The Poetry of Loss

My son and I are driving into town for our weekly Friday morning special time and Suzanne Vega’s song “The World Before Columbus” comes on. It’s a song she wrote for her daughter that I used to sing to Everest when he was a baby, and these lyrics made me cry every time:

 

 

Those men who lust for land

And for riches strange and new

Who love those trinkets of desire

Oh they never will have you.

And they’ll never know the gold

Or the copper in your hair

How could they weigh the worth

Of you so rare.

They still make me cry. As we’re driving, I look over at him, so tall, fourteen, a pilot, an adventurer, a light of a human being, and I see the gold and copper that still shine in his hair. I sing along, tears forming as they always do. … Click here to continue reading...

The Fear of Getting Old

We live in an ageist culture. It’s not only that we’re terrified of death and hurry to sequester the topic away under the nearest rock or stuff it into the closest corner; it’s that, in a culture that reveres youth, beauty, and physical perfection, we fear aging itself. We fear the lines that inevitably appear on faces. We fear the roundness and softness of skin and bodies. We fear the gray hairs that sprout out as if to say, “Welcome to aging! No matter what you do, you won’t be able to fight the passage of time.” But we live in a culture that encourages us to fight it: to dye, exercise, and Botox the signs of aging away as quickly as they begin.

Like caring about what others think, absorbing other people’s lives, the fear of failure, and the addiction to perfection, the fear of aging is another byproduct … Click here to continue reading...

A Taste of My Own Medicine

Our older son will turn fourteen this week, and as part of the Jewish tradition he will be walking through the rite of passage of a Bar Mitzvah. Given that my husband was raised Catholic and now connects most deeply to Source through art and nature and the fact that we’re not raising our boys in a traditional religious setting, this will be a very creative interpretation of a traditional Bar Mitzvah. One of my dearest friends from childhood who is studying to become a rabbi will be officiating, we’ll be celebrating in a tent in our backyard, and my son will be offering a highly unusual drash (interpretation of his Torah portion), which has to do with his passion for airplanes. Like all aspects of our life, we’re doing it our own way.

Nevertheless, forty-five people will be joining us, many coming from around the country, and we need … Click here to continue reading...

Loneliness and Love

There’s a fundamental loneliness that is part of the fabric of being human. It arrives in the corners of night, when shadows form from curtain folds and the backs of chairs. It seeps in just before twilight, when afternoon exhales its last breath and evening hasn’t yet inhaled. It lives on the edges of exaltation, in the space between the golden hour when the gods breathe their jeweled breath over meadows and in the splintered crack just before night’s multi-colored ink begins to sink into dreams.

There are acute times when loneliness appears. Holidays, transitional ebbs in the day or week, birthdays. This is often when the shame stories bleed into loneliness and tell you things like, “Everyone else is having fun right now. Everyone else has a family and is off on an adventure and I’m alone. Or I’m not alone – I’m with my family or my partner … 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...