Social Anxiety and the Cocktail Party

While flipping through one of my favorite bedside stand-bys, Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion, I came across the following passage and chuckled out loud:

“My experience is that I can feel that I’m in the Grail Castle when I’m living with people I love, doing what I love. I get that sense of being fulfilled. But, by god, it doesn’t take much to make me feel I’ve lost the Castle, it’s gone. One way to lose the Grail is to go a cocktail party. That’s my idea of not being there at all.” p. 76

I smiled thinking about my audience of highly sensitive people who also struggle socially (not all HSPs struggle in social situations, but the vast majority are introverts so social challenges come with the territory). I smiled thinking about all of the times I’ve stood at a party feeling so … Click here to continue reading...

Sacred Sexuality: Now More Than Ever

With the latest exposure of sexual assault, abuse, and violation in this country, there can be no doubt that our culture suffers from profound sexual dysfunction and illness. Many of us, especially women, have been privately aware of the toxicity for a long time and we now know publicly that there’s hardly a woman in America who hasn’t suffered from some sort of sexual assault, but it seems to take a revelation of this magnitude for the awareness to rise up from the underworld of whispered stories and reach the collective consciousness.

What we’re seeing in the media is the opposite of sacred sexuality. We’re seeing a sexuality based on power, lies, and cruelty, a sexuality that treats women like objects and uses sex to achieve domination. Sexuality isn’t the only sphere where the domination model shows up; we’ve lived in a world that is predicated on competition instead of … Click here to continue reading...

Live the Questions

I recently came across the following in a book called “The Middle Passage” by James Hollis:

“What the frightened individual wishes above all is the restoration of the sense of self which once worked. What the therapist knows is that the symptoms are helpful clues to the place of injury or neglect, pointing the way to subsequent healing… As Jung asserted, ‘The outbreak of neurosis is not just a matter of chance. As a rule it is most critical. It is usually the moment when a new psychological adjustment, a new adaptation is demanded.’ This implies that our own psyche has organized this crisis, produced this suffering, precisely because injury as been done and change must occur.” pp. 36-7

You can see the philosophy from which I hail, yes? James Hollis is a Jungian analyst who writes from the depth psychological tradition, a field of psychology developed by Carl Jung … Click here to continue reading...

Take Back Your Gold

Last Monday, after a typical Colorado October snowstorm, my sons and I drove into town to serve dinner to the homeless. Consistent with this time of year, the snow started to melt just hours after it fell, and what was left was a stunning display of beauty where the golds and reds of autumn kissed the snow-covered foothills in the foreground with the pure white Rocky Mountains jutting up above it all. The juxtaposition of colors took my breath away and shook off the last shroud of the gray morning that had settled into my soul. As the sun broke through and added another layer of gold to the landscape, my heart did the same.

As we drove through the breathtaking beauty and I thought about the meeting of autumn and winter, I pondered for the thousandth time why I love working in the realm of transitions. It’s because these … Click here to continue reading...

World Anxiety

Photo by Everest Finn – taken 13 miles above Earth

One of the byproducts of being a highly sensitive person prone to anxiety is that you tend to take on others’ pain and stories. This is particularly true if you had an enmeshed relationship with a parent growing up and didn’t learn to solidify the borders of your skin but instead became a porous sponge that absorbed the emotional world of your parent. But the tendency to take on others’ pain and stories is a common struggle for many people regardless of early relationships and speaks to being both sensitive and not having established a full well of Self. For when the waters in your inner well are low, there’s nothing to absorb the pings and bangs of life: every story pings and every pain bangs on those dry, hollow walls.

This often shows up in my work around relationship … Click here to continue reading...