Sunday, March 29, 2020

In times of uncertainty

During uncertain times – where the personal, cultural, and collective status quo is shaken – listening and attuning to the manifestations of the unconscious can be an important way to stay connected with ourselves, with the soul, and with what matters most deeply to us.

Of course, many of us will be spending a lot of time and energy taking care of ourselves and our families, ensuring the safety of those around us, staying up to date on reports from organizations and agencies we trust, and following guidelines designed to protect as many of us as possible. It is both wise and kind to engage in all of this with a sharp, creative mind and open, flexible heart.

But in those moments when we find ourselves alone, social-distancing, and unable to distract ourselves in our ordinary ways, we may find ourselves in a unique situation to listen. Finally. To slow down. And listen to what it is the soul has been whispering to us.

The soul is always reaching out to us, by way of our dreams and fantasy-images, unexpected sensations in the body, irrational moods, and unexplainable “symptoms” of all kinds.

But usually we are too busy to listen, to feel, to sense, to enter into partnership with the voices, figures, and the lifeforce that is attempting to reach us.

For therapists (and everyone), you might pay careful attention to the counter-transference in these times, what emerges in your body and within the interactional field as you listen and attune to another, as they share their fears, fantasies, dreams, and images with you. For it is often through the body that the unconscious is able to find us.

I will not paint some Pollyannaish fantasy that there is always opportunity in times of uncertainty, fear, and challenge, for I do not believe it is that simple. For many, this situation will not be experienced as opportunity, but as tragedy. These ones could of course be me. And for these ones I pray.

For others, there is a unique invitation in times of isolation, where the rug is pulled away and the distractions are no longer there. Where the voices, images, and dreams have found a way in. The soul is not in us, but we are in the soul. And it is speaking.

My new book - A Healing Space: Befriending Ourselves in Difficult Times - is now available for pre-order at Amazon and will be published by Sounds True in November. 

My monthly online community, Befriending Yourself, co-facilitated with author and spiritual teacher Jeff Foster, is currently closed to new members, but periodically opens throughout the year. To place your name on the mailing list for additional information, please visit the course page here