I've become increasingly aware, in a somewhat embarrassed way, of the difference between psychologically recovering from irrational complexes that hamper us, that keep us from living –
and actually, actively, doing things in the world, doing things in life.
I mean, okay, I've always kind of stunk at this. My sister and brother will easily see this, and perhaps roll their eyes slightly – they can probably, as I can, see me at 8, at 13, at 16 – and unfortunately later – reading and dreaming the time away, Mom trying to get me to go outside, Dad trying to teach me something in the physical world – but I constantly pulled back into my own world of books, until everyone gave up and left me alone.
Imagining, rather than actually getting anything done – and without even doing the work of the imagination: a blank book from my early teens, with some calligraphy and pictures by and from both of my sisters, shows me playing with ideas and words – but it, like others on the shelf, is empty after the first thirty pages or so.
I always did this – played with writing, played with ideas, played with music, but never worked at anything long enough to do it well, never did enough to be very professional. A perpetual part-dilettante, part-dreamer. Story of my life –
and not something I expect to ever really get beyond. Especially this past week – since Christmas Day I have spent an amazing amount of time asleep each day, in this northern darkness. Understandable, but also a bit ridiculous. I seem to have reached an extreme state....
Jung speaks at one point about the worst thing for an analysand to realize, the hardest thing to accept – it is the time they have lost, that they cannot get back: that often, when certain complexes or patterns disintegrate, one of our main feelings is – Why didn't I realize that sooner? Why have I lugged that around for all these years?
They realize how they have damaged the possibilities in their own lives, and now they are able to proceed without creating that damage or those limitations – but it is much, much later than it used to be, time has passed, and there is much less time remaining to do... well, anything. Everything.
Over the past five years or so, I have enjoyed dreaming, and paying attention to dreams, more and more – and now, as I am training to be an analyst (no, I am already an analyst, I've had patients for a full year now, since 28 December 2014!), that dreaming and paying attention has some real impact, it is a kind of work.
But still, as I have done since I moved to this far northern town, I continue to float along through my life, viewing its liveliest and most exciting parts as long past, not leaving the flat much, watching too much television...
distinctly unlike that Rocky Horror advice: dreaming it rather than being it.
(P., who was one of my last Los Angeles roommates, will completely understand this – he will probably recall, from oh my god is it really around twenty-five years ago?, me doing little for weeks on end.)
Over the past few months, seeing how much has changed for me, I am so glad of it all – but also a bit uneasy: will my friends look at all of this context change, and say, Okay so, what are you doing today?... what are you doing with this new, or recovered, energy?... because you can't just sleep and coast, and assign all that to a deeper Jungian understanding of dreaming. Ha, ha, as if.
N., always so assertive and direct in her relation to life, is simultaneously an inspiration and an incitement for me to hide – I feel as though I don't quite want her to know how little I actually get done on any given day: how little exercise, how little writing, how little engagement with things-that-must-get-done...
And my regular Skype conversations with M. have taken a slight turn: he sounded this week exactly as though I was one of his feckless graduate students – and he responded with skill that must be familiar to him by now, encouraging me, setting tasks, setting deadlines. An amusing but appropriate shift in tone.
And I will meet N. and R. to go over our plans for the coming year, an inspiring task where I feel that I lag behind the two more businesslike and more physically-in-the-world women.
And before that, lunch, where along with N. and R., J. and M. will be there – men who also do a great deal every day, who take care of other people...
So: I won't change terribly much, we all know that. Not in this lifetime.
But I might manage to change a little: to take my deadlines a bit more seriously, to work a bit earlier on things, to generate ideas and writing – to be creative? –
No, no guarantees. But perhaps some small, but possibly frequent, shifts in energy, directed more outwards, more forwards in time...