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Exploring the Enchanted Life: An Interview with Dr. Craig Chalquist on Terrapsychology

Connecting More Deeply with What's Around You.

Pick up an object in your house, something you can hold in your hands. What is the first thing you notice about the object? Maybe it's a beautiful color, an interesting texture, or maybe it has a meaningful engraving. Now, close your eyes and allow your other senses to take you wherever they want to take you. What memory comes up as you hold the object with your eyes closed?

What is your relationship with this object? Have you thought about what it means to you? Could you part with it if you had to, or do you feel obligated to keep the object? What emotions are you experiencing as you wonder about this one object in your life?

We tend to make it all about us, so now I want you to consider what life has been like for that object. What material is it made of, where was it made, how was it made? Was it carefully crafted using human hands, or was it spit out of machine? Where does the material come from? Is it made of wood, and if so, where did those trees live? Is it made of recycled material? Was it made in a foreign land or by a local business?

Our imagination is the bridge to the unknown that is waiting to be known. What do you want for your life that you don't have right now? Allow your imagination to create a story about you and this object, a love story, a tragedy, or even a romantic comedy. New ideas don't come from the mind, they come from the unconscious, and then the mind helps us shape and articulate the new idea. Active imagination can help you see options you don't even know exist for yourself.

Life these days is so fast and full of noise and stuff, and while we tell ourselves the objects we purchase will bring about a desired emotional state, is our attention span long enough to deeply connect with those objects to bring the joy we're searching for? Perhaps we need to rebuild the capacity to just be with an object or a place without an agenda, to allow the world around us to speak to us, to allow something new to happen to us.

It's not just objects either. It's the houses we live in, the places we visit, the coffee shops we run in and out of. Do you take the time to cultivate a relationship with what's around you?

What Does the World Want From Us?

Have you ever had a numinous experience with a place, animal or even a tree? The world is alive as much as we are. We mostly assume the world is there for our use, but the world doesn't need us. The world doesn't need humans at all. The world might feel relief if it didn't have to constantly keep humans from exploiting and destroying it faster than it can adapt.

Those birds chirping over there, they don't care about you at all. But what if we got ourselves invited into their world. I once had a hummingbird chirp at me for ten minutes. My kids thought I was making it up. It was as if the hummingbird had an urgent and important message for me.

"I don't know what you're saying," I said back. It just kept chirping at me. When I got back to the dream tending workshop, my partner said, "I think you were looking in the mirror." We both laughed at my hummingbird like nature. It was the beginning of shedding my professional persona. I was starting to come out as the quirky nerdy me that I hadn't felt safe enough to show. I'll never stick her back in the closet.

Listening and Connecting with Place

What's your relationship with place? Can you feel the places you live or visit speaking to you about their experience?  Do you have an irrational preference to live near the water? Or a hatred for suburban living? Did you know places experience trauma just like we do? Have you ever felt a strong energy of a place? It's connecting with something deep inside you that others may not feel.

In this week's episode of Dose of Depth (Terrapsychology, Enchantment & Re-Storying: A Chat w/Dr. Craig Chalquist, Academic Program Director of Consciousness, Psychology, and Transformation at National University), I have a conversation with my new depth psychology buddy and a fellow alum of Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Dr. Craig Chalquist is the Academic Program Director of Consciousness, Psychology, and Transformation at National University. A former psychotherapist and long-time graduate instructor and administrator, Craig teaches and writes at the intersection of psyche, place, philosophy, myth, leadership, and dream.

I think you're going to be challenged in a good way by our conversation. Don't try to grasp things with your mind, rather allow your body to absorb the energy of our chat. And then check out Craig's website, where you can become part of a community of people who are living a more enchanted life.

How is Your Unconscious Trying to Get Your Attention?

Your unconscious is talking to you all the time, through dreams, emotions, sexual attraction, conflicts, obsessions, and what randomly catches your attention.

Learn the language of your unconscious in my book, Your Soul is Talking. Are You Listening? You can listen to me read it on Dose of Depth podcast (here's Chapter 1) or purchase it at or Amazon.

If you're ready for an expert and teacher to hold confidential space for you to explore your unconscious, meander my services page.

Thanks for being a self-reflecting human!

Dr. Deborah

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