See It Through

In my past experience when something was broken beyond repair, I recall having trouble accepting it and moving on. I felt I needed to go back and find the lost object, or spend considerable effort and time fixing what was not fixable, whether an object or a person, relationship or situation. Sometimes my love or longing provided the glue that bound the fragments together; others, my anger. I remember a power struggle with a relative over heirlooms, for example, that lasted for several years. Even after the heirlooms were recovered, the energy of that power struggle continued. Recently, in fact, this 15-year-old energy has resurfaced in my loved one and stands there, hands alternately stretched forth with pleading or raising an angry fist, urging me to rumble.

I lack the energy to rumble. My energy wants to sink down and dream, to go to a place where I finally accept a dull sort of depressed waiting in which I do not need to carry much with me and do not even have an identity to show others. The metaphor of my stolen billfold and driver’s license some a few months ago was useful, for it put the question to me bluntly: To what end was I robbed, my identity taken? To what purpose am I now compelled to discover how to show you who I am without my emblems of identity? What new emblems are necessary for the journey ahead?

The sinking down of a depression may be consciously chosen or may come upon a person as “an unwelcome intrusion from the unconscious” (CW 8, para. 167). I have experienced both the chosen and the unchosen depression, and am working at accepting all the irreparably damaged parts of my psyche and holding them until the experience and feeling of sitting here with them is accomplished and some kind of recollection, renewal, or transformation occurs. That the power or spirit or energy to transform lies within myself is very clear, for recently I had a big dream and the numinosity of its characters fills me with awe and gratitude every time I think of them. I see these contents approaching, but they are not yet conscious to me and I resist them when I act; so I choose to wait. Stand and wait, or sit and wait, and sometimes even lie down on the ground and stare up at the sky and wait.

Literature is replete with tales of those who come to times like this, places in which a person is suspended among choices that present tests of character with the direst consequences. In Tolkien’s The Two Towers, for example, ring-bearer Frodo is poisoned by the giant spider, Shelob, and believed dead. His faithful companion, Samwise Gangee, is alone, grief-stricken, and torn among the choices before him. He can make revenge his aim by pursuing Gollum, the creature who led them to their fatal encounter with the giant spider. He can remain where he is, overwhelmed by his grief over the loss of his best friend. Or he can choose to join Frodo in death–run himself through with a blade or throw himself off the cliff.

He looked on the bright point of the sword. He thought of the places behind where there was a black brink and an empty fall into nothingness. There was no escape that way. That was to do nothing, not even to grieve. That was not what he had set out to do. “What am I to do then?” he cried again, and now he seemed plainly to know the hard answer: see it through. Another lonely journey, and the worst (From Ch. 10, “The Choices of Master Samwise,” The Two Towers).

Sam reluctantly takes the Ring and all the necessary equipment he needs from the body of his dead friend, and sets off on his own to complete the journey fate has thrust upon him.

It is no accident that Sam must set out alone and at night. Jung wrote that even when no tangible mood or depression calls a person into the night journey, a general dullness, discontentment, resistance to everything, boredom, vague disgust, or “an indefinable but excruciating emptiness” may do the work of a depression. “In these cases, ” wrote Jung, “no definite starting point exists–it would first have to be created. Here a special introversion of libido is necessary, supported perhaps by favourable external conditions, such as complete rest, especially at night, when the libido has in any case a tendency to introversion (CW 8, para. 169).

‘Tis night: now do all fountains speak louder. And my soul also is a bubbling fountain. (Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, XXXI).

12 responses

  1. I like your smilies even more 🙂
    Hey in all of those smart heads, there is somekind of.. drummer! – some one who is just doing what he is doing and is always in a kind of cycle. Something funny though – i really appreciate your comment on mine as i must say, my writingskills are bad. I even can’t point things not soo cleary.
    I’m astonished that i found your great blog! I thing i must read it all over – there is somehting in it i can’t comprehedn at the moment, but it kinde ffels liek i’m attracted and hmm connected to it, even i’m not a woman , huh.
    But, i think your a smiling person, you can laugh realy at things, don’t you? 😛 Just laugh with me 🙂
    I salute for your hard work here. Wow.
    Love you Eve’s 🙂

  2. Hey , i just came across your blog and must say, very nicely wiritten. In the first reading i though oyu sounded a little bit hmm angry and sad, but i think is misthinked it. Hey i love ya 🙂
    *humpi bumpi* 🙂

    • Mgee, thanks for your comment. Actually, I am a little bit angry and sad on this blog at times. Sometimes I’m very angry or very sad. Other times I’m very something else. Sometimes I’m just medium. Usually if I’m not much of anything, I don’t write (boring). You’re not reading it wrong, probably. I have a lot of passion and intensity that create heat. Or warmth and light, as I prefer to think. ;o)

  3. Yes, Eve, our parallel paths more than cross. Our mutual suffering of loss of our daughters being the supreme cross of connection. I Googling Demeter and Persephone over a year ago for a talk I was giving, wanting to make certain I had it down besides just living it. Googling around, up pops your blog. Ah, I love it when these gorgeous synchronicities occur.

    It wasn’t until quite a bit later that I took some time to look over your site and do some reading because, quite frankly, I had fallen into the images. As I read, I saw some people and places I knew. I’m like, this is unbelievable. But I smiled and shook my head and said, of course.

