Re-Emergence (revised blog format, with new added info in Right Margin: Back to Better Endings!)

I went for a haircut a week or so ago. At first, I felt like reality had shifted; like I had stepped into a parallel reality.  No one was wearing a mask! I had walked in wearing one but realized it was okay; still I had to ask,

“Can I remove this?”

                “Yes.”

My stylist Stephanie told me later that she is scheduling people based on their vaccination status. Some days, all are in masks, but not on a day I would be there, as she knows I have been fully vaccinated for over two months already.

Carousel, Festival, Fun, Ride, Fair

Life is returning to some semblance of the world we inhabited before the Pandemic Time.  And yet, in many parts of the world and in some pockets here as well, the threat prevails.

Kids and college students and their teachers will return to their classrooms. Summer camps are reopening.  Restaurants feel safer; I am even shopping on my own again, sometimes masked but not necessarily so, with little trepidation.

Still, what was altered in the fabric of our lives while we were in quarantine? Are we the same people as before? What do we need now of each other?

Carnival, Fasnet, Swabian Alemannic

images are from pixabay.com

 I did not mind being masked.  If I am being honest I must admit I rather liked it.  As a person whose tendency especially in my younger years has been to be introspective, at times to the point of being introverted socially, I have felt some comfort in hiding my face behind a mask during these uncertain times.  I share this because I assume I am not alone in this.  Many of us have found not only a degree of safety but also of comfort in the anonymity of masks and social distancing. As well, through the technology of Zoom and other social media platforms, we have connected somewhat more closely—if not physically then emotionally and spiritually—with people we choose to be closest to. Cloistering and Clustering have intertwined, though this has also unfortunately created greater rifts between groups.

Now that we are to re-emerge; to remove our masks and step closer to one another, I wonder if it will ever feel as ‘normal’ as before.  At this stage I rather hope that masking may remain an option, protecting against flu and common colds in public spaces. 

Yet yes, I am open to gradually relax my own distancing; to re-enter into and to embrace community.  My dog Sophie is ahead of me on this; as always on our daily walks but it seems more demonstrably of late, she approaches everyone to administer love and joy, weaving me back into the fold.

Individuation: Who Are You, Now?

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As we proceed through our ordeals, there is the tendency— the capacity I should say— to ‘break apart.’ Various ‘parts of the Self’ are exposed, often unwittingly, and this is good even though it might feel awful at times. Archetypal personas which live within your psyche and are generally hidden or suppressed may rise to a challenge yet may need to be balanced by other segments of your arc of Identity in order to become better integrated within the whole of your greater Self.

Emotions such as fear, anger and frustration may be telling indicators of a dislodging of some usually buried sub- persona. But be kind to your ‘little selves”; they are valuable, dynamic facets of You. Listen to them, dialogue with them, welcome their insights and concerns. Give them love, and invite them to be a more consciously integrated facet of your Self.

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Challenges or ordeals may bring out these ‘pieces’ of our unconscious pantheon of archetypal perspectives because we grow through crises, constantly tearing apart and reconstructing the Self. So, at every Return phase of a cycle of adventure or resolution of a challenge, we can check in to ask:

“Who Am I, Now?”

Some experiences can serve to elevate our individuated consciousness of Self, while other experiences might tend to pull us downward, deeper into non-resolution or fragmentation. That is why Carl Jung and James Hillman, as archetypal psychologists, encouraged any process of active imagination and archetype dialogue that can help you to identify and ‘own’ your ‘pieces’ so you might re-integrate them into the unique, mature Self you are capable of expressing.

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These parts of Self might show up as an uncharacteristic outburst (or, inburst, unspoken or unexpressed outwardly), alerting you that you are ‘out of sorts.’ Or they might show up as dream personas or images. Recognizing and imaginatively conversing with or journaling about these upset personas’ concerns can help you to embrace your own depths of character. Only not attending to them can split them off in ways that could be harmful to your health or permanently disruptive to your social relations.

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I recall about 5 to 7 years ago while I was engaged in a process of archetypal psychotherapy myself, I had come to know a Descender archetype within myself that I refer to still as Little Linda.  I have watched her grow up through the years since I first identified her as a young child living in a deep, darkened area like a lower level recreation room in a tri-level house. She preferred to stay hidden, protected from the harsh bright realm of adult emotions, backbiting and drama.

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One Saturday while I was at a spiritual retreat just after engaging in a deep contemplation technique, I was speaking with a friend when suddenly Little Linda peeked out from her normal reclusion, and spoke:

“Hi, I’m Little Linda; I am part of the Linda you know.

I want to be part of this seminar, too!”

Fortunately, my friend immediately understood where I was coming from, or should I say, where Little Linda was coming from that day.  He welcomed her and thanked her for stepping forth. Actually that experience has helped me ever since in that my Little Linda has grown up considerably since then and she is certainly with me always now as a positive contributor to our life together.

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images are from pixabay.com

(selected for this post by Little Linda!)

So, “Who Are You, Now?”

I invite your comments stories and stories!