Hello as You Shelter in Place

“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.” ― Wendell Berry

Here’s to Your Health

Bill Bryson states in his book Mother Tongue that “hello” comes from Old English hál béo þu (“Hale be thou”, or “whole be thou”, meaning a wish for good health). Health is clearly the opposite of illness. According to Jungian analyst J. A. Sanford the word health might have come from the Saxon word hal which is also in the words hale and whole. Every time you say, “hello” to someone you are saying that you hope they are whole and healthy. Therefore, wholeness implies health.

Wholeness

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” ― Rumi

Many of my clients have wondered what wholeness really means. If you are sound and whole in body, mind, and spirit, then everything is interacting and working in relation to each other. That is, all your body parts speak to each other in the same language in order to work harmoniously together. There are no rebels or renegades so to speak. A person can feel grounded, at home and safe within their own body. A simple example is that if you ever had a splinter in your foot or finger, your entire self was focused on getting that tiny little intruder out because your whole organic system was triggered. This was an experience of feeling an internal split, divided-ness or separateness from yourself because you’re experiencing the other, the splinter. Now in that splintered moment was the conscious awareness of a personal conflict. Currently the conflict is the current Pandemic that is splintering everyone.

To become right with yourself again, you have to deal with or process the splinter conflict. The splinter is an example of not being right with yourself or feeling right with the world. This includes not knowing what is true, what is happening because of all the confusion. At times, everyone can relate to when everything is not alright because things do not feel right. This simple example can be applied to anything that causes you to be wounded, impaired, or incapacitated.

Something that is whole and feels complete is something that is intact and undivided and has no parts missing. There are no fragments or outliers. Therefore, the state of health is the general condition of the body, mind, and spirit, especially in terms of the presence or absence of illnesses, injuries, or impairments. Wholeness and health allow the soundness, vitality, and proper functioning of your total personhood even in the midst of a world crisis when a person is grounded and safe within their own personhood.

Healing occurs when the troubling unconscious contents are worked with when they are brought out into the light of the day. All your issues need to be assimilated into the whole personality with nothing left out or emotionally cut off.  These are your dreams, symptoms, fantasies, and things that disturb your life’s balance and equilibrium It is a completely natural process that is necessary for the integration of the psyche to take place. Psyche, means and refers to the human spirit or soul and the human mind as the center of thought and behavior. Poetry can capture the soul and nature of what is going on in the world. The following poetic verse excerpts might speak to you.

In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate;

Intellectual disgrace
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie, locked and frozen in each eye.

With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise ― W. H. Auden In Memory of W. B. Yeats

Panic or Precaution

Panic or Precaution

Fear is the cheapest room in the house, I would like t see you in better living conditions. ˗ Hafiz

A person sometimes might shiver with fear in the face of an unknown thing. The world might seem chaotic, disconnected and out of control because an invisible attacker has appeared on the scene. The invisibility of a virus can seem to look like a land mine under a microscope. A round ball with spikes that can explode at any time. Ironically it seems that toilet paper is the most needed item symbolically for some people in order to be able to clean up a mess. Panic seems to be running rampant and trampling over rational precaution like a swarm of 17-year locusts devouring everything in its path; just like a deer panicked by the headlights.

Etymologically the word panic comes from the Greek panikos, it is the name of the Greek god Pan, noted for causing terror, to whom woodland noises were attributed. Pan was considered to be a nature god who used reeds to invent the pan flute or panpipes. The word panic is not related to the word pandemic.

Panic is a strong emotion that captures a person in its grip. However, panic is also a normal human emotion. An extreme reaction to feeling panicky is a panic attack which is characterized by four or more of the following symptoms: it can have an abrupt onset that develops swiftly. It can reach a peak within 10 minutes: Palpitations, pounding heart, with an accelerated heart rate, even breaking out into a sweat with trembling or shaking. Panic is a sudden sensation of fear, which is so strong that it causes a brain lock such as to prevent rational reasoning and logical thinking. Normal responses are frozen and replaced with overwhelming feelings of anxiety, or frantic agitation consistent with a person wanting to flee with an extreme fight-or-flight reaction.

