Saturday, October 27, 2012

Practical Hermes

Hermes, archetypal energy of all that is helpful, shows up in dreams or  life events when we most need a jolt, a surprise, a mind blowing change of attitude. Who among us doesn't need from time to time, or regularly, to be turned inside out, upside down,  and then mentally righted so that we can see that we weren't  following our path. Hermes whispers or speaks loudly or shouts to us in synchronous life events, through sudden intuitive flashes, or in breath taking dreams or nightmares. When Hermes is present in our life and dreams we know it because we're startled, taken by surprise, shocked into a new way of seeing things that makes a practical difference!

He comes as a trickster in dreams, unthought of ideas that clear out cobwebs of mind, or shows up in life events that appear totally whacky, out of the ordinary, and end up providing immense help. Hermes is a practical god, an archetypal energy that can be accessed by the human psyche, so as to get the help we need when we need it. It happens as an energetic pulse or flow or, what William James (father of American Psychology) referred to as a "raw emotional voltage".

In depth psychology Hermes is considered the most helpful of gods. Once we know he's there then it's as if we start witnessing his workings everywhere! Help of the practical variety comes to us here and there and everywhere, through unexpected encounters, chance meetings, things taking place that we would have never imagined happening. Hermes, his magical antics and mind bending and altering jolts, ushers us back onto or further along the way that is meant for us to walk in life.

Now we know he's there, beware....the god of all things mischievous and helpful looks our way and inevitably, indubitably, most assuredly, will materialize the surprise that pulls us back three paces after having taken two but is all right because we were off in the wrong direction to begin with!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Trauma and a Child's Psyche!

Trauma invades a child's mind through neglect, abuse, parental divorce, poverty, bad nutrition, chronic parental fighting, and anything else that goes on and on and damages a vulnerable human life. David Brooks in his September 27, 2012 new York Times article, The Psych Approach, reports that the effects of childhood trauma, left untreated into adulthood,  can be staggering: seven times the likelihood of alcoholism, six times more likely to have had sex before age 15, twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancer, four times as likely to be diagnosed with emphysema, increased chance of behavioral problems in school, impaired learning ability, decreased resilience, equanimity, and self control.

Helping a  traumatized child's psyche to heal via therapy, implementing psychological programs in the schools, and increasing parental and community education sets in motion the possibility that traumatized children can make their way successfully in life despite significant early emotional injuries and setbacks. The human psyche is resilient but needs help to heal when there has been trauma. Parents and others in authority can start the healing process by sensitizing themselves to the reality of childhood trauma rather than thinking, like I so often hear, "the kid'll just have to get over it."

Kids don't just get over trauma. They need the assistance of adults who are willing to move past denial and call trauma TRAUMA. This also applies to adults and their own inner child who still remembers and bears the scars of childhood. Consciousness calls us into greater sensitivity to our own inner child, to our own need to obtain the healing we need. Kids don't just get over trauma, but they can be helped to heal by our caring and sensitivity to the reality of trauma and the reality that the first step toward healing is facing truth and knowing that ultimately truth has the potential to set us free!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Traumatized Goddess...Woman!

Suffering goddesses is a image that I have meditated on for over thirty years of treating women who have suffered bodily, often related to childhood neglect and abuse. When the mind is in pain, the body cries out goes the old adage in depth psychology. A woman's body takes in pain differently that a man's and the pain often lingers through adulthood when childhood trauma has been severe and chronic.

Menopause brings its own sort of trauma, one that can often trigger in the brain a sense of once again being assaulted. The brain then goes into overdrive and sometimes proves difficult to soothe. Stress hormones run rampant, the brain perhaps associating menopause with traumas from childhood. A hypervigilant mind sees one trauma as just like the other. 

A New York psychoanalytic colleague and I were speaking about this during the past week. He asked, "What is the equivalent in an adult male?"  I answered, "Absolutely nothing!"  From menstruation to child birthing to menopause, a woman's body undergoes extreme physical challenges and pain. A history of childhood abuse triggers an association in the brain and it begins to fire off stress hormones as though the woman is once again being abused! There is no equivalent for a man.

The great dark goddess Kali, surfaces as the symbol of the powerful energy in a woman that can transform the darkness of trauma to consciousness and light, a greater sensitivity to the ongoing need for healing of the body and psychic self. She reveals a profound spiritual radiance that lies in potential for women who have suffered trauma. Kali is the demon destroyer, clearing through brutalities inflicted by damaged egos, offering healing energy hidden in secret places. 

As I shared with my colleague, "I believe it's the task for us men to raise our consciousness about the traumatized goddesses in our lives, to encourage and help with the ongoing, often life long, healing of a woman's body and psychic self. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hurry Sickness....Mind Madness!

Hurry sickness spins an awful spell. It whispers in our ear that doing just a little more will make everything better. Pretty soon we’re going fast to cram more into less time. When we listen to the titillating promise of more we inevitably end with a twisted gut and a fried brain.

Mind madness symptoms include irritability, quick temper, an empty pit in the center of the stomach. Worse, there’s a feeling of soul loss. Suffering soul loss can happen during the course of one day or less. This isn’t like the old religious notion of hell fire and damnation; it’s more like feeling so out of sorts that you don’t know who you are anymore and nothing satisfies you. Soul loss translates to mind madness translates to a sort of rats scratching at the wall of your mind stress and unhappiness.

Nothing helps to get us back on track like what my fellow New Mexicans speak of as switching to a mode of going low and slow. The conscious ego of a sincere person can take things down a notch, or a legion of notches, so that soul can be found and settled back into. Mind madness then goes the way of the Gerasene demoniac, a definite exorcism of hurry sickness and the psychic devils that whip up such an anxious maelstrom.

Low and slow settles us into soul and from there living is just a little more satisfying.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Nervous Ego...Restless Life!

Nervous egos, a power-packed term in depth psychology, abound in contemporary society. Flitting from this to that, always spinning one emotional drama after another, might just be a way of concocting a false self that temporarily jettisons us into an artificial sense of being alive. Nervousness inevitably lets us down harder than a drop on our head to a concrete pavement.

Depth psychology inspires us into soulful living. Rather than engaging with hypomanic energy, being overtaken and perhaps possessed by the muse who lures us with seductions of doing more and more, faster and faster, thoughtfulness and a deliberate creative attitude guide the way into fulfillment, satisfying one's nature. "But, I'm afraid of losing the adrenaline high" so many people have told me as they struggle to heal from anxiety addicted living. Soon, they experience the natural high birthed from living, not from the outside in, but from the inside out, grounded, centered.

Research in mind/body medicine indicates that excess cortisol produced by chronic stress impairs brain functioning and negatively impacts overall health, potentially leading into debilitating disease states. Yielding to the insecurity that fuels the fire of the nervous ego ends us up smack dab down and out, depressed, since whatever goes up so high inevitably comes down so low. Adrenaline laced highs take their toll on body and soul.

Ancient wisdom inspires us to live in the Tao, the kingdom within, the wonder of the everlasting now. Nervous ego living is best counteracted with a changed attitude in which we cultivate soulfulness, a palpable sensation of being in touch with our depths and proceeding from there and only there. When we live from within ourselves, and don't get pulled outside of self, then nervousness can be transformed into depth. "I'm getting used to the heck out of emotional ups and downs," one sincere seeker reported...hard won wisdom.