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Be silly: Feel free to write something that seems silly or weird. Sometimes, the seemingly strange can actually be your passionate path. One of my loves is racing my bike uphill! I once landed a paid gig writing about the benefits of riding a bike uphill.

So be silly or strange, you never know where the money will flow! Be yourself: Only think of yourself during this exercise. Answering these questions is all about what makes YOU tick. Be real: Feel free to look outside past careers and write stuff from sports, hobbies, pastimes, or musings. Your passion may be what you play, rather than what you work. This is not an easy task. I find answering some of these questions really tough, but very worthwhile. What gives you the greatest sense of excitement, makes you feel alive, and motivates you? Why a scary question? Knowing what causes you grief can sometimes help you find the opposite, what you love.

On the other hand, listing what you dislike can highlight growth opportunities. In my case, I have a fear of public speaking. To face my fear I joined Toastmasters and have grown immensely as a result. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Take the words you wrote down from Ponder Your Passion , and build your own picture. Find a stack of new and old newspapers and magazines. Tear into those periodicals with your dreams in mind.

2. Ponder Your Passion: A Worksheet

Cut out all magazine pictures, stories, or even advertisements you find appealing or interesting. Be sure to respond to the images spontaneously and without too much thought or judgment. The idea is to create possible scenarios and build a visual guide with a clear picture of your passion. Glue all cutouts into a scrapbook. The resulting collage is an illustration of the life you are trying to create. When building a visual guide you are actually imaging the future. Visualizing your dreams can save a lot of time and grief by giving yourself the time to visualize dreams and passions before attempting them in the real world.

After visualizing and creating a guide, you may start to feel an impulse to go from dreaming about the possibilities to planning a course of action. Be willing to start over. If you feel unsettled with the words written in your Passion Worksheet or unimpressed with the images in your Visual Guide , feel free to start over.

Go back to Take a Hike and start fresh. Experiment, dream, and build. Everyday is a new beginning. You are the author. You are the star of this book tour. Put your worksheets and visual guide together in a scrapbook. The purpose behind this book is to build a personal portfolio of you. To be successful in finding a new career or landing the perfect job you need information about yourself. You will need this book over the next few days as we continue to build on your career calling.

Your kindness covers hosting fees, new articles, and videos. My content covers debt, saving, investing, financial planning, and behavioral economics. Thank you. Become a Patron! I know. Call me Joe: I know exactly what you mean. Introspection is the golden word. Wish I had used it in the post. I spent thousands of bucks on the wrong degree and many years on the wrong path. I was miserable. On the epigenetic landscape, we could imagine this as the ball needing to go back up the mountain to be able to take a different turning.

Psychologically, this is similar to the idea of "regression in service of the ego". If we imagine another scenario where the ball actually goes over a mountain and into another valley, this would be where we psychologically go through a transition which is not one of the inevitable ones. And of course, this would be much harder than moving over to another valley when the landscape is flat.

In light of all this, I am proposing that our phases of life could broadly be compared to the different possible structures or states of a self-organizing system. We could say that each phase of life represents a phase space in which certain developmental processes form powerful attractor states. This is related to Jung's idea of complex formation, or how certain archetypal energies come to the fore in different phases of life.

Major life transitions lead us to bifurcation points on the landscape. This might be like the valley becoming shallower and shallower until you reach a point where a change is possible, or where a change of some sort really cannot be avoided. When that happens, there is bound to be instability, represented by the flattening of the valley. In addition to basic developmental phases we go through physically, psychological needs that are not met when they emerge create a tension in us that may need to be resolved at a later stage in life.

From Jung's standpoint, these deep archetypal forces work unconsciously on us, in the sense that they are parts of ourselves which have not been able to develop or become part of our conscious personalities. Even if we do not suffer from developmental deprivations, as we move through life, there are different archetypal energies that are constellated and demand recognition in consciousness.