    It wasn’t until considerably later that I read of the loss of your precious daughter and then my heart stopped. I was sad for you and for me again, too. Then I said, God, this is more than unbelievable. How does this happen? Then I smiled again and said, of course.

    This past Friday night my husband, remember him, St. Richard? and I headed to the city of brotherly love to hear our colleague (yours and mine) and friend, Jim Hollis, speak on “Stories Told, Stories Untold, Stories that Tell us.” I thought how much he had enriched my life. I thought about how young I was when I first met him. Where have the years flown? I felt sad and grateful all mixed together. I thought about you, Eve, studying at Saybrook. You mentioned that some time back. I think it was about your getting away and the delicious aspect of that and I’m thinking, this is unbelievable, then I smiled again and said, of course.

    When the world is full of so much fake there it was, The Third Eve, and with it you and all of your other seekers. Please count me among them. There’s a big book in you, Eve. Do you mind me saying that tonight?

    Kindest regards,
    MJ

    • MJ, how funny that you’ve just seen Jim. I’ll be seeing him in April in a seminar on fairy tales. Exciting stuff!

      No, I don’t mind you saying that there’s a big book in me. We shall see. ;o)

  4. “Depression’s Upside”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/magazine/28depression-t.html?em=&pagewanted=all

    “Though it will make the Bill Mahers of the world wince, despair according to Kierkegaard is a lack of awareness of being a self or spirit. A Freud with religious categories up his sleeves, the lyrical philosopher emphasized that the self is a slice of eternity. While depression involves heavy burdensome feelings, despair is not correlated with any particular set of emotions but is instead marked by a desire to get rid of the self, or put another way, by an unwillingness to become who you fundamentally are. This unwillingness often takes the form of flat out wanting to be someone else.”

    (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/28/kierkegaard-on-the-couch/)

  5. And so, Eve, it seems you are pondering, exploring the depths. Wonderful, for we know that the gold there glitters.

    I don’t know if you think this, but I believe that we women go back over circumstances again and again. Once, while living and practicing in CT, I ran a men’s group. I kid you not, great kidder though I am. It astounded me how quickly the men wanted to move on no matter what the topic! On our last gathering (when we shared what we had all learned from one another) I told them that and I thanked them. I think when we don’t move on (particularly where anger is involved) or stop our thoughts we will become depressed and oh that hole is dark and smothering. I take yoga once a week now and it has helped me there. Now, that’s not to say I don’t get angry and feel old anger surface (which I suspect is resentment which I don’t want to feel for it’s so nasty) but sometimes we feel these negative emotions. Hey, it made Freud famous talking about that stuff.

    I love that you had a marvelous big dream! Oh paint its characters, Eve, or dance them or allow them to speak! I dreamed a few nights ago that something was stuck in my throat so down went my thumb and pointer finger and I pulled out a dragonfly. I set it free but oh, something was still there so down went the fingers again. I was immediately aware that it was yet another dragonfly and its wings were fragile. I was even more gentle as I touched it. When I released this creature I felt, oh look at this, I haven’t paid attention to dragonflies since my girl days when I jumped upon my bike and went fishing! I would think them ‘people like’ as they hovered right in front of me, two little eyes looking and making contact.

    I don’t think your identity is lost, Eve. Your written word is a distinct thumbprint, one-of-a-kind identity and quite frankly, it is engaging and mesmerizing. Never doubt yourself for you have given us so much. I’m so happy to have found you so synchronistically when Once Upon a Time I Googled Demeter and Persephone and up came your site.

    MJ

    • I’m happy to have found you, too, MJ. I hope some day we can meet face-to-face.

      Thank you for sharing your dream, for strangely enough I have a parallel of two creatures in my dream. In my case, I dreamed of a youthful archer of perhaps 20 or so years, golden and numinous in a god-like way. He fitted a golden arrow into a gold bow and took aim at two peregrine falcons, one at a time.

      The fact of the two struck me and I’ve been mulling it over, intending to look into the archetypal meanings of two, but engrossed in my reading in Jung at the moment–on synchronicity. Imagine my coming here afterward and reading about your dream of two dragonflies. All last year I regularly dreamed of insects–spiders, beetles, dragonflies.

      It’s a blessing to be going along this jouney and look over and see you on your parallel path.

  6. Our society is a great one for avoiding pain and suffering at all costs. We think that life should not involve suffering. It wasn’t until I had Katie 18 years ago that I realized there are things you cannot avoid, that they must be gone through, that there is no way round them. It was a very difficult lesson, one that dropped me to my knees for years. Even four years ago when I decided to kill myself, to avoid the pain, I still had not fully learned the lesson. And now, once again, I have the chance to see it through. Apparently, the universe feels I am not a quick study:)

    Take care.

    • Deb, I don’t believe we’re wired to become quick studies. If we were, our lives would be shorter and we wouldn’t have the second half of life to make up for (or go beyond, or deepen) what we did during the first half.

      You may get the same kind of grim satisfaction that I have from knowing that the ego only wants to survive and to avoid suffering. When we choose to live and to become conscious, we also choose to suffer. This is the more noble choice between unconsciousness (or death) and consciousness and suffering–and life.

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