Preventative Strategies to Use When Feeling Stressed, Anxious or Panicky

 

  1. Take a time-out.Listen to music, meditate, do yoga, get a massage, or learn to relax.
  2. Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Use healthful, energy-boosting snacks.
  3. Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
  4. Get enough sleep.When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
  5. Exercise dailyto help you feel good and maintain your health.
  6. Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
  7. Count to 10 slowly. Repeat.
  8. Do your best. Don’t aim for perfection, which isn’t possible, feel good about all you achieve.
  9. Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective.
  10. Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
  11. Maintain a positive attitude. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
  12. Observe what triggers your anxiety. Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed.

 There are only 2 ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other as though everything is a miracle. ˗ Einstein

Sorry or Apology

Sorry or Apology

“You are not too old and it is not too late to dive into your increasing depths where life calmly gives out its own secret.” ­ Rainer Maria Rilke

Some people say words like I ‘m sorry in many situations. Sorry seems to be a generic response just like the words hi or, how are you? So, for instance, the phrase, Sorry to bother you, is an apologetic expression used to imply regret for using up someone’s time as in asking a question that the person has no answer for. Some public examples recently that were in the news include a Senator and a CEO who regretted their public candor. They were not sorry nor did they apologize. The following poem conveys this difficult feeling:

Three words, eight letters, so difficult to say.

They’re stuck inside of me; they try and stay away.

But this is too important to let them have their way.

I need to do it now; I must do it today.

I am sorry. ˗ Author Unknown

Sometimes a person might feel guilty over many things and that person is always saying, “sorry” about everything. Guilt and feeling guilty can be a remorseful awareness of a personal sense of sorry-ness. It is a critical self-judgment that one may carry for a long time. A person might feel responsible for an offense or a wrongdoing and instead of apologizing the person carries the guilt and does not rectify the issue. Often a guilty behavior could be seen in a person that is always saying, “I am sorry” seemingly about everything versus a particular issue that needs to be cleared up.

Conversely an apology can be an excuse to act in a self-protective defense by justifying a flaw or fault. The word sorry is often substituted for the word apologize like saying “I am sorry to be late” instead of an apology over being late for an appointment, such as “I apologize for my lateness because I was caught is a traffic jam.”

The problem with saying I am sorry often is that a person is telling him or herself that they are in a mental state of a felt sense of loss, sorrow, mourning, grief or disappointment which is really not true. Overtime seemingly always feeling sorry, this dynamic might cause a person to constantly feel sad, down or blue.

Consider that there are different levels or feeling aspects to an apology versus just saying “I apologize.” One attribute of apology might be feeling regret and expressing remorse by writing a note or stating it in an open court room situation to a victim. This would be owning a personal responsibility and the response-ability would include an admittance or acceptance for example, wounding or hurting someone intentionally or unintentionally. Perhaps another might be to make a restitution to make things right again with another person. By taking action to make amends would be an active apologetic compensation. A genuine reparation can include asking for forgiveness. There are many different ways to ask such as in a poetic way.

This Is Just to Say

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were probably

saving

for breakfast

 

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold ˗ William Carlos Williams

Thisldo or Thatldo

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” ─ A. A. Milne

Many of my clients find themselves stuck between this and that. This is about now in the present moment. That is about over there somewhere in the future. There are people who at times will just make do until they decide whatever is their most significant “this or that.” They will say something like that they will just have to settle with what is until they can figure it out.

There are many parts to this dilemma. Choice has been abandoned because a person does not want to make a mistake. While feeling stuck a person may decide something in their mind like I will go and find a new job. However, no action is taken, perhaps the person really doesn’t want a new job, and then nothing happens to give their life any type of forward movement. If the choice between this and that does not promote enthusiasm, excitement, curiosity, or generates any kind of interest one might do nothing. Emily Dickinson’s poem simply and succinctly explains why.

That it will never come again
Is what makes life so sweet.
Believing what we don’t believe
Does not exhilarate.

Making do is a situation

“You make do with what you have. As you age you learn even to be happy with what you have.” ─ Haruki Murakami

If you cannot accept and be happy with what you have then the situation is about settling for something that is merely adequate and not that bad because the person is caught in the middle of this or that.  These middle energies can consist of an energetic inaction such as procrastination, sleeping too much, using distractions such as TV watching or playing video games which puts off a needed new option, choice or alternative.