This naturally creates periods of instability, but these are a necessary part of a larger process that is constantly evolving and existing in intimate relationship with the environment, both physically and emotionally. If we do not view these chaotic periods in our lives as something bad that needs to be fixed, then these stages can be lived through as necessary parts of our journey though life.

This is similar to Jung's concept of "staying with" the experience of the opposites, rather than trying to eradicate the symptom or suffering.

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As we explore the meaning of the chaos, the "transcendent function" may indeed emerge in a new attitude to our situation. The tendencies of the conscious and the unconscious are the two factors that together make up the transcendent function. It is called "transcendent" because it makes the transition from one attitude to another organically possible, without loss of the unconscious.

Here Jung is obviously describing a dynamic, emergent process between consciousness and the unconscious, leading to a new self-organization, or attitude of mind. Although he was not using the terms "chaos" and "self-organization", Jung was speaking of much the same thing when he described the emotional and psychological process of individuation. As we know, Jung compared individuation to an alchemical process-an allegory for the transference relationship and the communication between the conscious and unconscious psyche.

The fact that alchemy was Jung's preferred metaphor for psychological transformation shows us the importance he placed on the dynamical processes of relationship. Because alchemy dealt with the transformation of metals, there is an implied continuum to dynamic processes in the inorganic world. The suitably trained analyst mediates the transcendent function for the patient, i. In this function of the analyst lies one of the many important meanings of the transference. The understanding of the transference is to be sought not in its historical antecedents but in its purpose.

Jung strongly advocated active imagination to open up the unconscious, making the emotional state of the patient the basis or starting point for the procedure. In the intensity of the emotional disturbance itself lies the value, the energy which he should have at his disposal in order to remedy the state of reduced adaptation. Italics in original Ibid. Jung wrote that active imagination could be done in a variety of ways, depending on the inclinations of the person: drawing or painting, working with clay, etc.

In my own practice, in addition to spontaneous drawing, I include the possibility of using simple percussion instruments as a form of active imagination. When an image or symbol emerges, Jung writes:. The more direct and natural the answer is, the more valuable it will be, for directness and naturalness guarantee a more or less total reaction.

Very often a total reaction does not have at its disposal those theoretical assumptions, views, and concepts which would make clear apprehension possible.


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In such cases one must be content with the wordless but suggestive feelings which appear in their stead and are more valuable than clever talk. In analysis, the confrontation between the conscious and unconscious of both analyst and analysand creates a charged emotional situation, which Jung refers to in an alchemical sense as the "heating up" of the vessel. When this "heat" reaches a critical point, the "third thing" can emerge, which may be a new attitude or a realisation of changes that have to be made. In a psychological struggle with the opposites, this is like the "Aha" moment when things somehow fall into place, and a new direction forward becomes clear.

However, the new direction forward has to be lived for it to be real. It is only when we dare to act in new ways that a change can actually be said to occur. Of course, change is also represented by the emergence of a genuinely new attitude, which also influences our decisions at critical life moments. Analysis provides a container for this process to take place, but just as in a complex system, there are so many variables that we cannot predict if and when changes will occur.

Of course, the tasks change as we move through different stages in the analytic process. Particularly important symbols may emerge in the later stages of the work, as the patient faces the act of severing the dependency relationship to the analyst. For example, one of my long-term patients "Kay" who had negotiated some major life changes during our work together was now moving toward the idea of termination. There had been severe childhood wounding, and a positive mother transference to me had facilitated the growth of her sense of self, recognizing her own needs and shedding what had formerly been huge guilt at being assertive.

However, as we discussed the idea of termination, what emerged was tremendous fear: without the analysis, would she lose all of this new-found strength? Kay had been attending analysis twice weekly for some years, and when we discussed the possibility of cutting back to once a week, this instilled panic in her. In fact, she could not distinguish emotionally between moving to once a week and actually finishing the analysis, to the point where she referred to cutting back as "finishing".

