Knowing the Substance of the Thing from Inside

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“Man needs difficulties, they are necessary for health.” C.G. Jung, “The Transcendent Function” ([1916]/1958), CW 8, par. 143.

This will be a short one. As you can see, I have a compromised left hand that makes it uncomfortable to type for very long.  Late last week I sprained my wrist. I was standing on a wobbly rock step on a small slope that leads up to an old garden shed, (not the one in this picture; that’s the pump house behind my study). When I tried to yank an English ivy vine out of the door hinge, the rock slipped away beneath me, and I stumbled back onto the gravel road. Instinctively I tried to protect my fall with my left hand. A visit to an urgent care clinic confirmed the fracture to my ulna.

I had no idea how difficult it is to manage my daily life with one hand. I have to use my teeth to open zip-lock baggies and my left elbow to squeeze the toothpaste tube. Forget trying to open those impossible potato chip bags. Sometimes I can open a jar lid if I squeeze the jar in the crook of my left elbow and press it to my body, but mostly not. Same with sea salt and pepper grinders. I’ve learned that blue jeans can be zipped with my right hand alone, but getting the button through the button hole is near impossible. Fixing my hair the way I like it is totally impossible. Thank goodness Fred is here to help, but he’s hopeless with hair. I can forget trying to tie my sneakers and hiking boots by myself too.

Of course, these are insignificant issues in the big scheme of things, but Jung was right. Difficulties are necessary for health, although I would never wish them on anyone. Even little ones like mine have value. The two accidents and doctor visits we’ve made in the last three weeks (Fred has four stitches in his right shin—country life can be dangerous!) have expanded not only our awareness of the blessings of good health a hundred-fold, but also our compassion and gratitude for each other. From a psycho-spiritual perspective, when good health is not appreciated, it has little value to the soul.

“In psychology one possesses nothing unless one has experienced it in reality. Hence a purely intellectual insight is not enough, because one knows only the words and not the substance of the thing from inside.” C.G. Jung Aion (1951), CW 9ii, par. 61.

Knowing the substance of the thing from inside. I like that. It’s like love isn’t it?  Imagine if that could be passed on with intellectual insights. I wonder if advances in virtual reality will ever be capable of helping people know love from the inside. Can you imagine how different the world would be?

 * * * * * * * * *

Speaking of knowing the substance of the thing from inside, that was my goal when I created The Partnership Profile, which is featured in my new book, The Soul’s Twins: Emancipate Your Feminine and Masculine Archetypes. Archetypes are powerful inner realities which, when we know them from the inside instead of just from head knowledge, can change our lives. I mention this because I have two major events coming up that will help you identify and experience nine archetypes within you. Everyone is invited, so please, share this with your friends.

The first is a Zoom presentation co-sponsored by the C.G. Jung Societies of Sarasota and Atlanta. It will take place over two evenings next week. Registrants will receive a pdf copy of The Partnership Profile, a brief self-assessment which you will be asked to fill out before the program begins. On Tuesday evening I’ll explain the theory and story behind its creation and development. Thursday will be a Q & A discussion session in which we’ll explore what your score means for you.   Register here: 

 

 

 

 

The second is a LIVE (yay!) talk and book-signing at Shakespeare & Company Booksellers, a classic, old-fashioned bookstore in Highlands, NC with roots that hearken back to the original in Paris. I hope you and your friends will attend if you live anywhere near. It will be outdoors if weather permits, and I promise you, it’s gorgeous here! Plus Highlands is a really charming little town in which to enjoy a day. Check it out on Google. I’ll tell you about The Soul’s Twins and the Partnership Profile, do a little reading, and sign your books. And there’ll be a free raffle drawing for a free copy of each of my four books. Here’s the invitation:

I hope to see you there.
Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Her Wilbur Award-winning book, Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.com. Her new Nautilus Award-winning book, The Soul’s Twins, is at Amazon and Schiffer’s Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit and wherever books are sold. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.

 

 

 

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Comments

22 Responses

  1. Oh, Jeannie. I’m so sorry. This is indeed a learning experience. I have been there with my right hand. I hope you are doing well and not in pain.

