It’s been a while since I wrote to you about empowering schools and nonprofits to use my formula of Story + Direction + Relationships in order to engage with the community in a way that moves their mission forward.
Over the past three years as Executive Director for the Wisconsin region of Playworks (www.playworks.org/wisconsin), I significantly expanded impact, resources, and awareness. My work with Playworks was a gift during a chaotic time in my life, providing me with a way to be useful without the instability inherent in running my own business.
At the same time I also felt called to attend Pacifica Graduate Institute during this time of great upheaval and now have a M.A. and I am a Ph.D. candidate in Depth Psychology, which I call soul psychology.
I AM READY FOR A NEW ADVENTURE where I can put my new lens to work assisting individuals and organizations in their quest to overcome the obstacles that stand in their way of achieving their goals or reaching their potential.
Check out my newly updated website for information about my services. www.deborah-alinea.com
What does depth psychology mean for you?
I thought I’d share a little bit about this new depth lens, share stories about how this lens can help people look at stubborn challenges in a new way and offer useful tools to explore how the unconscious is a powerful source of insights that can be applied to life in practice ways.
One of the key founders of depth psychology is C.G. Jung. You’ve likely heard of him, and you’re probably familiar with some of his key concepts, like complexes (emerged from word association experiments), projection, dream interpretation, and psychological type (Meyers Briggs is based on Jung’s work). Essentially depth psychology values the unconscious part of our psyche as a source of wisdom, and for Jung, there is a part of our personality called the Self which tries to guide us in a process of unfolding as our highest potential. Unfortunately, it usually takes some kind of crisis for the Self to get our attention and prompt us to completely question what we thought was important in life.
The power of dreams
I’ll start with something fun and seemingly less serious to warm you up to the idea of how valuable it can be to explore your unconscious. The language of the unconscious seems irrational, and what feels more irrational than the images that show up in our dreams? They can be downright horrific or embarrassing if we think about them literally, but the language of the unconscious is symbolic, and if you seek to interpret your dreams literally, you will not be able to harness the insights they are trying to offer.
Here’s a dream that I felt so deeply that I attempted to re-experience it over and over for the next few months:
“As I fell backwards out of the doorway, down the hill in complete darkness, I was cradled by the warm wind and soft freshly fallen leaves. I felt safer than I ever have in my life.”
I awoke from this dream with an intense feeling of safety that I had never experienced in my life. This was during a time when I came to a deeper understanding about the nature of my relationship with my mother that went beyond her personal life and back three generations as I realized there were either no men or “bad” men in the immediate ancestry of my mother, father and stepfather. Whereas I had felt a general constant insecurity during my life, I came into contact with the archetypal Great Mother, which was very different from the experience with my literal mother, and this experience forever changed the way I exist in the world.
What you can do
I like Robert Johnson’s (Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth, 2000) approach to exploring dreams because I’m what I call a recovering linear person. Johnson’s process starts with recording your dream in as much detail as possible and then pulling out and listing all the images in the dream, which could be visual images, feelings, smells, and sensations. Then for each image he suggests you write down what the image makes you think or feel about. The more you write the better. The next step is to ask the question, “Where is this in my life?” If you have no idea, don’t worry, because one dream typically does not yield a powerful insight.
On another day though you can pick up where you left off by using Jung’s tool of active imagination, which means re-entering the dream consciously and just using your imagination to go where it leads you.
The most important thing to know about dreams is that they rarely are to be taken literally. Jung said that the language of the unconscious is the image. We’re not used to thinking symbolically, and it takes a little practice to set your intellect aside and be open to the power an image has on you.
What do you think?
I’d love if you’d share your own stories about insights you gained from dreams, as well as hear your thoughts about what you might find interesting for me to talk about on my newly-formulated blog.
I look forward to sharing more, and my special interest is relationships specifically between men and women.
Next time I may write about what you can learn from your movie-going experience. Stay tuned.