Throughout our work together, Kay had often brought drawings or paintings she had done at home or in her painting class into her analytic sessions. At this point, she painted many chaotic forms, sometimes in bright reds and black, which powerfully represented chaos and destruction.

Over about half a year, the subject of moving to once a week was discussed off and on usually at her own instigation until finally, she wanted to try it. This was only possible for her as a provisional measure. I agreed that she could return to twice weekly if she found it too difficult to bear. Finally the big day came-she was to come again only the following week. Of course, I thought of Kay when her second hour came up several days later, and wondered if there would be a panicky phone call from her, but there was no contact.

The following week, Kay appeared for her session, looking somewhat shy, but nevertheless beaming. Kay had several paintings in tow, one from her painting group the evening of the cancelled second session. The instructor had asked them to meditate and allow images to come up before starting to paint. Before showing me her painting, Kay further explained that years before coming to me for analysis, she had been on a retreat where participants had been encouraged to meditate on images having to do with the life of Jesus.

The image that emerged for her was the stone in front of Jesus' tomb. I found the relevant passage in the Bible later:. Holy Bible: Matthew 27, verses Kay said that she had worked with the image of the stone in her previous therapy, but could never get it to "shift": the feeling was of being stuck, locked in the tomb. Every once in a while, the image would return, the boulder always firmly fixed over the entrance to the tomb. But now, in her meditation in the painting class, the boulder split apart!

She then showed me the painting of this splitting boulder, and indeed, it was very powerful. In many ways, it looked like a cubist work, with shards of grey and black at various angles, forcefully emanating from a central point. But there were also rays, like lightning, which infused the scene with a golden background.

There was nothing to say-the image spoke for itself. And although I was aware that she was in a partial inflation there would be many valleys to come , this was a major movement forward out of her dependence on me. It was the conjunction of the act itself and its timing in the analytic relationship that produced the transformation, represented by the image. On the epigenetic landscape, I would compare this moment to a bifurcation point.

She was now on a new pathway, represented by the change from two to one hour of analysis per week. This had been prepared by a long process-or long trajectory on the landscape-in which she was constantly being changed by her interaction with me and all of her other interactions in the world. The analysis provided a safe space to create order, and make sense of all that she was going through. It also facilitated the growth of new possibilities and a new way of thinking about herself. From a physiological standpoint, new association networks were being created in the brain.

It is interesting that the symbol of the stone blocking the entrance to Jesus' tomb linked to a previous therapy, and could represent all that was still blocked in her psyche when she came to me. Another way of seeing it could be that it was connected to the need for a necessary regression, a return to the dependent-child state where healing of her abandonment-wound could take place. On the epigenetic landscape, we might imagine this as the ball needing to go back up the mountain to be able to take a different turning.

The image of the stone, first blocking the entrance, and then splitting apart, captures energetically the main feeling states we explored in the analysis. Those were: being stuck, as opposed to the strong energy which was released, when she dared to assert her independence and strength. Therefore, the stone-image could represent the principal poles of the trajectory of her life path, down her own symbolic epigenetic landscape.

Kay realized that the image of the boulder's splitting apart was not a once-and-for-all victory: she knew that the stone would again appear, blocking her movement in the world, but that now, she might have a little more confidence in her own ability to remove it. If we imagine a patient who enters our consulting room at a critical point in life, the first thing we can provide is a container for their feelings of chaos, which simultaneously represent the fear of the unknown and the loss of the familiar structures of the past.

As we listen to the patient's story, it is also important to remember how that story may be expressing — even in the structure of the language itself — early relational patterns and collective cultural assumptions. How someone uses language is one of the most revealing aspects of how their thinking is being controlled by what is known as "implicit memory", early models of the world patterned through experience that structure the way we relate to new experience.

