Posts tagged ‘Psyche’

Always Hungry ll By Erin Amundson

Always Hungry
Erin Amundson, MA, LPC

As we approach the end of year and once again settle into the darkness of night, I’m encouraged to share a poem I wrote several years back.  The essence of the poem rings true for me again today, in the way that cyclical aspects of our core growth journey always do.  I’ll let you take in the poetry first, and then invite you in for more to consider.  Enjoy.  The poem is called Always Hungry

Dark stillness calls; For you I lose sleep

At the worry and the wonder

Of where I might find you next.

We had such a promising love affair once

My cold and starved curiosity

Exploring the depths you hid from me

Child-like, the two of us.  Child-like and afraid.

Then the world pounced, rushed me from behind,

and flung me, face-first, into the sunlight on the concrete.

Yes, the world took a cheap shot; And I quickly forgot you

To save the pain of remembering; All the others.

Yes I forgot, I forgot 

But still you didn’t leave me

You’ve held me all these years

You’ve held me so long I no longer know

How badly I want to go.

and nothing has changed, nothing has changed but me.  I’ve aged.

Aged and not grown, not moved, not known.  A life lived in circles, so perfect,

so hurtful.  Disturbing and peaceful. 

I practice Jungian Psychotherapy professionally.  I like to refer to it more often as Depth Psychotherapy, because while Jung is one of my heroes in passing, not everyone associates his name with what he actually taught.

In addition to spreading this knowledge and these practices to my clients, I have a thriving practice of my own, in my own home.  I have no memory of writing this poem, but my writing is a part of my practice.  In reviewing it, it’s clear to my ego mind that the poem was a message from my psyche (or soul, or God, or the universe) about the subtle presence of a recurring relationship pattern that’s self-destructive for me. Something I can surely interrupt in favor of what my soul truly wants to experience in this life. Powerful.  Simple. Profound.

As I reflect on the message of this poem, I recognize that I’ve had self-destructive relationships with all kinds of people and substances and behaviors throughout my life. 

I feel like I am at the beginning of the end of engaging this self-sabotage in favor a life really lived.  And as this poem from the past showed itself to me again today, I wonder how many people in the world might relate to the urge to let go of outdated self-sabotage in favor of a fresh start. 

While we are all unique in what we’re called to, it occurred to me this week that some of you out there might benefit from my sharing of this work, in the hope of inspiring you toward a practice that works for you.

I will first say that your psyche (or soul, or God) communicates with you regularly, whether you’re picking up what it’s laying down or not. 

If you start the interaction, your psyche will gladly engage you and give you your own form of soul communication. 

This communication comes in the form of intuition, dreams, interactions with others, repeating themes (numbers, pictures, words) in the world, and perhaps most importantly, creativity.

Your psyche tells you a story – often like a cliff hanger television series – one episode at a time.  If you tune in regularly, you get the larger themes and deeper meaning of the story.  However, if you’re missing several episodes, it’s easy to get lost in the mundane territory of our ego thoughts, fears and desires.  

One of the most powerful ways I have found to tune into the psyche is through a creativity practice. 

This can take so many forms – some of which include art, music, writing, cooking, or even quieting your mind and taking in the creative works of another. This time of year is perfect timing to tune in and go deeper.  Soon enough, we’ll be encouraged once again by the longer days to be out in the world.  For now, allow the natural rhythm to invite you in. 

This holiday season, I would encourage you to engage with your creative self and bring the intention of opening a dialogue with your psyche to your practice. You don’t have to try hard, in fact it’s best if you don’t try at all, but rather, simply show up to the process of creativity with an intention and an open mind.  I would bet your psyche has been waiting to spend more quality time in deep conversation with you.  And when you break through into awareness, life becomes so much more rich, colorful and meaningful.  Mmmmm.  It’s goooood stuff.


 

Erin Amundson loves helping people reconnect to their natural technology by decoding the language of dreams.  She is a healer, a depth psychologist and an entrepreneur who specializes in teaching people how to identify and remove barriers to success and make friends with their subconscious mind.  As the creator and founder of Natural Dream Technology, Erin knows that hidden beneath the surface of your conscious mind is a uniquely talented visionary, and she wants the world to benefit from your contribution. 

After several fights with her own subconscious mind (and a re-occurring nightmare about skipping classes and failing), Erin finally surrendered and followed the wisdom of her natural technology to get a second graduate degree in Counseling at Regis University.  A life-long follower of dreams, Erin now began to learn the language of the subconscious as she slept.  Just as Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs and Steven Spielberg all experienced, Erin began to recognize in her dreams that her best work is to help you reclaim your connection to your own natural technology through dreams and the subconscious.  She has been teaching, facilitating and engaging in dream work with ambitious professionals ever since. 

