Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Quote from 'Gift from the Sea' by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The beach is not the place to work; to read, write, or think. I should have remembered that from other years. Too warm, too damp, too soft for any real mental discipline or sharp flights of spirit. One never learns. Hopefully, one carries down that faded straw bag, lumpy with books, clean paper, long over-due unanswered letters, freshly sharpened pencils, lists, and good intentions. The books remain unread, the pencils break their points, and the pads rest smooth and unblemished as the cloudless sky. No reading, no writing, no thoughts even – at least, not at first.

At first, the tired body takes over completely. As on shipboard, one descends into a deck-chair apathy. One is forced against one’s mind, against all tidy resolutions, back into the primeval rhythms of the sea- shore. Rollers on the beach, wind in the pines, the slow flapping of herons across sand dunes, drown out the hectic rhythms of city and suburb, time tables and schedules. One falls under their spell, relaxes, stretches out prone. One becomes, in fact, like the element on which one lies, flattened by the sea; bare, open, empty as the beach, erased by today’s tides of all yesterday’s scribblings.

And then, some morning in the second week, the mind wakes, comes to life again. Not in a city sense – no—but beach-wise. It begins to drift, to play, to turn over in gentle careless rolls like those lazy waves on the beach. One never knows what chance treasures these easy unconscious rollers may toss up, on the smooth white sand of the conscious mind; what perfectly rounded stone, what rare shell from the ocean floor. Perhaps a channeled whelk, a moon shell, or even an Argonaut.

But it must not be sought for or – heaven forbid! – dug for. No, no dredging of the sea-bottom here. That would defeat one’s purpose. The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sorting the Seeds

This is a quote from Jungian analyst Marion Woodman's The Pregnant Virgin:

Sorting the seeds is a daily process of ruthless honesty that allows us grain by grain to discover our Being. the Latin verb esse means "to be"; thus in discovering our Being we are discovering our essence. This is a monumental task when we have spent our lives Doing, especially when Doing has become an escape from Being because Being is experienced as nothingness.

Again and again we have to say to ourselves: What was my feeling in that situation -- not my emotions, my feeling? My emotions may support my feeling, but emotions are affective responses determined by complexes, momentary reactions to an immediate situation. Feeling, on the other hand, evaluates what something is worth to me. What am I willing to put energy into ? What is no longer of value to me? What did I really feel when the boss fed me Smarties today? I've always enjoyed them before, but today I felt him saying, "Be a good little girl. Keep quiet. Don't bother me." Why am I depressed? (Follow the depression back to where I betrayed my own feeling and turned my energy against myself). Is it possible my lover is not the man I thought him to be? Does he see me at all? Am I projecting my own inner man onto him? Am I forcing him to take responsibility for my undeveloped talents? Am I treating my body as my mother treated hers? Am I thinking like my father? Where am I blindly reacting as they did? Where am I still reacting childishly? Is my anger coming from my gut or my head? Is it feminine anger or animus anger? (Feminine anger cleanses; animus anger leaves me tense.) Guided by the response of the unconscious as revealed in dreams, we differentiate grain from grain, question after question, until one day we find our own authentic voice.