“Rebellious leaves going out in a blaze of glory, setting trees aflame in riotous color. Reluctant surrender to rumors of coming winter.” ~John Mark Green
“Dreams and myths take us into the dark world of our personal and cultural unconscious, where the roots of the continuing oppression and the spiritual imprisonment of lives lie. If we are willing to look, ready to see whatever may appear, and if we will listen to the voices stirring within us, we will find that out of our transpersonal depths, the gifts of understanding and transformation are at hand.” ~ Massimilla Harris, Ph.D., and Bud Harris, Ph.D. Into the Heart of the Feminine. p.50
In midlife when Jungian psychology awakened me to the reality of my unconscious self, I grew new eyes and ears. I saw the underlying meaning of images in my daily experiences and nightly dreams. I heard voices in my previously neglected emotional responses to music, literature, and poetry. I identified with characters in certain fairy tales that spoke to my story and filled me with joy to know I was not alone. I learned that I am part of an archetypal story that has been told since the beginning of time.
I began to observe and understand the metaphorical meaning of Nature: the characteristics and qualities of trees, flowers, birds, animals, mountains, rivers, oceans, sunrises and sunsets, earth, air, water and fire that reflect parts of myself; the responses that Nature makes to the cycles of seasonal change and how my inner life reflects this change.
My new way of seeing and hearing gave me glimpses into hidden chambers of my unconscious whose existence I never suspected. I’ve stubbornly resisted, then eventually accepted painful truths about myself. Gained profound healing insights. Learned to love learning the hidden story of my soul that lay beneath the one my ego believed was true. Grew passionate about sharing what I was learning in my books and this blog. I’m grateful beyond measure that I’ve had, and am still having, the most fascinating, exciting, if not always pleasant, adventure of a lifetime.
Yet, with all all the lessons I’ve learned, growth I’ve experienced, and acceptance of the fact that life and human consciousness are evolving and always will be, a part of me has expected to reach a sense of completion in my elder years. I knew I’d never be perfect or know all the answers, but somehow I thought I’d be enlightened enough to make peace with aging without too much fuss and bother. I imagined myself sitting in a sort of perpetual lotus position, serenely oblivious to my aching back and the pains in my legs while fully enjoying the blessings of age and enlightenment. Yeah, I did.
If that is a reasonable possibility, I still have a lot to learn. If it’s not, and I’m laughing as I write this, I still have a lot to learn! It now seems to me—and nature appears to support this view—that life is a journey with no destination. With no other purpose than to keep recycling old life into new life. And with no other payoff than the exquisite joy of living, loving, and learning.
It strikes me that if this is, indeed, true, then maybe despite all the grumpiness, frustration, and self-doubt I’ve been experiencing of late, this is the very lesson I was meant to learn all along. Maybe it really is all about the journey, and not the destination. Maybe experiencing the wonder and miracle of my life with the hope of finally coming home is the whole point. Maybe death, and whatever it may bring, is the ultimate prize in this, my season of reluctant surrender to the rumors of coming winter.
As Persephone returns to Hades,
We too must revisit darkness,
sleep awhile before we rise again,
for fading daylight demands
more logs for the inner soul-fire.
~ Deborah Gregory, “November”. The Shepherd’s Daughter p. 157
You may have noticed that my posts no longer appear regularly. This is a by-product of my surrender to the vicissitudes of aging! Some are quite pleasant, by the way. But I haven’t forgotten you and still love you!
Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Jean’s new Nautilus Award-winning The Soul’s Twins, is at Amazon and Schiffer’s Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.