The transference does not arise as an expression of instinctual drives which somehow spontaneously produce complex imagery and fantasy, which is then projected out onto real people; transference arises out of the internalization of actual people and real events in the world and gradually produces an unconscious pattern of generalized expectations about relationships. Knox , p. These ideas are corroborated by recent brain research, which verifies that memories are not stored anywhere as discrete "packets" of information, but are instead reconstructed in the present.

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However, throughout life, neuronal pathways are constantly being laid down and modified. Experiments with mammals indicate that explicit and implicit memory storage proceeds in stages. Storage of initial information short-term memory lasts minutes to hours and involves changes in the strength of existing synaptic connections.

The long-term changes those that persist for weeks and months require the activation of genes, the expression of new proteins, and the growth of new connections. The profound implication of this is that our brain's anatomy is changed as we learn and forget. Many investigators have addressed this question, among them Michael Merzenich of the University of California San Francisco. Merzenich examined the representation of the hand in the sensory area of the cerebral cortex, which until recently was considered to be stable throughout life.

In his experiment,. After several thousand disk rotations, the area in the cortex devoted to the three middle fingers was expanded at the expense of that devoted to the other fingers. Practice, therefore, can lead to changes in the cortical representation of the most active fingers. Many pianists like myself already know this from experience: what begins as the impression of many individual notes, through practice, changes into a holistic experience of the music as dynamic patterns and feeling states. Also, as one learns a musical instrument, it becomes easier to approach a new piece as a whole, rather than as single notes or in small sections.

This is because our brains are establishing sensorimotor networks that encompass the underlying patterns scales, chords, arpeggios, etc. In general, our set of neurophysiological reflexes is formed through repetition and emotional intensity, and these reflexes become 'hard-wired' in consciousness, to such an extent that they respond independently of our conscious choice. This is similar to Jung's description of how the complex works, and of course, Jung was aware that we have many complexes. The one we most consciously associate with our identity is the ego complex, but Jung's important contribution was the idea that the ego is only one of the complexes that contribute to forming our personalities as a whole.

In fact, a dynamical systems view of relationship and development might say that the flow of meaning between people is more fundamental than any individual's particular thoughts. In our analytic dialogues, we are engaged in the process of creating meaning, both in our reflective function and in our ability to truly empathize and understand the patient's situation.

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We are met with implicit memory in every construction of reality, as we listen to the tones of voice, rhythm, passive or active verbal constructions, and bodily movements that accompany our patients' stories. These patterns of expression are simultaneously affecting our own implicit memories or complexes, and an important part of our job as analysts is to be aware of what is being constellated in us.

It is both through our ability to give ourselves to the psychic structures that are coming alive in the room and our skill at being able to discern what unconscious assumptions are underlying the patient's presentation, that we realize our effectiveness as analysts. With our patients at critical life transitions, what we may first notice is an old, worn-out pattern of relating. This old pattern may emerge in the transference, in an expectation for-or repetition of-the old situation, and the old roles.

Initially, we may need to let this process happen, so that the "vessel" of analysis can heat up. However, if we provide the right catalyst in our interaction with the patient, a new form of order-or self-organization-may emerge. We, of course, are not making it happen, but instead providing the right environment for the system to organize in the direction of its own individuation. During the course of the novel, the protagonist Querry has gradually let go of his old attitude and started to immerse himself in the life of the colony. This has been facilitated through his relationship to the doctor, who accepts him as he is and allows him to make this transition in his own way.

Gradually, Querry returns to using his skills as an architect to help build a new hospital for the patients. Late in the book, he remarks to the doctor:. You said once that when one suffers, one begins to feel part of the human condition: 'I suffer, therefore I am. Of course, Querry had previously written, "I feel discomfort, therefore I am alive". Its use here seems to indicate that one must be prepared to go into the suffering and chaos of life's transitions in order to continue to be fully alive, and to come out the other side with a new attitude and perhaps even a new self-organization.