Consider starting and taking the first step right where you are. Everyone has some type of dream that their feminine soul would like to experience and fulfill. Sometimes the masculine spirit is not helpful in manifesting that dream.

She doesn’t settle for less

Than her soul deserves;

she is brave and beautiful,

tender and fierce;

And when she sets her sights

on something, she doesn’t

stop dreaming until it’s true. ─ Mark Anthony

Jack and Jill

“Sweet water’s dimpling laugh from tap or spring;
Holes in the ground; and voices that do sing;”
─ Rupert Brooke The Great Lover

An issue for some of my clients within the heroic youth oriented American culture is the push and drive for achievement and success, even at the cost of their physical or mental health. Often there is an inner drive to accomplish both fame and money by pushing the river of life, metaphorically speaking, to climb the ladder of success. Competition and acquisitions seems to cause people to abandon themselves and become full of fear or anxiety about their future as they try to go from A to Z instantly without using conscious intelligence, awareness, instincts or even insight. The opposite of this might be the lack of using their inner guiding wisdom and authority. Many people appear to seek mentoring or training from other heroic figures in the same area that they want to attain. In American culture the elders and authority figures with life experience do not seem to be valued or admired nor sort out for their leadership skills in navigating difficulties. Psychologically speaking the following nursery rhyme that is told simply demonstrates this notion of not using consequential or critical thinking within the ups and downs of life.

Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill went up the hill
to fetch a pail of water;
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
and Jill came tumbling after.

Up Jack got and home did trot,
as fast as he could caper,
to old Dame Dob, who patched his nob
with vinegar and brown paper. ─ Unknown

The Jack and Jill nursery rhyme is from the 1800s and seems to be a psychological metaphor. The name Jack can imply any type of male worker such as a lumberjack, or a jack-of-all-trades. The name Jill which came from Juliana means youthful. The boy and girl or male and female image suggests everyday youths or perhaps ordinary people living a basic innocent youth oriented human life. Everyone needs water, the water of life to quench their thirst and live. Together they start to climb the hill to get the pail of water. The hill as an elevated area might represent an inflated striving to go higher to reach their goal, perhaps a jack-pot. The pail is a water tight container that holds a precise quantity of liquid, an allotted amount.

The two begin their climb from down on the ground because they might possibly think that the water they want to fetch may be in a well at the top of the hill. They incorrectly think the well is up the hill; however water runs down hill and evens out to its own water level. A well would suitably be dug at ground level to access the water table. They are unaware of the nature of water. Water can be a symbol of feelings and emotion, the unconscious, and the depths of being. Jack and Jill could conceivably be looking for emotional support in the wrong way to acquire their common goal and achieve success.

As they fall down and experience failure Jack’s crown of success breaks. A crown sits over the brain’s frontal lobe. Its role regulates voluntary movement such as walking. It also gives the ability to think and reflect about future consequences based on current actions with a capacity for task differentiation plus the use of personality and self-awareness. Jill unconsciously and automatically follows his lead.

Jack still is caught in his emotional reaction to speed and motion as he rapidly retreats back to where he started. The 1950’s slang word dob can mean to abruptly report to a person in authority for wrong doing. The person he goes to for help and healing is a wise woman authority figure, a dame which can be comparable to a knight or a sir. She heals his nob which is a slang word that means head with vinegar and brown paper. Vinegar is a fermented healing agent and it can also sour the disposition and speech. Brown might suggest specifically cooking until brown because the brown paper is cooked. White paper (sometimes bleached) is a substance that is made from wood pulp, rags, straw, or other fibrous material. It is an unmarked, blank and a pure image. This paper might suggest that the substance and fabric of our being has to be cooked by experience in order to know consciously the right attitude, approach, and direction to go.

“Firm sands; the little dulling edge of foam
that browns and dwindles as the wave goes home”
─ Rupert Brooke The Great Lover

What Is Real? Vs. What Is Fake?

What is happening in the world has upset many of my clients from fears of climate change, the environmental issues, the migration of peoples, and the world politic to name a few. Some feel captured in their emotions and are living is a state of mind by a paralyzing anxiety that causes them to go from A to Z and the end of the world in their thinking.