    1. Thanks, Diane. I know you’ve experienced this too. I need some tips on how to do things with one hand! I am much better with only occasional minor discomfort if I move my hand too much. Jeanie

  2. Yes it’s a learning experience that should be avoided.
    I wanted to add a comment to your last weeks blog entry- TRUE DAT!
    Your “experiencing something “ today reminded me of the flu I had way before COVID was in the news.
    I noticed how easy I slipped into this thinking which you so cooly described in last weeks entry.It’s near impossible to speak of it cleary.Forget about actually writing about it and especially writing so others understand and experience it to the extent possible. I appreciate your true giftedness!
    Carry on!

    1. Thank you, Mark. I appreciate your kind words.

      It really is difficult to write about the kinds of things, i wrote about last week, Maybe that’s why you don’t hear them expressed that often. But they’re very real and deeply felt on the inside nonetheless. Maybe our difficulty expressing such things is due to the way we Westerners are taught to think and express ourselves: linearly, literally, rationally, factually, predictably…things we can count and measure and everyone can agree on so everyone can understand.

      We’re not taught to notice feelings, moods, self-talk, complex emotional nuances. Moreover, unless we meditate or practice yoga we’re not taught to be introspective and self-observant, to notice or care about what’s going on in our mysterious inner world and what that has to do with bodily sensations. There’s a rich inner world in us all just waiting to be explored and written about!

      Carrying on!! You too!

      Jeanie

      1. Here’s some late night cut and paste…..

        To weave our dreams upon and listen to a song
        Just an old song coming down
        Just an old song
        What I’m sure they wrote for you and me*

        The Logical Song
        Song by Supertramp
        When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful
        A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical
        And all the birds in the trees, well they’d be singing so happily
        Oh joyfully, playfully watching me
        But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible
        Logical, oh responsible, practical
        And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable
        Oh clinical, oh intellectual, cynical

        There are times when all the world’s asleep
        The questions run too deep
        For such a simple man
        Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
        I know it sounds absurd
        Please tell me who I am

        Heard It In A Love Song
        Song by The Marshall Tucker Band
        Always something greener on the other side of that hill
        I was born a wrangler and a rounder
        And I guess I always will
        Heard it in a love song
        Can’t be wrong

        *An Old Fashioned Love Song” is a 1971 song written by Paul Williams and performed by the American pop-rock band Three Dog Night.
        Released: November 1971
        … Once I rose above the noise and confusion
        Just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion
        I was soaring ever higher
        But I flew too high
        Though my eyes could see, I still was a blind man
        Though my mind could think, I still was a mad man
        I hear the voices when I’m dreaming
        I can hear them say
        … Carry on, my wayward son
        There’ll be peace when you are done
        Lay your weary head to rest
        Don’t you cry no more

        Don’t stop me now
        I’m having a good time….. but we must we must
        We must stop or bust. Later

  3. Wow Jeanie, you could’ve literally knocked me down with a feather when I first read this post … especially after that quote by Jung and then coming here straight after Elaine Mansfield’s latest post! Oh, this is most confirming to me that we’re all so deeply connected at some level somehow and what pure synchronicity it is that we both received another necessary difficulty!

    Firstly, I’m so sorry to hear about your wrist fracture. Ouch! How painful and awkward it must be so I’m doubly impressed by your writing today although I do wonder if your writing hand needs to take a rest … as curiously a couple of weeks ago when you forgot to post I thought to myself, hmm, I wonder if her hand needs a rest but felt it was silly to say such a thing.

    Knowing the substance of the thing from inside, I love that too and will be chewing on it for the next few weeks … as guess what, last weekend, after watching swallows swoop I fell and broke my ankle for the third time in recent years. My first thought was, I’m not done with that Animus Diet yet!

    Good luck with your forthcoming zoom presentation, live (Yay!) book-signing and talk. Having watched the Ohio one I know that your audiences are in for a rich, insightful treat. Love and light, Deborah.

