Upheavals Both Personal and Collective
As usual, it is hard to pass by another iguana when walking with the camera. For me it was interesting to see how this iguana found in a tree was more intent on “going to ground” even though it was warm and sunny. Usually I see these iguanas making a place for themselves as close to the sun as possible so that they could bask in the warmth of that sun. And when the heat of the sun fades, the iguana heads back into the bowels of the earth in order to find warmth, a warmth of both the earth itself as well as that warmth which has been captured from the sun, stored in the darkness beneath.
I don’t think I am much different from an iguana at this point of my life. In the daylight I seek to capture as much sunlight and warmth as possible, a warmth that is reflected in my darkening skin. At night I retreat into an underworld, the world of dreams.
Night and day, consciousness and unconsciousness, soul and spirit, body and mind. These things are at the centre of my universe for the moment. I have no interest in the outer world for the most part at this time. The world is too chaotic with too much upheaval evident in society as well as with the planet itself. Does the planet’s condition reflect itself in the psyche of the collective? Or, is it the other way around?
“Great innovations never come from above; they come invariably from below, just as trees never grow from the sky downward, but upward from the earth. The upheaval of our world and the upheaval of our consciousness are one and the same. Everything has become relative and therefore doubtful.” (Jung, The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man, Modern Man in Search of Soul, 1933)
There is little doubt in my mind that the arrival of midlife and the crises I faced in terms of identity, value, soul and relationships were upheavals that not only rocked my world but also the world of my family, my students and my community. Of course in the descent to the depths of my personal underworld I encountered all the sins visited upon me as well as those of my own commission. I needed to come face-to-face with these things that shamed me. One of the curious outcomes of this time of crisis was a flowering of sorts of my presence in the outer world of the community. I was able to contribute to two books in the field of second-language education, was elected to serve on the provincial executive for French Language Instruction as well as the Guidance and Counselling Association. I also managed to complete my Masters in Education. On the sidelines I painted, wrote poetry and owned and co-managed a Jungian On-line discussion group. Who said that crisis meant retreat? I do give credit to all of this to the opening of the gates which had been holding the unconscious contents at bay.
I didn’t become famous in any way, but I did become more present and active with the upheaval of the personal unconscious. Somehow I don’t think it always turns out well. I was lucky that I had some understanding of the human psyche at least an intellectual understanding. When the dam broke and the shit-filled contents started to swirl around, I was able to grab a few lifelines and point myself in the right direction. One of my brothers wasn’t so fortunate. When the dam broke for him, he broke.
Knowing that there is a collective psyche as well as a personal psyche, it does offer some hope that out of the current upheavals that are plaguing most of the world, something will be born, some idea, some process, some collective will. And with this innovation, we can collectively begin to heal our world and our place in it. Yet, I am wary. My brother also points to another darker end. And then I wonder if the Mayan end of times and the end of times according to Revelations drawing near?