Archive: January, 2013

Love’s Story

A poem by the famous Persian poet Rumi from the 14th century, entitled Lovers, describes love: "Everywhere the murmur of departure; the stars, like candles thrust at us from behind blue veils, and as if to make the invisible plain, a wondrous people have come forth".

Love is basic. A need? An instinct? A life force? A form of spirit? Yes, love fits all of these definitions, and more. Our lives envelop us in the series of images about love that we carry individually and collectively. These images appear in art, literature, videos, movies, dreams, tales, myths and stories. And, in relation to love they reflect the myriad of pathways for integrating the unconscious love feelings with our conscious life.

Love constellates positive, negative and challenging elements to the personality. Love opens us to the truths about the human condition, particularly the pain and confusion that can erupt in relationships. The intensity of love and its travails experienced personally are similar to the archetypal motifs and mythic patterns that we encounter along the path of self-discovery.

Recognizing the mythic dimensions at the basis of our personal experiences unites us in the universal nature of what it is to be human. Love leads us down the alleyways we might otherwise avoid. It takes us into ourselves. It shakes our foundations. It is rude, shocking and enlightening. Love rocks our world and sets us on the path of the unexpected.

We all can recall the tales of childhood where the princess and prince united a then lived happily ever after. But we often forget that these stories from all over the world require many tasks by both the heroine and hero. Each on their own develops strength and ability. They are tested and have to do what seems like the impossible. Only after they have left home and found who they are through the trials experienced alone they then unite or re-unite with each other.

You may wonder how this applies to you and our modern times. However, these tales and stories contain universal motifs held in our psyches. They depict the age-old patterns that we all go through in one way or another to discover who we are and how to intimately unite with an other. These are not childhood stories but life stories. They portray the unfolding of life with its bumps and problems, stressors and difficulties. They show us how to get through and they demonstrate development of personality through various sorts of adversity.

As an example, Eros, the god of union, pierces the heart with an arrow, making an opening for love to pour through. This opening alternately also leaves room for a broken heart as through it we explore the meaning and the healing of our heart’s wounds. Especially when the opening is painful, we wish it did not have to happen this way. But, it is through this portal that consciousness pushes and shows the way of our development. Along the path, we realize we have no choice but to tackle the seemingly impossible within ourselves and with our partner to attain the fullness of life that we desire.

The psychological depths require personal work and individual timing. This is the place where we gain consciousness of the energies that hound us. Becoming conscious of these energies and using them in helpful ways prevents them from destroying us. Rather they assist in our growth, as they are emissaries of the transformative nature of love.

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After The Holidays and Into the New Year

By now most of us are back to our work schedules, our daily responsibilities and chores and the routines of everyday life.

Even though it has been only a week from New Year, the holidays already seem far away. On the one hand we are glad to be back to our normal lives, to eating more responsively, to not be too busy with social events, family, etc. On the other hand, however, we miss those times of celebration and togetherness and may feel blue and lonely.

There is often a let down when we return to our daily lives from holiday times, particularly if we live far away from our loved ones and miss them. This is especially painful for the elderly, who often live alone and see their families only over the holidays. To them, this is a time of separation and loneliness and of little to look forward to.

The following is a positive way of examining our lives and reflect on creating healthy plans. Let’s start with reminding ourselves that we all have three main needs. These are:

The need to have someone or something to love;
The need to feel we make a contribution with our lives, and
The need to have something to look forward to.

The first need has to do with the value and relevance of emotional connections. These are some of the most important elements in healthy and balanced lives, as being disconnected is not healthy for most of us. So, if you have a relative who lives alone, a neighbor, or a friend, remember how important it is to be present in their lives, as this can make a huge difference in their lives. If you have children, take them to visit grandma, or an old aunt or uncle, or an elderly friend. Both will be enriched by this experience. Children learn a lot by being exposed to different generations, and the elderly are re-vitalized by young children who represent what’s new and vital and full of life.

The second need refers to the importance of creating meaning in our lives. We all want or feel that we have made and are still making valuable contributions by being alive, productive, involved and active. So, search for a meaning in your life if you don’t have one, and make room for those activities that support, encourage and reinforce it.

While the first two needs have to do with the past and the present, the third need has to do with the future. We all want to wake up in the morning and feel energized by the new day, the new challenges and the activities that we plan to engage in. Having something to look forward to gives us excitement, liveliness, hope and optimism. So, do you have something good to look forward to? If not, set it right now and begin to work toward achieving it.
We all want to wake up in the morning and feel energized by the new day

Focusing on our three basic needs helps us transition from the holidays to new goals and directions for ourselves, in this way reducing the feelings of sadness and emptiness we may feel, and replacing them with new energy and a strong, positive outlook.

Daniela Roher, PhD

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