    1. Wow Deborah. You almost jolted me out of my chair when I read that you broke your ankle again! Oh my word. That happened only a few days after I broke my wrist! And Elaine’s post was all about recovering from a necessary difficulty for which she blamed herself. I don’t know what your lesson is, nor do I know mine yet, but, wow, am I open to understanding it!

      Perhaps you’re right; maybe my writing hand needs a rest. You could have said that to me last week and I would have listened. I really am obsessed with writing this blog so as not to disappoint those who read it. I feel a probably unreasonable obligation to them. Maybe that’s just ego. Maybe I just need to accept that life will go on and they will be fine whether I publish a new post or not. Sounds silly to say it, but I know the substance of the thing inside that demands this commitment of me…. Maybe I’ll understand that someday… and let go of it.

      I wonder if the newly broken ankle is about your animus diet or if it’s about something else that wants to be noticed? I only say that because my intuition requires it of me, just as yours wanted you to tell me about my writing obsession… 🙂 Who knows? Our obsessions are such familiar parts of us that we can’t see them clearly enough to recognize them as obsessions. At least that’s true of me and mine.

      I so love communicating with you about issues like these. You are a remarkably intuitive listener and scrupulously honest responder. I truly respect your compassion for others.

      Thank you.

      Jeanie

      1. Great, I enjoy running up and down those psychic stairs looking for clues, so thank you Jeanie for gifting me more rich and insightful reflections to muse upon! Well, the first thing I did the next day was take a leave of absence from social media to focus on as I put it … “off to read in a hammock, build sandcastles and start writing my new book” and yet today I’m thinking, reading in a hammock is just about all I can do!

        In regard to my first thought about my Animus Diet, as the days drift by I’m growing more and more sure that I fell because I was seriously out of balance with my Shadow therapist (below) who was busy starving her inner children, while the therapist (above) has been busy feeding the world this past year. It’s time to take that imbalance in hand and perhaps a Tarot reading later will clarify further things further.

        Also I sense there’s more to explore re body (soul) as it was my left ankle and your left wrist, and to me left in dreams represents the unconscious feminine so I wonder if our wounds, being on the left side are about bringing more “femininity” into our conscious thought because such injuries create a strong change in a person’s behaviour as a natural balance seeks to be found or resisted. A quick search brought up these words by Louise Hay …

        “The left side of the body is often regarded as the feminine side, the receiving side, where you take in. It represents, among other things, the mother. The right side of the body is often regarded as the masculine side, the giving-out side, where you express. It represents, among other things, the father. When we continually have problems with one particular side of the body, it can mean there are issues with the parent represented by the side that have not been settled.”

        Well that hit the mark as I now re-discover, thanks to you, Elaine and Jung, the substance of things from the inside … again! Still, three (broken ankles) is a magickal number and hopefully this time more femininity will move into my conscious thought and wow, let Sophia make herself known! For as poets, writers, artists is it not our task to free Her radiance from the darkness of our matter, in this case your left wrist and my left ankle?

        Lastly, and apologies for my long “stream of consciousness” reply, when you write of obsessions, I’m thinking yes, possibly, but writing to me (and I suspect for you too) is like bloodletting, that’s why it’s so wondrous for us to do …. and oh, how I shudder at the thought of not being able to write! Eeek! So much to muse on, thank you so much! Love and light, Deborah.

        1. My cochlear implant is in the L ear. Just to add to the feminine wounding. The three of us had plenty of absent mother energy in our early lives. My animus is busy supporting the feminine body and helping me regain as much strength and balance as possible since something in me gave up after the Meniere’s Disease falls and cochlear implant. And now if I were to break something, I’d have a big struggle since my dogs don’t know how to zip jeans or open jars. A third dear friend in Oakland, CA just fell at a political protest and broke her L arm. She’s in surgery right now. Hmmmm… I hope all of you are right handed and can still write with a pen without too much hassle, but you’re being forced to slow down.

          1. Wow, this is absolutely fascinating Elaine! I think you’re onto something big and what better way for us to learn than to know the substance of our feminine wounding from the inside. I’m left-handed and thankfully have never (touches wooden table) had any problems with either wrist.