Jung constantly reminds us that individuation is a natural process in which we have the opportunity, and perhaps also the moral responsibility, to respond to on a conscious level. However, he also emphasizes the role of our unconscious, instinctual side, as in this passage from "Answer to Job":. Something empirically demonstrable comes to our aid from the depths of our unconscious nature. It is the task of the conscious mind to understand these hints.

If this does not happen, the process of individuation will nevertheless continue. The only difference is that we become its victims and are dragged along by fate towards that inescapable goal which we might have reached walking upright, if only we had taken the trouble and been patient enough to understand in time the meaning of the numina that cross our path. What does Jung mean when he says that even if we are not open, "the process of individuation will nevertheless continue"?

I understand this as indicating that when we resist authentic psychological change which should reflect our biological development and knowledge of our eventual death , psychic changes will happen anyway, yet perhaps in an unconscious or destructive way, not in consciousness or in creative expression. Analysis provides a dynamic, relational vehicle for change, for going through the suffering of transitional periods in life, and for recognizing that we need not be slaves to the collective or the "old order" within ourselves. The good news from science is that real change is possible, through the incredible plasticity of our brains, which have evolved over millennia and continue to evolve in the course of our lives, in dynamic relationship with others in our particular environment.

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Our intentional actions continually flow into the world, changing the world and the relations of our bodies to it. This dynamic system is the self in each of us. Freeman , p. The challenge of critical life transitions is essentially one of enlarging the self, if we take the self to be an emergent product of development, not an a priori structure.

As our "intentional actions continually flow into the world", we are not only becoming all we can be, but building the world through our uniquely human consciousness. Jacobi, J. New York: Bollingen Foundation, Inc. Holy Bible King James Version. New York: Thomas Nelson Publishers. Kandel, E. Archetype, Attachment, Analysis. Hove and New York: Brunner-Routledge.

Prigogine, I. Order Out of Chaos. Man's Dialogue with Nature. New York: Bantam Books. Saunders, P. III F. Stein, eds. Saunders and Kubal Journal of Analytical Psychology , 46,2, Signs of Life. How Complexity Pervades Biology. New York: Basic Books. Waddington, C. Organisers and Genes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. See, for example, Hall, James. This is also the title of a famous book: Prigogine, I. It is interesting that Jung used the expression "canalization of libido" to characterize the process of energic transformation or conversion in his Symbols of Transformation CW5: para.

For more information and case examples, see Skar, P. Note 3 appearing after this quotation in the text: [Cf. From the perspective of attachment theory, new working models were being formed in her brain. See Schacter, D. Introduction Just how relevant is current scientific research to our work with patients in psychoanalysis, and how do our analytical models of mind hold up in light of recent research on the brain?

A Burnt-out Case It was somewhat synchronistic that while thinking about emergent patterns at critical life transitions, I happened to pick up a novel by Graham Greene called A Burnt-out Case. Chaos and Order Most people hearing the words "chaos" and "order" would tend to think of them as opposites. The Epigenetic Landscape To illustrate these concepts further, I would like to bring in an image from biology which might help us to see the parallels between our psychological journey through life and what we know about physical self-organizing systems.

The Epigenetic Landscape The complex system of interactions underlying the epigenetic landscape from Waddington, C. How did Jung define the transcendent function? How did Jung conceive the analytic relationship as facilitating this transformation? Clinical Example Analysis provides a container for this process to take place, but just as in a complex system, there are so many variables that we cannot predict if and when changes will occur.

Implicit Memory If we imagine a patient who enters our consulting room at a critical point in life, the first thing we can provide is a container for their feelings of chaos, which simultaneously represent the fear of the unknown and the loss of the familiar structures of the past. As neuroscientist Walter Freeman writes: each of us is a source of meaning, a wellspring for the flow of fresh constructions within our brains and bodies.

London: Phoenix. Greene, G. A Burnt-out Case. London: Vintage. Jung, C. Knox, J. Journal of Analytical Psychology , 46, 4,