” A man likes to believe that he is master of his soul. But as long as he is unable to control his moods and emotions, or to be conscious of the myriad secret ways in which unconscious factors insinuate themselves into his arrangements and decisions, he is certainly not his own master. These unconscious factors owe their existence to the autonomy of the archetypes.” ~Carl Jung, “Approaching the Unconscious,” Man and His Symbols, p. 83.
Moments ago I received a phone call and another e-mail from two people who told me they voted for The Soul’s Twins after my recent post, An Announcement and a Request. I did not expect that. I hadn’t planned to ask, but my agent urged me: “People like to help.” I guess I couldn’t believe you would want to go to all that trouble.
I don’t know if I can find the words to explain how deeply touched I am. But I want to try. I owe it to you.
After writing the above I needed a tissue. To wipe my eyes. Because I couldn’t see through my tears. I see I have touched a deep and painfully sensitive issue with this decision to explain my feelings. I felt them earlier today when I was working on my latest dream. It revealed an unconscious archetypal factor that wants to become conscious. I think I know what it is. But first, the dream.
Sonam is here. I’m thrilled to see her. A woman named Nour`e, something like that, has volunteered to sponsor her here in America. I feel guilty that I didn’t make that offer, but am grateful that she did. I can’t support Sonam the way she deserves. She needs someone with more time and energy.
I look into the next room through an entry in the wall. They’re talking together on a couch. They seem close, friendly, affectionate. I’m thrilled that they get along well.
I find the woman alone. She’s attractive and sophisticated, small and slender with dark hair. She doesn’t like or trust me. I don’t know why, but accept her feelings, as if there’s something wrong with me that I don’t blame her for disliking. I feel guilty and anxious, but approach her anyway and thank her sincerely for sponsoring Sonam. She’s cool and distant and I’m bewildered and hurt. But I needed to tell her.
Sonam is a beautiful young woman who lives in Kathmandu, Nepal. When she was about nine years old, my husband and I sponsored her move from an impoverished, remote village in the Himalayas to a new home provided by the Himalayan Youth Foundation. With our continued support she received education, assistance and general care. The mission of HYI is to help the underprivileged and/or orphaned children of the Himalayas, ultimately helping the region and the world become as stable and prosperous as possible.
Sonam was not technically an orphan, but something in me tended to think of her as one. After all, she was completely vulnerable, far from home among strangers in an unfamiliar setting. And she would live there until she graduated from high school with rare visits to her home, a three-day walk away from the nearest drivable road. The part of me that resonated with how she must have felt was my inner Orphan, an influential factor in my psyche for as long as I can remember.
My first conscious awareness of how she felt…sad, alone, vulnerable, unworthy, possibly unloveable…came at the age of three when I was lost and alone on the shore of Lake Michigan, having been forgotten by my parents who had returned to the cottage on the cliff where we were vacationing. My second awareness came when I was around ten. Then a few times in high school, and off and on after that. But I ignored her because I was determined to be a strong, tough, and independent Warrior. The last thing I wanted was to be a whiner or self-pitying victim.
Through the years, my Jungian work helped me see and understand her to the point I thought she might be healed. I haven’t had an Orphan dream in years. But there she was again two nights ago. This time, she was a lovely young adult whose dream of coming to America had finally come true. Someone was there to support her, but it wasn’t me. It was a woman I didn’t know who didn’t like me for reasons I didn’t understand. An aspect of my shadow.
Why doesn’t she like me? Because I’ve neglected her. I think she’s my grown-up Orphan who still hasn’t received the attention she needs from me. Why haven’t I given her enough attention? Because at an unconscious level I still think she doesn’t deserve it. I don’t like her/my feelings of unworthiness and unlovability. I still tell myself to get tough and over them.
Why was I so emotional when I decided to write a post about why your support touches me so deeply? I think it was my decision to honor my adult Shadow Orphan by accepting and exposing her/my deep sense of unworthiness. She knows how vulnerable that makes me feel. She knows I don’t like that feeling. She knows how hard it is for me to remove my Warrior persona. And she’s beyond happy to be acknowledged at last. I think those tears of gratitude were hers.
It’s no wonder she and Sonam got along so well. They symbolize two different aspects of my Orphan. Sonam is small and slender with dark hair. So is Nour`e, who’s simply an older version.
I puzzled over her name: Nour`e? Why did that feel so familiar? Then I remembered a book I read years ago about the Beloved. It was written by a priest with a similar name. I looked it up. It’s titled You Are the Beloved. The author is Henri Nouwen.
Is that Dream Mother’s message? Am I really the Beloved?
Oops. Here come the tears again. Thank you so very much. Your kindness means more than you’ll ever know, and I’m deeply grateful.
Sonam, if you’re reading this, I hope you know I love you.
Image credit: Cosette, illustration from ‘Les Miserables’ by Victor Hugo, 1862 by Emile Antoine Bayard © PVDE
Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at Kobo, Barnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.com. Her new book, The Soul’s Twins, is available at Schiffer, Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit and wherever books are sold. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.