We’re all in process

I came across this passage in my reading today, and noted how much it resonated.

It’s Carl Jung himself, (though I modified the pronouns):

“It is often tragic to see how blatantly a human bungles their own life and the lives of others yet remains totally incapable of seeing how much the whole tragedy originates in themselves, and how they continually feed it and keep it going. Not consciously, of course – for consciously they are engaged in bewailing and cursing a faithless world that recedes further and further into the distance. Rather, it is an unconscious factor which spins the illusions that veil their world. And what is being spun is a cocoon, which in the end will completely envelop them.”

Almost ten years ago, I wrote:

1. Most of what goes wrong in your life is going to be your own fault. Don’t beat yourself up about it. You do the best you can with what you have at the time.
2. It’s like your life is a video game – it’s only after you clear a level that you realize there was a shortcut there the whole damn time. Don’t fret. Just remember it next time.
3. From time to time something really awful will happen that won’t be your fault, but through the intricate absurdity of the universe, know that this will be the thing for which you blame yourself. Try not to.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m any Carl Jung, but I think the commonality of the expression makes me really settle into his theory of archetypes and collective consciousness. I arrived at those same conclusions after making such a horrid mess of my life there are no words for it. In the aftermath of the disaster that was me, I had this profound epiphany while sitting outside drinking my coffee one morning. I took a sip, and a voice inside my head, mine, but different, stronger, wiser, said, “If you made this mess, which you did, that means you can fix it.” Somehow my higher cognitive processes got the upper hand on my subconscious shadow impulses and sent a message through. I imagine a great struggle happened to do so, with ships and cannons firing, while one brave neuron and synapse broke through the barrier, crossed the moat, and lobbed the bottle with the message into my conscious mind, over the castle wall. (The battle continued on for a few more years with great intensity, and every now and again, I still hear the occasional burst of gun powder, but most days, I think everyone gave up and went home.)

The greatest work we will ever do in life is with our own shadow. Those impulses we project onto others, and the faults we see in their decisions, beliefs, and actions are our greatest teachers. The messes we make, chaos we spin, and arguments we pick can point the way to our own awakening. And if your life feels messy right now, it’s all good. We do the best we can with what we have and know at the time. We’re mysteries to ourselves. Jung also said that our shadow can’t be truly anticipated, only met, in the world, through our action and continuous commitment to understanding ourselves, each other, and our existence.

Which means we’re all in process, and that really takes the edge off.

Citation: Carl Gustav Jung, The Portable Jung (New York: Penguin Books, 1986), 147.

Junie B. Jensen – In Memory

Junie, I don’t know what this planet is because it can be awful. Being born and growing old and hurting along the way is stupid. There must be a better way to exist and I know that is where you’ve gone. I’m upset you must go without me because I know that scares you. I know you feel better when we are together. I do too.

Junie B. Jensen

July 21, 2007 (Gotcha day 3/4 years old)- June 29, 2017

AKA: My littlest. Bo-bittlest. The littlest, bo-bittlest of the bo-bittlest clan. Mick’s Widdle Waddle. Bug. Buggest. Beagle butt

I got you almost 10 years ago from people who couldn’t see past your anxiety to understand your value. But I did. I saw the soul in your eyes. I knew you belonged with me. You ran out of their house and saw me and peed on their porch mat. I laughed and you jumped into my arms. You never looked back. I took you home and woke up the next day to find you’d destroyed every pair of shoes in my closet and a couch cushion.

It’s no surprise that as I mellowed these past five or six years so did you. Before that we both left a trail of destruction in our wake. We taught each other commitment, patience, and unconditional acceptance. Together we learned to be still. To be. We made our way through the darkness together and then we rested and just enjoyed each other’s company.

How I enjoyed it! When you were younger we’d walk for hours and I’d laugh at your insolent refusal to be decent on a leash. You hated being constrained, stuck, or held back. (We are twin souls.) I laughed chasing you when you’d talk me into taking off your leash. You always had to test the limits. You were just so naughty and defiant. You knew what you wanted to do and didn’t care what I thought you should do. (Again, we are soulmates.)

You accepted every dog you met. You never resented all the dogs in and out of our house. You welcomed them, excited, and then taught them all how to Dog.

A wise woman told me earlier this week you were holding emotional space for me. You felt like you could move on now – I’m okay. You’re not going to be part of my next chapter here. You’ve got some other work to do somewhere else.

Your little body struggled so much these past few years. Finally, the pain was too much and at 14 years old, you told me today it was time for your story here to end. What a story it was!

I still remember the day I came home from work to find you sitting in the middle of the kitchen counter. You’d pulled the kitchen chair to the counter and climbed up. You opened every door in the kitchen. Had you not still been up there I might have thought a poltergeist had visited. You scattered plastic containers. Cereal boxes and spices lay on the ground. You looked so perplexed sitting there. I was so angry but then I saw the look in your eyes. Your anxiety was so uncontrollable you couldn’t understand what you’d done. I realized you were not so different from me and I picked you up and held you on my lap. You shook and whimpered. I cried too. We were both so self-destructive. Somehow, our own way, we managed to pull it together.

You were all DOG. I remember the time I tried to stop you from eating that gecko you caught and swallowed alive when I tried to take it from your mouth. Then you climbed on my lap with your sad, Bette Davis eyes as it wiggled in your tummy. I told you I wouldn’t feel sorry for you but you still insisted on stretching out across my lap, on your back, and I rubbed your tummy for you.

Thank you for all the mice, snakes, birds, and geckos you brought me as gifts. I love you too, even though you were not a vegan.

I’m sorry for the times I yelled at you for eating my books. I’d let you eat all my books if I you didn’t need to go now. It’s so silly the things we get worked up about. Anger is so silly.

Junie, I don’t know what this planet is because it can be awful. Being born and growing old and hurting along the way is stupid. There must be a better way to exist and I know that is where you’ve gone. I’m upset you must go without me because I know that scares you. I know you feel better when we are together. I do too.

I guess it’s time for us let go of our separation anxiety and surrender to this transition. I’ll always carry you in my heart. I know I’ll be in yours.

I will miss sharing my watermelon with you. Your snores. Your beagle bay – which shakes the windows and rattles the pictures. I will miss the tiny cries you offer when you see me after you’ve not seen me in a while. I’ll miss my driving co-pilot, best friend, and teacher.

I will miss your beautiful presence. Your energy filled up my life for 10 years and I am so lucky I got you.

Today you were in so much pain. You knew what was happening in the end and you peacefully settled. You kissed me and then rest your head in my hand. Then, just as we thought you were going, you lunged to me and kissed me and I felt your last breath on my face. Everyone gasped because they knew what you’d done. You told me it was okay, thanked me, and made sure the very last thing you did while you could was love me. It was like you said, “Oh, wait… not yet! Hold on! One more time…” Your heart wouldn’t stop beating until I whispered it was okay to let go.

I’m sure you’ve already found Scully & Penelope. Keep them safe until we are all together again. Play. Run. Kiss. Snuggle.

Until I’m ready to join you, Junie B. Jensen, I will never go a day without thinking of you.


Your Human

“And she’ll tease you, she’ll unease you

All the better just to please you

She’s precocious, and she knows just

What it takes to make a pro blush

She got Greta Garbo’s standoff sighs, she’s got Bette Davis eyes” ~ Bette Davis Eyes