Erin currently practices as a depth psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado and via the internet around the world.  In addition to her dream work, Erin is a certified past life regressionist, an intuitive astrologer and a lover of travel, snowboarding, deep conversations and cooking delicious food, all of which she enjoys practicing while she sleeps.

When words fail – Monica Myers

Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” He was definitely on to something.Untitled-1

 I am not an artist myself, and for the record, I’d like to put as much categorical space between me and Picasso as possible, when it comes to artistic talent and accomplishment. To be sure, even mentioning myself and such a genius in the same sentence makes me tremble.  Enough said—this discussion is not about artistic accomplishment or success. It is not even about a product, per se. It is about the process— the process of engaging in art as therapy. And, like myself, you don’t need to know a thing about art to do it or benefit from it.

As a therapist and a person with over 40 years of life experience, I intuitively know that art therapy works. I’ve seen clients heal themselves while I was merely a witness to their creative process. I am amazed at how healing can occur naturally and spontaneously—like we are hard wired to instinctively know how to heal ourselves, but sometimes we need to get out of our own way. Art is really powerful in this respect. Art can bypass our discursive and grasping mind to get to a deeper more intuitive place. Carl Jung stated, “Often it is necessary to clarify a vague content by giving it visible form…Often the hands know how to solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.”

Although I intuitively understand that art therapy works, I still struggle to answer the question of how.  The easiest answer is perhaps that words often fail to capture our lived experience. While telling our story can be helpful, it often falls short in facilitating the processing of our feelings. Children frequently don’t have the vocabulary to express their experience and emotions. Art therapy works by giving a person a different way to express their thoughts and feelings – both through the image they create and the physical aspect of making the art.  Art can also be viewed as a “language” and its lexicon is that of the symbol.  Symbols, metaphors, dreams and wishes all have their origins in the unconscious.  Because art uses symbols, it can be an effective way to access the unconscious where a lot of our deeper truths reside.  Marion Woodman, a psychoanalyst, believed that when we attune to our psyche, images emerge that provide direction for our innate healing process. She stated:

 Since the natural gradient of the psyche is toward wholeness, the Self will attempt to push the neglected part forward for recognition.

 In this sense, art can act like a portal or a bridg, e from ordinary reality to an inward mind-body state that is deeply healing; a place where an individual has the power to envision, create, change, heal, and grow. In our imagination, we can glimpse images that heal us; it is the process of working with these images that is so powerful.

 Today, advances in neuroscience and psychobiology are helping us to clarify the benefits of creative arts therapies. While verbal and cognitive processing skills are mostly left brain activities, memory and images involve largely right brain processing. Art therapy works with images, but it is also a sensory experience as it involves a variety of tactile and kinesthetic activities. This sensory stimulation has many benefits for children and adults alike, particularly when it comes to healing trauma.

 Bessel van der Kolk’s research on the impact of trauma (2006) suggests that highly charged emotional experiences are encoded by the limbic system and right brain as sensory memories. Consequently, expression and processing of these memories on a sensory level is an important part of successful intervention. For some individuals, conveying a memory or story through one or more expressive modalities is more easily tolerated than verbalization, which can be re-traumatizing. Current thinking about trauma supports the use of more sensory-based interventions such as art therapy because they are predominately right brain driven.  Additionally, non-verbal expression through painting, play, or other imaginative activity may offer a corrective experience, in and of itself, for some people.

 MRI and PET imaging has further provided proof that art therapy has a positive effect psychologically and emotionally, precisely because it affects the wiring in the brain.  Studies have revealed that when someone imagines doing something like playing in an ocean wave or riding a bicycle, those areas of the brain involved in actually doing the activity light up.  Drawing or making an image is more powerful than simply imagining it.  It can and does make lasting changes in the brain.

 This knowledge of the brain has powerful implications for our daily lives and in terms of succeeding at reaching our individual goals. When we can imagine things, we can dream life forward. In other words, imagining something is the first step in manifesting it. If you can imagine yourself receiving that promotion, for example, actually creating a concrete image of yourself in that particular context in some form will help you to manifest the situation in real life. If you can’t see yourself doing something in your mind’s eye, you can’t make it happen. Therefore, working with imagery becomes a powerful tool for rehearsing and channeling our intentions. There’s something inherently spiritual or sacred about it…prayer, art and healing all come from the same source.

 Art therapy benefits the average person. In reality, everyone is an artist, possessing the capacity to imagine and to express imagination; and everyone has the capacity to heal him or herself through the creative process.

 

Monica Myers, MPH, MA, LPCC is a therapist who helps facilitate healing creative processes for her clients. Find out more about Monica and her practice online at the Boulder Art Therapy Collective.

Contact Monica:
monimyers69@gmail.com

People House: a Center for Personal and Spiritual Growth