Posts Tagged With: Carl Jung

Day 1681: Everything that irritates us about others

Will it irritate you if I start off this post with a quote from Carl Jung?

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“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” — Carl Jung

Whenever I share that quote with others, they understand.

If you find any of  my photos irritating, that can lead you to an understanding of yourself.

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This is what comes up on YouTube when I search on “irritating Elvis.”

If you are too irritated to comment, I’ll understand.

Nothing in this post irritates me, so thanks to all, including you — of course! — for understanding.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 1612: Aficionado

Any aficionado of this blog knows that I often start by defining my terms.

a·fi·ci·o·na·do
əˌfiSHəˈnädō,əˌfisyəˈnädō
noun
a person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about an activity, subject, or pastime.
“aficionados of the finest wines”
synonyms: connoisseur, expert, authority, specialist, pundit, cognoscente

Yesterday, when we were eating salmon for dinner (prepared by cooking aficionado Michael) …

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I announced that Oscar …

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… was a fish-ionado.  My son, Aaron, who is a comedy aficionado, thought that was a good one.  Michael, who is irritated by puns, gave me the fish eye.

I don’t see myself as a photography aficionado, but that doesn’t stop me from taking pictures of other aficionados.

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Later today, I am seeing a tooth aficionado (who reads this blog) for some dental work. Tonight, I’m meeting a building aficionado at our new home by the water to discuss some possible remodeling.

My sister Ellen, who is an aficionado of fun videos, showed me this last week:

I assume the talent aficionados appreciated that.

I am an aficionado of blog comments and expect to be seeing some great ones soon.

I hope you’re an aficionado of gratitude and know I am sincerely grateful for all the aficionados who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — for you.

Categories: definition, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Day 1579: Action

When people take the action of joining my therapy groups, I recommend these weekly actions:

  1.  Do something mindfully, using your senses to stay in the moment.
  2. Take one action you think would be helpful.
  3. Notice and challenge an unhelpful thought.

For example, I am writing this blog post mindfully, using my senses to stay in the moment. I just took the helpful action of writing an email to my realtor, expressing my thoughts and feelings about a property.  My next action is to notice unhelpful thoughts about an action I took yesterday:

I’ve made another mistake.  I should have known better.

Here’s the action of challenging that unhelpful thought:

 Everybody makes mistakes.  I’m doing the best I can. Every mistake is an opportunity for me to learn and grow.

Yesterday, my actions included:

  • Voting for myself to be the next president of a group psychotherapy organization,
  • Putting an offer on a house near the water,
  • Expressing appreciation for the departing interns at work, and
  • Facilitating two therapy groups.

Every day, I take action shots and share the action here.

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When I show up at YouTube and gently search for “action” there, it’s true that I find this:

If you think it would be helpful to make a comment below, please take action.

My final action in this post?  Expressing gratitude to all who helped me create it and to you — of course! — for your action of visiting this blog today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 1187: Fools

Here are some foolish associations with the word “Fools,” on April Fools Day, 2016:

  1. On April Fools Day, 2015 (as documented in this foolish post),  I was fool enough to meet with an arrogant fool of a cardiologist,  who did not fool me or my doctors with his declaration that I was a doomed fool for not consulting with him earlier.
  2. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
  3. My son, Aaron, born of a foolish mother, is foolishly happy  he will soon be attending the University of Edinburgh , whose alumni include fools like Charles Darwin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, and J.M. Barrie.
  4. Because I’m a foolish mother, I naturally believe that any college admissions offices that do not accept my  son into their schools are fools.
  5. According to psychologist Carl Jung, the most developed and highly evolved archetype is The Fool,  as described at a  website discovered by this foolish daily blogger:

The Fool/Jester archetype urges us to enjoy the process of our lives. Although the Fool/Jester can be prone to laziness and dissipation, the positive Fool/Jester invites us all out to play–showing us how to turn our work, our interactions with others, and even the most mundane tasks into FUN. The goal of the Fool/Jester is perhaps the wisest goal of all, which is just to enjoy life as it is, with all its paradoxes and dilemmas. What causes most dread in the Fool/Jester is a lack of stimulation and being ‘not alive’.

I have no foolish photos to show you today.

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April Fools!

Here are lots of pictures recently taken by Ann Koplow, Fool:

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I hope you are fool enough to make the foolish choice to leave a comment on this April Fools Day.

Foolish thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and to you (be still, my foolish heart!) for visiting. No fooling!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Day 158: The Ascending Coil (revisited)

The first week I blogged here, back in January, I shared the introduction of a book I’m working on, which described a wonderful, useful way to look at your healing journey through life.

The Ascending Coil

I can use the word “wonderful” with all due modesty, because it’s not my idea.  Carl Jung came up with this soulful and true metaphor, which matches so many people’s experience of learning and growth.

