Sunday, May 22, 2011

Got to Build My Life on a Strong Foundation


http://jung.sneznik.cz/bollingen.htm
Gazing at my back yard in Santa Monica, CA, my thoughts wandered to another non-professional builder who worked in his backyard.  Carl Jung would repair to his stone tower on the shores of Lake Zurich at his home in Bollingen, Switzerland.  There he would paint mystical images, speculate on ancient rituals, and write books.  Although Jung was a man of great intellect, who along with his former mentor Freud, towers over 20th Century psychology,  he is reported to have inscribed each stone in his tower with signs and symbols that reflected his theories on universal archetypes, the collective unconscious, animus/ anima, and many others.  Not only inscribing the stones, he also had a major hand in the physical building of the massive castle.  Begun in 1922 upon the death of his mother and regularly added to until the death of his wife in 1955, he believed that a physical activity released the unconscious and yielded great insights (for more on Jung's tower). Jung conducted a lifelong exploration of the world’s mystical traditions and their applications in the modern world.  His work has had major impact on psychology, the men's movement, and what has been called the New Age.  He was a brilliant intellect who bridged Eastern and Western thought. Reconstructing my backyard got me thinking about Jung building his tower and my dedicated to a conscious reconstructing of my life.

My journey of individuation from my former career and lifestyle has taken many unexpected twists and turns.   I carried a lifelong dream of moving to my tropical island idyll,  fortuitously I met and fell in love with a Jamaican woman and it felt ordained.  We proceeded to make plans to move to Jamaica, Hawaii, or?  She seemed to fit right into my house filled with tropical, rattan furniture and all manner of artifacts from between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.  Unfortunately, that big dream was dropped onto a relationship that had a weak foundation and after much sturm und drung it crashed.  At that very time, I had discovered extreme wood rot in my back yard deck and decided it needed replacing. 

The romance ended and I began to demolish the deck, board by board.  After a long marinating period, I decided what to do for replacement.  I then bought the materials and another long delay ensued.  Finally over a year after the first rotten board was pulled (and the relationship ended), I went to work in the yard and began to install the stones.  Without thinking of Jung, I was also working in stone.   Laying down the flagstone of my region (just as Jung used granite quarried in the Alps), it became a practice of meditation, expression, and manifestation.  I was building a new yard/ patio AND building a new life.  Finding freedom in my backyard, finding power in moving the stones, and finding the Creative in my daily practice.  Reinventing myself was no longer an abstraction but a real thing.  Observable, tactile, and original, I was now living a new life both inner and outer. 

Jung inscribing mystical symbols
The project illustrates Self Determination Theory which postulates that autonomy (doing it myself with advice but no orders) and competence (doing something of tangible worth) are cornerstones of happiness.   I am not a professional, in fact this is the first time I have done such work.  But  as I lay each stone, as I face a dilemma and solve it, and as I gaze upon my work, I feel satisfied.   I know my new life is manifesting.  Building a strong container (be it friends, community, career, love) takes careful attention and patience but first you to clean the hard drive, debug, and then install the new programs (mix metaphors).   The three little pigs were right all along, you’ve got to build your life on a strong foundation.  And I can walk on mine.

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