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Archive for July, 2013

SantaCruz

“Everybody needs beauty…places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.”

John Muir

For the past year I have had the pleasure of living in Santa Cruz, California. Now all too quickly, it is time to return home to Boulder, Colorado. I came to Santa Cruz to write, teach and learn. These I have done. But so much more has transpired over this past year. I have experienced the profound beauty of the people and places of this area of California. The warmth I have experienced from the people of Santa Cruz and throughout California has been deeply moving. The friends I have made are many and each person has given me so much. It is impossible to describe how moved I am by all of their heartfelt offerings. I have enjoyed lecturing and teaching at the University of California Santa Cruz and have learned much from colleagues and the students at UCSC. Such a beautiful campus! The gifts of friendship born here will be honored for years to come.

I have also had the opportunity to explore the wondrous beauty of Northern California extending north to Point Reyes and south of Big Sur. I previously knew of the magnificence of this place, but found myself in repeated speechless awe in the midst of such varying vistas of verdant grandeur. Driving on Route 1 places one in a state of transcendental travel. Personally, I have always felt more peaceful and centered near the ocean. The grand extent of the sea and its dynamic power touch the depths of my soul. The thunderous sounds of crashing waves, the specular scintillation of sunlight from ocean surface, and smell of salt in the air combine to create a sensual experience unparalleled. Then there are the redwoods… How to describe these ancient sacred beings stretching skyward? The texture of their roughhewn surface, their gigantic girth, or the experience of standing within their encircling base moves me as I write these words. Standing within a forest of redwoods one becomes aware of why indigenous peoples through time have worshiped these entities as gods.

These are but a few of the many feelings that come to me as I reflect on this past year in California. It will be very difficult to leave this place and the people here. I am thankful for this year and vow to return often to drink from this well of soulful sustenance. Allow me to share some of California with you…

PointReyes

 Point Reyes

 Pescadero

 Along Route 1

 PointLobos0

 Point Lobos

 BigSur

 Big Sur

 

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declaration

“Life calls us forth to independence, and anyone who does not heed this call because of childish laziness or timidity is threatened with neurosis. And once this has broken out, it becomes an increasingly valid reason for running away from life…”

C.G. Jung (CW 5, par. 461)

In 1776, we as a nation decided to leave home. We realized that staying under the influence of our parent nation was not healthy. We chose independence in order to develop our own character. A natural part of life is to leave home. If we remain too long or too close to our families, then we never find our own life. We may be attracted to the seeming security that home may offer, but there will be a price to pay for remaining in the orbit of our parents. Jung notes that, “It is not possible to live too long amid infantile surroundings, or in the bosom of the family, without endangering one’s psychic health.” If a person stays stuck in the family orbit, then, “He is incapable of living his own life and finding the character that belongs to him.”

Note that this effect arises whether the parents are ‘good enough’ or just the opposite. Either way we can be bound in their orbit leading to a state where the person is “always demanding love and immediate emotional rewards, [or] is so identified with his parents through his close ties with them that he behaves like his father or his mother.” In order to avoid these states of either perpetual neediness or parental identification, we need to proclaim our independence.

In the act of declaration we open ourselves to defining our own character. We become who we are meant to be. Such transformation is never easy or perfect, but always better than the alternative of forever remaining under the influence of the paternal powers.

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