dance” by David Richo. It has sparked a number of ideas for me, among them the following, to be expanded upon in later posts:
Growing past my stopping point
The birth of Self-Sabotage
What happened to having fun?
I hate minutuae and doing tasks I don’t remotely care about
How can I make a real difference in this world?
What happened to travel, writing, spa days and relaxation?
Amidst these deep life questions, life just keeps moving on. For example: My son just turned 18, is graduating from HS and has a job, a girlfriend (he’s silent on this point, so it must be true), college and a bright future ahead of him. He also no longer needs me as much and is, I’m becoming aware, a bit of a stranger to me these days.
What? I’m no longer required — allowed — to be the person I knew myself to be? How about this: ” Do you dare to consider loving the things you have hated your whole life?” (D. Richo, Shadow Dance Introduction. First damn sentence actually!) Well, yes, I believe I can be open to this. And to the fact that although it is Sunday, there is some work to be done from that J-O-B I mentioned. That is one of the things I have hated my whole life; having do to stupid, detail oriented work that I just don’t want to do; especially regarding a topic like how many core brands, images, statements that our client’s product has in six different countries. How does this make a difference in the world?
And here’s the worst part: I already know the answer to this question. Because doing the things you don’t want to do is how you grow. If I grow, I can become the person I’m meant to be, That’s how I can make a difference in the world. And how’s this for synchronicity: this month’s calendar affirmation states: “You can have what you want, do what you dream, and brave what you fear if you first see it done in your mind.” And I actually had just a glimpse of that this morning: A pretty Excel spreadsheet, with all the information required filled in and completed. Then I saw myself in NYC next Sunday at a Julia Cameron conference about “The Right to Write”, and her signing my copy of her book. (She is my personal growth guru right now, together with C.G. Jung.) Wow. Although these images were only for a split second, it was there! And it’s a start. Just like skipping my exercise class this morning to write this was a start on recovering a part of myself.
Following is a fit closing for today’s post, by my friend C.G. Jung: We meet ourselves time and again in a thousand disguises on the path of life.”
And now I really am grateful.