This is what Jung said: While we may expect ourselves to learn and proceed through life in a linear fashion, like this:

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The human experience is more like this:

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(And  yes, that is  a picture of a Slinky!!) (Which I’m thrilled to have found this morning on-line, especially since several people I work with have bought Slinkies,  to remind themselves of this concept.)

Look at that beautiful Slinky.  THAT is how we grow. We move around in circles, learning similar lessons over and over again.

Of couse, that kind of path can feel discouraging at times … like we’re moving backwards. Like we’re relearning things we should  know already.

But here’s the good news. We’re always moving up.  Each time we go around, we have new wisdom and experience. Even when we move back around into periods of pain, confusion, or hopelessness, we will turn another corner and continue to move forward.

We can’t fall back. We can’t unlearn.  It’s impossible.

It make take us several go-rounds to learn something “well enough” to change, but we’re always building, in some way, on what we’ve experienced.

Why did I want to revisit this ascending coil, this morning?

Because when I woke up this morning, facing some difficult challenges — some new opportunities that scare me, I had this thought, which helped tremendously:

Today, I am more equipped than I’ve ever been in my life, to tackle what’s ahead of me.  Because, no matter what I’m doing, I’m further along, on this mortal coil.

Thanks for reading, wherever you are, today.

 

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 146: To boldly go where no Ann has gone before

My son, my bf, and I saw the new movie “Star Trek Into Darkness” last night. (I originally thought there MUST be a punctuation mark in that title — perhaps a “:” or a “,” or even a “.” But no. Nada.)

My son had one major question after the movie: “Why was it called ‘Into Darkness?'”

I said, “Maybe because of the way the movie was lit?”  Now that might sound like I was being all snark-y and Film School-y (and I did go to Film School, when I was in my 30’s), but I thought the movie was fine.

Regular readers of my blog may know that I love Star Trek, The Original Series (or TOS,  an acronym which is NOT immediately obvious to me, whenever it pops up). Even if readers don’t know of my feelings about TOS (The Original Series, for those of you who couldn’t hold on to that non-intuitive acronym even for a moment, like me), they may remember that I have written several posts referencing that TV show (here, here, and here).

I’ve used Star Trek (I’m dumping the whole TOS acronym for the rest of this post, people) in this blog, mostly to illustrate an experience I’ve been having, during this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally:

Accelerated Learning,

as illustrated by this Star Trek “villain” (played by Gary Lockwood):

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who became too smart and powerful, too fast, (with too shiny eyeballs), for his own good.

I just re-read that first post about Accelerated Learning, and you know what?  There’s a lot of Good Stuff in that post, to the extent that I thought, “I wonder if I have anything else to teach them?” (or more to the point, anything else to blog about, for the rest of the year.)

(I’m actually not worried about that, in the moment, although I AM feeling a wee bit … conceited, right now, having essentially “bragged” about how helpful I think that post might be, as well as having put myself in the role of “teacher.”)  (Okay, I’m letting go of any guilt about THAT, right now.)

Better.

Another thing I’ve been experiencing, this year, is a LOT of Synchronicity.

Here’s a definition of synchronicity:

syn·chro·nic·i·ty  (sngkr-ns-t, sn-)
n. pl. syn·chro·nic·i·ties
1. the quality or fact of being synchronous.
2. the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality —used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung.

Note the reference to Carl Jung, who is one of my Therapy Heroes.  (Another Therapy Hero was the gentle and wonderful Michael White, from Narrative Therapy.)

(Note also that the first definition, above, is essentially useless, as it refers to another form of the same word.)

Something else to note: another word for the concept of synchronicity is “coincidence.”

Here’s something I’ve noticed. I get really excited about coincidences, and not everybody does. 

Sometimes I think: there are two kinds of people in this world. People who get excited about coincidences and people who don’t.

Sometime I think:  there are two kinds of people in this world. People who think there are two kinds of people in this world and people who don’t.

So where was I, before all those digressions in parentheses AND italics?

Oh, yes.  Star Trek.  And Synchronicity.

So, right around the time that I was blogging so much about the shiny-eyeballed, scarily-smart Gary Lockwood character from Star Trek, rumors were swirling around the internet about the new Star Trek Movie, to be released in May.

And one of the rumors I read was this:

The villain in the new Star Trek Movie will be some version of the Gary Lockwood character in The Original Series.

I thought, “Wow!  How cool is that?  I’ll have to tell my dear readers about THAT little piece of synchronicity!”  Then, that turned out to be an old, outdated rumor.  Oh, well.

But, here was a “true rumor”:  the villain was going to be played by THIS guy:

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Benedict Cumberbatch.  Who is known, these days, for playing somebody else: another hero, who is important to me.

