“We start with the fullness of maturity, who and where and what you are…”

Sunset “in your communal world now, and read from the tree’s leaves and branches and dead wood backwards to younger phases as foreshadowing, as smaller images of the larger person.” [1]

What a concept.  Looking at ourselves as being,  just being.  Not as individuals who are governed by and controlled by our past, which is what much of psychotherapy does.  Much of therapy looks at what happened to us as tragedies and things we have to “work through” to overcome.

But since this is finger touching nose of babyNational Mental Health Day, I wonder if it isn’t time to start looking at those events as Hillman says  by removing ” the burden from these early years as having been a mistake and yourself as a victim of handicaps or cruelties.” [2]

Then what are those events to be framed as? Not as “growth and development to be delivered from the root  image we propagated by our emphasis on childhood,” but as events “fundamentally uncaused, even if they are performed by actors like parents and siblings and teachers in the drama I call…life.”[3]

butterfly-bluesThis is one novel concept, but one worth discussing.

“The development of one’s essential traits depends indeed on practice and risk taking.” [3] So what does one do with all of those emotional aspects that are caused by the P.T.S.D. we all seem to carry and have.  How do they get expressed?  I have a wonderful friend who suffers from anxiety and depression so severe that he hardly “functions” in life.  How does Hillman’s theory apply to this?  Is there something that can be done to alleviate the pressure my friend feels.

boat-beachI dont have an answer for my friend in the moment. My friends know how I deal with those events that transpire that cause me to suffer that anxiety and depression.  I am not saying that I get it right every time and my depression does not exist.  I am saying that I have given up trying to look at the cause of my problems being my parent’s actions any longer. It does not matter how I got here.  It matters that I take the risks that I have avoided for the last 3 years and get out into the world and help people like my dear friends the Fanatic, Renee and Willem 3655.  We are working on a couple of things to see if we can help my friend previously mentioned transform his anxiety and depression.  Not make it go away, but make it transform.

I know that there is no easy answer to such a huge question.  But we need to start looking at the world, the micro and the macro, in a different way.  I am still convinced, at least today, that James Hillman was as close to helping change the view of psychology as anyone out there.

mumabi-harbour-before-sunrise-ajaytaoHe was looking for nothing more than helping us as people not be dominated by the illness of our culture, our world.  I wrote yesterday about the guards in a local jail.  If they can project their shadow onto those around them, what does that say about what we are doing?

We are looking at a world where fear dominates us because we believe that we are not enough and there is not enough in the world to get our needs met.  As long as we see life and it’s beginning in the thoughts of our history, we will see it that way because the point of reference will always be from a place of us being less than.

[1] James Hillman One Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World is Getting Worse.  p 67  [2]  Id. p 68.  [3] Id. p 70

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