Dear Dream Tending Community,
Oh yes. Holiday times bring celebration, love for those we are close to, and a remembrance of what is meaningful. These occasions are also times for remembering our ancestors and elders. And then, there is something more . . . much more. Often, lurking below the surface, sometimes not too distant at all, exist what in psychology we name the “complexes.” In addition to the all-too-familiar “family complex”—the dysfunctional dynamics that are part of almost all family experiences—there live the others. Each complex comes with its own energetic swirl. Like the persons you would least want to see during these times, they arrive. They sweep in, fast and furious. There is the “over-consumption” complex, the “addictive-sugar” complex, and, of course, the “alcohol-drug” complex. Yep, during and after the festivities, these dear familiars of our psycho/physical life linger. You can give them names like “indulgence,” “sweet tooth,” and “binge.”
Then there is dear “FOMO,” the fear of missing out, who arrives paradoxically and cruelly in the time of plenty. A most unwelcome guest who makes an appearance all too often. Well, no worries, the time of thanksgiving is over. It is time to remember the heartfelt jewels and the golden treasures that also offered their presence. But wait . . . the holy days are arriving. Here we go again, the same merry-go-round, the same visitors, the same disturbance. Or is there another possibility?
I suggest to you another approach, another kind of hosting of these un-welcomed guests. Imagine each of these familiars, these complexes, as Soul Companions. Do some holiday planning. Remember that you have known these difficult/distressing figures for a very long time. Now, give these “energetic swirls” a body and a face. Draw or sketch the figures. Recognize them as existing outside of yourself. Next, take the time to know them more objectively. Make a list of their ways of behaving. Notice their strategies and tactics of “takeover.” How do they storm center stage? How does the mood or anxiety they create take possession of your body and mind? Take five days before the next holiday gathering and bring your attention to the guest list. Then, put your holiday hangover to good use. Next time around, make a conscious decision to invite one of these troublesome persons of the soul to your event. Let them know that you know who they are and how they behave. Most importantly, set the “rules of engagement.” Become a holiday planner. Remember, this is your house. It is big enough to host all who visit.
Dream Tenders, remember, we are in this together. In community, we will support one another as we tend to our many Soul Companions. Even the most disruptive, when befriended and attended, can become the most important resource for your life’s purpose. Along with your Beloveds of Soul, they can assist on your one and precious life’s journey.
Tending Tuesdays is about supporting one another in listening to dream and imagination in a different way. Together, let’s discover what is being asked of us now. Let’s listen to the stories embedded in the living images of dream and imagination and offer back to the world their generative sparks.
Until next Tuesday . . .
In the dreamtime,
Inside The Curious Mind
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. “
– Dr. Seuss
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Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D., is the founder of Dream Tending, Pacifica Graduate Institute, and the Academy of Imaginal Arts and Sciences. He is a world-renowned professor of depth psychology, an imagination specialist, and an innovator. He has served as an organizational consultant to major companies and institutions, and as a depth psychological content advisor to Hollywood film makers. He has lectured extensively in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. He is affiliated with the Earth Charter International project through the United Nations, where he has spoken. Professor Aizenstat is the Chancellor Emeritus and Founding President of Pacifica Graduate Institute. He has collaborated with many notable masters in the field including Joseph Campbell, James Hillman, Marion Woodman, and Robert Johnson.