Sherlock Holmes.

I remember, when I was about 13 years old, spending one whole summer reading this book:

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I spent an entire summer reading this book, not because I was a slow reader (I wasn’t), but because there was SO MUCH information in this book.  Yes, people, there’s a reason why the word “ANNOTATED” is the biggest word in that title.  OMG.

But I loved reading  every word, every minute detail, as I made my way through these wonderful stories, starring the World’s Greatest Detective.

Why is Sherlock Holmes one of my heroes?

  • He is really smart.
  • He pays attention, all the time.
  • He doesn’t care what other people think about him.
  • He takes in all the details of all his senses, to solve problems.

It’s occurring to me, for the first time, that Sherlock Holmes is somebody who is REALLY mindful, in each moment.

Now I understand, in a new way, why he’s one of my heroes.

Thanks for reading, everybody!  (And I’m wondering about YOUR thoughts — regarding heroes, villains, synchronicity, Star Trek,  punctuation, or anything else you got out of this post.)

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 6: The Ascending Coil

Note: Today’s blog entry is an adaptation of the intro from one of the books I’m working on. Also, it’s the first time I’ve tried to use an illustration in a post!

In my work as an individual and group therapist, there’s an image I like to use when someone is discouraged about a personal setback. A client might say, “I thought I was making progress, but now I’m back to square one.” Or “I was feeling so much better, and then I started feeling bad again. What’s wrong with me?” Or “I’ve already learned this! Why do I keep making the same mistakes?”

When I hear people say these things, I often draw a spiral or coil that looks something like this:

(Honestly, what I draw might be sloppier than that, but it does a better job implying onward and upward movement.  But, hey!  the above is the best  coil  I’ve been able to find online, so far.)

I tell people this image is based on the work of Carl Jung, who described the ascending coil as the typical way that people grow, learn, and develop through life. Jung said that people keep going over similar territory, encountering similar issues along their way. And those circles can feel like we’re stuck in a pattern, going through the same damn thing over and over again.

However, notice that every time we circle around, we’re also in a different place. Jung said that the same time we’re going around, we’re also simultaneously moving up and ahead. Each time we come around, we’re further along, with experiences and knowledge we didn’t have before. Therefore,  we can never go over the same exact territory the same way. It’s impossible. We simply cannot  fall back to square one (or square anything). We may be re-visiting similar territory, but we’re different,  and we’re doing it differently every time.

I’ve drawn and shown this ascending coil  to many people over the years. When I talk to people about it for the first time, I often see reactions that look similar to how I felt when it was first shown to me. When I first saw and thoughts about that coil,  I felt recognition. I felt relief. I realized that I was not alone in struggling with (and often judging) my progress through life.  And, best of all,  I felt a reassuring acceptance about where I’d been, where I was, and where I might be going.

Each of us has our own ascending mortal coil, our own path of learning and growth.  For most of us, the  early, crucial go-rounds included some difficult passages.  Perhaps we encountered some unexpected calamities, too early. Perhaps we didn’t get some things we really needed. Perhaps we lost track of our basic worthiness.  Not surprisingly, those early go-rounds tend to influence and shape what territories and lessons we re-encounter  as we move upward.

For me, those early, formative passages included my being born with an unusual heart, which resulted in my being hospitalized a lot when I was a kid, and my needing a cardiac pacemaker when both I and pacemaker technology were quite young.  (Bragging point: I am the longest surviving person with a pacemaker, in the world.) (Yes, I am.)*

A lot of those early hospital experiences have lingered for me in challenging ways — making hospitals places I’ve tended to avoid, whenever I’ve had that choice. Yet, I have recently chosen to return to the hospital in a different way:  as a treater, not a patient, and doing work I love.   Do those early memories add fearful echoes to my current experience? Of course they do.  But I’m getting to do things differently this time around, and it feels great (if exhaustingly scary at times).

Whatever your formative passages were, wherever you are in your life right now,  I assume you also have re-encountered certain important issues in your life — learning and re-learning  lessons as you move up your own ascending coil of Life.

These issues may cause pain, they may create self-judgment, they may be an incredible pain in the ass, but they are undeniable.  They’re important. They’re difficult lessons to swallow or learn. Otherwise, we wouldn’t keep bumping, slamming, and stumbling into them.

I know it always helps me  to imagine moving up, always up, as I wend my way around my progress through life — my personal ascending coil. It helps to visualize myself on that path, moving slowly but surely, especially when I feel lost, confused, stymied, disappointed, angry, fearful, and judgmental of myself and others.

I hope it can be a helpful image for you, dear reader, too.

© 2013 Ann Koplow


* Actually, no, I’m not, which I found out in 2014. See here for more about that.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

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