“Mom, I need to show you something. There’s a dead cat in a box.” (Yes, Rhonda I am writing about it)
Lilli, my 11-year old was outside, and came across a box in the middle of a sidewalk. She seemed a bit traumatized.
“Okay, Lilli I will look.” But, I wasn’t sure I wanted to see, or smell a dead cat in a box.
We took the walk, and I could see something black sticking out of a box. Was it black fluid? Was it a garbage bag? Was that even it?
We got closer. I’ll spare details.
Later, Lilli took my oldest daughter, Alyssa and their father to see. At first Alyssa didn’t want to see. She said, “I don’t want to see anything I might regret.”
When they returned, I asked how it went and what they thought. My husband said it was a dog.
How each of us responded to the dead animal in the box got me thinking- and of course composing a post in my head. How we respond to this sad and grotesque image might say how we respond to all that is sad and grotesque inside of ourselves.
My husband: just looked. It’s a dog. And that was that. It’s done (or so I assume).
Alyssa: stood further away, peered, afraid she might regret what she might see.
Lilli: traumatized and wanted everyone to see. She is the instigator and because of her age is almost intrigued by things like this.
Me: timid, but curiosity brought me closer. Gross and frightening, yes, but I wanted to know more. What is it- a dog, a crow, a cat, a human head? Who did this, and why? I was so curious, I wanted to dig deeper, open the plastic bag it was in. I wanted to know its story- now, before and after. But, it didn’t seem safe. Disease…germs…and I walked away.
There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. ~Carl Jung
Making the darkness conscious~
How do we do this when our response to darkness/pain/the scary, the grotesque, the ugly, is in our way? First, we need to know how we respond.
- Drama/victim response: Are we aware of our pain, but use it for drama? To get sympathy from others? Often to get through our dark spaces, we must completely immerse with them, but we do this to understand, and ultimately free ourselves. If we aren’t learning from our pain, and making connections, and find our self continuously seeking more pain or not moving through it, we may have an agenda for drama more than for freedom.
- Regret of what I might see: Alyssa has big eyes, and I tell her she can see whatever comes to her. But, as I have shared she is afraid in case she regrets what she might see. Why might we regret seeing something? For fear we cant’ handle it? For fear of how it might change us? For fear of it making us feel? She shared when she was little how sensitive she was…maybe we are afraid to be vulnerable again?
- Rational response: It’s a dog. I asked my husband why someone would do this- his answer: not everyone feels the same way about their pets. This is so true- such a rational response. But rational can be a safe place to stay. Rational means hey, it is what it is and that’s all that it is. But there is always more.
- Timid response: We might feel so afraid, so timid we may not even go to the darkness. We may hide for as long as we can, playing it safe, but not really living and surely not growing.
- Imagining figures of light: I don’t know exactly what Jung intended with this. I interpret it pretty much how I interpret the new age movement- it came around to remind us we are made of more than sin- that we are light, love, GOD, but then it continues to encourage us to stay in the light. In fact, one of these teachers who I just read today, said “Constantly be in a state of kindness…stay in the incredible state of love, joy, peace…come from a complete state of loving everything and everyone…” Wow. That sounds like a lot of pressure to me. Are we really ready and prepared for this constant state of joy, kindness, loving everyone and everything? I would say, we have more darkness to make conscious, unless of course we are in a constant state of grace, but I know no one like this. (But, I can go off on this tangent forever, so…..)
I’m reading a spiritual memoir. She writes: “What would happen if I opened myself….into the depths…? I wanted to climb all the way inside the questions and see what is there.”
This is curiosity- the next step. This kind of desire she writes about is what moves us deeper- to climb all the way inside and see what is there. The desire must be more than the fear. More than what we fear we might find. More than those safe places we stay in that I shared above. We must be curious enough to move beyond our typical responses to what calls us to look.
As I looked at the grotesque image in the box, my curiosity far exceeded the feelings of what this image brought up. It was only because of the obvious of germs that I did not go further.
My husband said I could have gotten a stick. Believe it or not, I almost did- and if we want to go deeper, there must be some preparedness before we do. Tools. Insights. Wisdom, all which come from going deeper.
And you? When will you begin the long journey into yourself? ~Rumi
How curious are you? Does your curiosity exceed your fear, and in what areas? Do you really want to crawl deep inside, poke around, ask questions, open your eyes and see?
How do you respond to stories you hear about the “misfortune” of others? How do you respond to opportunities in which you are unsure, that you have no context for? The answers provide clues of how ready you are and where you are on your journey.
The Soul Reporter