            It’s interesting that it was your left ear Elaine, Jeanie’s wrist and my left ankle … there’s a huge connection here for me with those sweeping swallows and all these synchronistic events. Much to muse upon thank you!

          2. Absent mother energy. For sure. We are definitely on to some vast and valuable feminine mystery here. We all have very accomplished animus “doer/writers”, and yet we’re all filled with a deep need to connect with the feminine depths: anima, Sophia, Inanna, Hecate…….

            Hahahaha….maybe you could start teaching your dogs how to zip jeans and open jars now, just in case. I took your advice and ordered those peanut butter chewy treats for Izzy, and she loves them. I bet she’d do anything for a chewy treat. Now if I can figure out how to teach her…..There must be a way. ; -)

        2. Thank you for this rich banquet of observations, Deborah.

          I also associate the left side of the body with the feminine, but sometimes I’m slow to remember what I know, and need reminders.
          i appreciate this one.

          I’ve not thought of the mother so much in terms of her receptivity as her nurturance. While very kind, fair, and trustworthy, my mother was not very receptive or overtly nurturing. Rather she was mostly mostly independent, hard-working, and unavailable. Perhaps a mother wound still hampers my efforts to fully integrate my feminine side.

          I tell myself I’ve been indulging her all summer by resting and reading more than I have in years, (I’ve been so obsessed with nurturing and birthing The Soul’s Twins, which, ironically, seemed to be mostly about accommodating my animus energy), but maybe my compulsion to get out into the garden and clear out the English Ivy was just more animus, trying to prove his worth…to no one but myself.

          And is my new interest in starting another book coming from animus or anima? I too think of writing as bloodletting, and wondrous, and utterly essential to my soul, but it takes a lot of animus energy to do it, especially during the latter phases of publishing and marketing. Perhaps writing is so satisfying because it’s a beautiful partnership between animus and anima. Or is it just more food for my animus? Perhaps it’s neither/nor. Perhaps my hunger for either/or clarity is fruitless and beside the point. Maybe the point is simply to be with what’s coming up for me right now without judgment.

          Methinks I’m caught in a muddle,
          less certain and more befuddle.
          Immersed in the mayhem of middle,
          I’m making a new myth of riddle.

          Forgive the doggerel… Wow, that felt good! 🙂

          Thank you, dear friend.

          Love, Jeanie

  4. Golly Jeanie, sorry to hear about your wrist and all good wishes for complete healing. It’s quite a thing being one-handed or single handed. 8 years ago I had a badly damaged right hand unusable for several weeks. But there were lessons for me in this, patience for one thing! And using my left hand for writing or drawing.

    Goodness me re Deborah 😨 I must check out latest post of Elaine’s which I don’t recall seeing. I’ve been going up and down stairs a huge lot lately – prepping bedrooms and bathrooms for US visitors next Monday and my son and DIL arrived last evening. One turn on the stairs and I’d be a goner. So I’ve been extra careful! But it’s as easy to trip over a blade of grass –

    1. “But it’s as easy to trip over a blade of grass,” brings smiles of recognition, as does “going up and down stairs a huge lot…” My bedroom and study are upstairs and since my sprain/fracture I’ve been super aware of every step, steps i’ve always blithely taken for granted. Another trip now would be disastrous. I’m learning lots of lessons too: of patience, like you; of slowing down and paying more attention to every act in every moment; of gratitude for still having the full use of my legs and right hand; of increased appreciation for Fred”s kindness and full support; of more flexibility and less determination to fulfill my agenda….all very valuable.

      Thank you for writing. Commiserations from kind friends feel very good right now.

      Love,,,,,,,

  5. Jeanie, I’m so sorry you are hurt. I hope you’ll heal well and quickly. I’m glad you can hike and enjoy the summer and I’m glad Fred is there to help, but maybe you’ll be forced to slow the pace. I’ve been forced (kicking and whining) by Meniere’s Disease to let go of so much and rest, rest, and more rest. I’ve had a recent resurgence of wanting to work on physical balance and strength because that’s the way to keep my independence. I asked my doctor to refer me to a highly respected physical therapist near me. “Why do you need a physical therapist?” she asked since I don’t actually hurt anywhere. “It’s about improving balance,” I said. “Yes, a good idea,” she said. (I’m told by the cochlear implant surgery that there is so much damage to my inner ear that I’ll never regain my old balance–but I should keep trying.)