The Victorian English poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) in his poetry describes his despair about man and himself in his poem Carrion Comfort:

Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee; Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;

Ruminating repeatedly and catastrophic thinking creates feelings of dread and despair. Despairing is a passive aggressive activity against the self. There seems to come a point when one feels consumed by their hopelessness and gloom. The anguish of their despairing thoughts causes them to ask why bother and what is the point of it all. They want this state of mind to end. At the extreme end of this preoccupation a glimmer of hope might start to enter. The poet states: “Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be…”

Some people seem so confused and depressed over the world’s daily news that they have wondered aloud what can be done. What is real? What is fake? How can I know? What can I trust? Hopkins seems to imply that this emotional suffering can eat away at one enough that what is not true can start to fall away. Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear…

A person can begin to trust their own life process and intuit their own right contribution to their world from right where they are. He said, All the world is full of inscape and chance left free to act falls into an order as well as purpose.

A person can sit still, follow their breath, and relax into their own body to gain personal relief. Life’s meaning and purpose can reveal itself. As a priest Hopkins probably prayed, meditated, and contemplated. In the following quote he states, Elected Silence, sing to me And beat upon my whorlèd ear, Pipe me to pastures still and be The music that I care to hear.

By sitting quietly and listening to yourself and your own intuition as Hopkins explained, Your personal boundaries protect the inner core of your identity and your right to choices.

“O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed.” ─ Gerard Manley Hopkins

Loneliness

The Lonely Hunter

“Deep in the heart of summer, sweet is life to me still, But my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill.” ─ William Sharp

The heart is a Lonely Hunter; this book title was derived from sharp’s poem The Lonely Hunter. The poem refers to personal isolation and the love-hate relationship about being alone and feeling lonely.

Loneliness

“The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness.” ─ Norman Cousins

I have noticed that many people I have worked with have a difficult time during the holiday season time of the year and cannot wait for the holidays to be over. Sometimes they sit with strong feelings of loneliness. Loneliness is a state of feeling cut off from and perhaps longing for connection, love and heart. Some people may experience a lack of contact either physically or emotionally with others. Loneliness is not to be confused with solitude and a quiet time to reflect and restore their vitality. It is like being in a solitary confinement. Some people just have a disposition toward being alone.

Loneliness causes people to question and ask themselves why am I here and why was I born, what is my purpose and life’s mission, how can I discover my own niche in life that is a perfect fit for me?

As we are quickly winding down 2018 have you had any feelings or thoughts about your coming year? Are you wondering what is in store for you in 2019? Do you have a felt sense, instinct or an insight as to your own personal direction in life?

This is a good month, the last month of the yearly cycle to contemplate your life’s possibilities. Take a few moments to review your thoughts, feelings, dreams, and your insights by paying attention to what has floated in and out of your mind.

Consider allowing yourself to be an intuitive visionary for your own life to fulfill your heart’s desire. See and look, listen to yourself, and be aware if any answers to your questions are being transmitted to you. Are the new thoughts and ideas that have come to you the food you need for further investigation and exploration on your path?

“When you close your doors, and make darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; nay, God is within, and your genius is within. And what need have they of light to see what you are doing?” ─ Epictetus

 

Blame, Fault, and Guilt

“You can’t blame gravity for falling in love.” ─ Albert Einstein

After noticing that there is often confusion about the “blame game” by some of my clients within their interpersonal relations, I began to wonder about the differences betwixt and between blame, fault, and guilt.

Blame – Be Lame

“When people are lame they love to blame.” ─ Robert Kiyosaki

 When a person is blamed for something whether they did it or not they will feel diminished and their sense of self feels “lame.” When you are blamed this type of disapproval stresses a sense of being held liable. When one is blamed even accused of something the person can feel responsible when censured. Censure produces the feeling of being condemned. As a person sits within this feeling they are experiencing a felt sense of self-attack.

Fault

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
─Shakespeare: Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

 When you feel at fault or told it is your fault the resulting self criticism is that of failure. To experience a feeling of failing or failure seems to imply a weakness or lack of ability to measure up to some standard that one is held to. Again this is a familiarity within an incident of self attack.

Guilt

“Guilt is anger directed at ourselves—at what we did or did not do…” ─Peter McWilliams

When you feel the sinking feeling of guilt, as the offender of some breach of a standard of conduct or a moral culpability, it stresses a guilty offense and not just a practical shortcoming. A person accepts guilt, decides that they are guilty. It is another self attack encounter through one’s own self criticism or judgment.

Perhaps these descriptions can help one recognize the practice of self attack or beating oneself up. It is possible to start catching yourself in these dynamics by being aware of your thoughts and feelings and then changing your mind and reframing the spin you tell yourself. As William James said, “If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”

© Ozimkiewicz

Hold Your Horses

“Will is to grace as the horse is to rider.”  ─ Saint Augustine 

The horse throughout the ages has had many meanings. One significant and important association with a horse is that it can be a symbol of riding one’s instincts. A divining power can be offering up guidance and/or a warning to its rider. There are many fairy tales, fables and legends that tell about the horse’s uncanny ability to be of help through intuitive understanding; even the horse-shoe brings luck. It is this unconscious instinctual horse power that is the invisible vehicle that is ridden, followed, and heard. Sometimes a person might put their ear to the ground of their being to listen to this horse sense as they become their own horse whisperer. This kind of listening might require slowing down like an old horse.

 

Wait a Minute

 

Some people use horse sense which is like having the use of common sense but it is not always enough. The inner ear, the intuitive ear has horse symbols within it. An interesting horse like clue to the use of the inner ear is that part of its makeup includes the small bones; the hammer, anvil, and stirrup that work together for your benefit. According to The Continuum Encyclopedia of Symbols spiritual hearing is considered to be an older ability than spiritual seeing.

 

A way to hear and listen is to decelerate and reduce the hurrying, take a break, relax, breathe, and be still. Then notice and pay attention to that quiet voice that might speak to you almost like a whisper. Listen and be aware of what is heard. Clients will often wonder and ask how they will know when to start, when to make a change, when to wait or when to go. Robert Browning said, “Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!”  This can be like a horse of another color. Your personal will power can be harnessed with a willingness to follow your heart’s desire by holding onto the reins of your heart as you click into action and decide to move forward on your own path.

 

 … While you tighten the girths on the horse of your heart.
There is something between you that both understand
As it thrills an old message from bit-bar to hand.
As he changes his feet in that plunge of desire
To the thud of his hoofs all your courage takes fire.

…What joy to find freedom a while from your yoke!
What bliss to be launched with the luck of the start
On the old one, the proved one, the horse of your heart!

                Excerpts from The Horse of Your Heart ─ William Henry Ogilvie

 

 “The wagon rests in winter, the sleigh in summer, the horse never.”  ―Yiddish Proverb

 

 

The Cloud on the Ground

“The fog is like a cage without a key.”   ─ Daniel J. Boorstin

Fog

Fog is defined as a thick cloud of tiny water droplets suspended in the atmosphere at or near the earth’s surface that obscures or restricts visibility. Fog as a metaphorical comparison is a cloudiness that obscures and confuses a situation or someone’s thought processes by bewildering or puzzling a person so that their perceptions are vague.

Sometimes a client will say that they have a sullen type of mood and I will ask them about what their experience of this internal condition is like. A few have described their experience as if they are living in a fog, a brain fog that has slowly crept upon them. Others have implied that their fog is like a veil of grayness unlike smog which is a tan smoke like color. For some it denotes a brooding dimness like living in a cloudy netherworld. It is a place removed and below the light of a bright and clear consciousness. The fog obscures direction and movement. The passage out is blocked. Thick fog at ground level feels like living inside a drab damp cloud. This dreary emotional gray will cause the person to have misty or moist eyes as the cloudy feeling is expressed and even a tear might form.

The following poem by Carl Sandburg expresses through a cat metaphor poetically described the experience of being in a fog.

Fog

The fog comes

on little cat feet.

It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.

A psychological interpretation might suggest that the cat is an invisible instinct that can stealthily slink and sneak up to a person thus making its presence known. Both the fog and cat are independent and there are no rules to its silent and quiet movements. Both can hover and look over various situations and yet they can move on quickly and disappear. As the fog comes and goes it reminds us that a foggy brain is in a hazy state of confusion. This affect seems like it will last forever as the person lives in a state of perpetual uncertainty. It will in the end be a temporary situation and not a permanent condition. This experience of being in a fog is also an act of trust that things will burn off, clear up, and the light of consciousness will return.

“Most consequential choices involve shades of gray, and some fog is often useful in getting things done.” ─ Black Elk