    So the PT started me slowly and only 3 weeks ago, but I already feel more grounded and steady. When she saw what I can already do, she upped the difficulty, but it’s interesting she’s having me do exercises I didn’t like when I was seriously strength training–things like lunges in various directions which require balance as well as strength. My balance has been off at least since 2013 and the complete loss of hearing in my L ear–and even more since the cochlear implant. My warrior animus is now occupied with helping me stay on track with the exercises and also writing about my Monarch project. He feels happier when he has a job, but both these are in service of the feminine body and psyche. And my body is in charge of what we can and can’t do. I don’t force against fatigue anymore.

    I’m so glad you can do your online and in person teaching and your arm won’t interfere. I assume Fred can drive you to the in person event which will be fun. Best of luck with both those events. Sending healing love, Elaine

    1. “He feels happier when he has a job, but both these are in service of the feminine body and psyche. And my body is in charge of what we can and can’t do.” And there’s the bright light of wisdom that shines through the dark matter! A thousand blessings my Dear Friend and Wise Woman. Love and light, Deborah.

  6. What Deborah said!!! Wow. “He feels happier when he has a job and both these are in service of the feminine body and psyche!” sure resonates with me! As does, “…the bright light of wisdom that shines through the dark matter.”

    Thank you for both your comments, Elaine and Deborah. It speaks directly to my current lack of clarity, which the two of you are helping me decide not to force against any more! Much love to you both, Jeanie

  7. Ha-Ha! Love the doggerel and this koan of wisdom … “Maybe the point is simply to be with what’s coming up for me right now without judgment.!”

    Oh, if only I could ever remember what I know life would be so sweet! Sometimes when reading a great book, I think to myself, Deborah you need to memorise this book because you’ll never need to read another book again … (insert more laughter!)

    For different reasons I had one of those unavailable mothers too, which was hardly surprising given the trauma she suffered in her marriage. I’m guessing mine tuned out long before I was born. I sense in varying degrees we are all hampered by such parental wounds.

    Your time spent in the garden sounds heavenly, like you were definitely catching up and balancing out your Animus and Anima. Hahaha! As my next book is all about the Animus I’m hoping that the content will also balance and harmonise the feminine …

    You see for me it’s only when my ink turns red as I call it that I know I am in touch the feminine. Yes, black for masculine, a necessary container (as I haven’t come across any red printed books!) yet inside hopefully there’ll be a watery, feminine world.

    Hope the day finds you well and that your wrist is feeling much better! And you continue developing more life style hacks of how to do stuff in a cast!

    Ha-Ha! Now I’m patiently waiting for you to upload the YouTube video …

    Love and light, Deborah. 🙂

  8. “Oh, if only I could ever remember what I know life would be so sweet! Sometimes when reading a great book, I think to myself, Deborah you need to memorise this book because you’ll never need to read another book again.” Substitute my name for yours and that’s my story too!

    I do think everybody has some kind of Mother and Father complex of some kind, and in varying degrees of wounding. I don’t know anyone whose parents were exactly what each of their children needed. My mother was more than “good enough”, but I still have a little child in me who sometimes wishes she could have given more…

    You’re right. Gardening, the little that I do, is definitely about balancing out Anima and Animus for me, but I guess I needed the stepping stone’s reminder that there’s still some imbalance, still a little too much driven Animus and not quite enough accepting Anima.

    “When my ink turns red.” What a beautiful poetic way of saying “opening the wound to the very bone!”

    I am well, but still a bit weary, and my wrist does feel better, although I’m still having twinges of pain. Maybe my Animus is still trying to do too much. But in writing here, I think he’s doing it in service to my Anima’s need for connection. Thanks to Elaine for that insight.

    Now I’m off to YouTube to look up a video on “how to do stuff with a wrist cast.” 🙂

    Love, Jeanie

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