Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You need to wear your hair in a less ordinary way

by Patricia Damery

Fifteen people are seated around a very large, round table in an otherwise empty living room of an old San Francisco Victorian. Norma T., a robust and dramatic woman in her 60s who sits directly across the table from me, is obviously in charge. She instructs us to put our hands palm down on the tabletop. She claims to be in a trance, although she appears to be present and alert. She could be teaching math, given her matter-of-fact demeanor.

The skeptic in me scans the room. Who comes to a séance, anyway? Most of the people look fairly ordinary: a petite woman with short white hair; a business man in a suit; a young man with a backpack next to his chair; me, a candidate in training to be a Jungian analyst. This could be any-committee-meeting-USA, I think, or a Sunday school class…that is, until the table starts jumping.

At first I am annoyed. I suspect someone is bumping a table leg with a knee. But as the tempo increases and Norma comments that the energy is particularly strong this evening, I realize that the table’s legs are actually leaving the floor at times. I am shocked. As if from a long distance, I can hear Norma “channeling” to the woman with the short white hair. A dead relative is apparently giving her some kind of guidance. The skeptic in me is having a heyday, but my attention is riveted on the phenomenon of the bouncing table. I feel as if I am going to throw up. The room is spinning.

Norma finishes with the woman and calls my name. She will “read” for me next. She seems to know my condition and says, “You become nauseated when Spirit speaks to you.” I try to center myself. I do not remember what she tells me, except, "You need to wear your hair in a less ordinary way"—a comment that insults me. What I remember most is my altered sense of reality.

The bouncing table challenges my ideas about how the physical world operates. It has taken me years to work through my resistance and get to this strange gathering, and it will be two more before I am ready for any real instruction from Norma T.—instruction, as it turns out, that is necessary for me to heal a deep wound in my sense of self and move on in my life.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

This stupid thing called Emotion!

He's been gone a week! I didn't think I'd miss him so soon, but I miss him! To combat the feeling, I write like a mad woman. I write about anything and everything—silly things and stupid things! It helps some. That's all I've done in the last few days and now my energy shifted. Painting is something I could always do but the feeling is not there. Paint brushes and paint tubes sit on the kitchen table. A blank paper awaits to be swallowed by various colors and images my emotion represents. Instead, I pick up the dust mop and go through the entire apartment one more time—today.

I take a walk under a cloudy sky and heads toward the direction of the mall, five minutes away. A headache suddenly hits and it tells me a change in barometric pressure is underway. I continue to walk. At the mall, nothing invites my senses but a bag of mixed nuts from a small community store. The warm sweet smell of banana spring rolls wafted through the air. It's coming from the kitchen—in the back. I thought Sean might like one or two. I take two to go and eat half when I arrive home. It's after 3 in the afternoon—my first bite of the day.

He calls as I am writing this piece, but I don't hear the phone. It's in my purse in the living room. A 'bling' sound from my laptop alerts me—there's a voicemail waiting—a message from him. "Oh, to hear your voice makes me ache for you. I miss you—the entire you!"

Dark clouds are rolling in and the headache intensifies—so does my emotion. I'm going to let lose and cry now. No real reason, but just because that's how I feel right now. Sean came home from school about an hour ago and thankfully he's napping. He leaves for night school in about an hour. I have time to cry. When he wakes, I hope he will not notice that I've been crying otherwise he will teasingly say, "menopausing mom?" He will lovingly smile and add, "or are you sad because you miss him"?

"I miss you, but happy that you are taking this time to be on your own and doing your thing—your own writing. I love you and I'll see you soon!" 

But I'm a big girl, and this is what big girls do. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Teenage life crisis

If midlife crisis exist, so does teenage life crisis, at least in my world. I'm not talking about me as I didn't have much of a teenage life growing up under the influence of a father who came from a very strict spanish blood and family upbringings. To this day, I could hear his voice echoing in some nights. "I don't believe in daughters dating or boyfriends and long engagements! You are at once to be married as soon as I find out you have a boyfriend!" My father actually made me believe—he can tell when a girl had been kissed, or a girl can get pregnant by kissing. But this will be in another blog post.

My younger son turned eighteen last June, and in another four months he will be nineteen, the age where you can legally drink at a bar and enter a Casino here in Ontario Canada. At this point of my blog, I hope and pray to the cyber gods he and his brother will never come across this blog piece I write about them. If so, I will be confronted with . . . well, I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

My youngest son is eighteen and has no girlfriend! Not that there's anything wrong with that, but he's missing out on being goo goo eyed over a cute girl who could be a potential girlfriend he can take home to mama—someday. He's not a bad looking young man or a troubled child—he's just the complete opposite. Sean is a handsome young man with such a gentle soul and he tells me, the latter is a trait he acquired from me and it's not to his advantage when it comes to girls. I'm not sure what he was trying to tell me but I suppose in this day and age, perhaps some girls prefers the more aggressive type and it is not what he is. I want more than anything for him to have a girlfriend already! A few months ago, I was singing a different tune, but since he had his ears pierced last month, "the girls love it," he exclaims, I thought something has to change. He needs a girlfriend! Who am I to tell him what he needs? He has to figure this out on his own.

His older brother is sort of—the more aggressive type. Just before Christmas in 1998, at age eleven when he was in grade six, he had his first 'love' for a girl. Her name is Josie. One early evening, he approached me in the kitchen while I was fixing dinner. This is how the conversation went:

"Mom, how much do I have in my bank account?"
"Umm, I don't know, why?"
"Well, I'd like to buy Josie a Christmas gift."
"Who's Josie?"
"A girl from school that I really really like."
"What are you thinking of getting her for a gift?"
"A diamond ring."

I don't remember exactly what happened after that. Everything seem to be a blur. But when the clouds were lifted, I vividly recall sitting down, and  holding him by the hand, I carefully walked him through some very important facts and details about a girl and a diamond ring. In the end, he went shopping with his aunt to buy a set of silver fashion jewelries for Josie. He got over this quickly.

Around the same time the following year at age twelve, he came up to me again and . . . well, this time no diamond ring in the conversation but a different scenario with a different girl. Believe it or not, another Christmas came and same ol' story with yet another girl. Her name is Victoria of whom he still friends with to this day. Josie's mom, Lucy and I became friends and occasionally, I see Josie. It was last year when I finally had a chance to tell her about my conversation with my son, some thirteen years ago about a diamond ring. She thought it was funny and sweet and she went on to tell her friends who will tell theirs . . .

My youngest on the other hand seem to be having a hard time implementing a relationship with a girl. He seem to be attracted to girls who like someone else. Other girls like him but his feelings toward them is not the same as what they feel towards him. "I don't feel anything for her but friendship, and I don't want to lead her on," he says. A girl I will name Boots liked him at one point, but he didn't like her at first. Then he started to like her, but then she started liking someone else. This Boots girl has a friend named Di who has a boyfriend. Sean and Di are always hanging out and if I didn't know any better, I think they are an item. I didn't know any better—they're just friends. Then there's Sara who keeps Sean on the phone till wee hours, but they're "just friends." Oh, how can I forget Kaelan, Emily, Alexandria, Christina, and what's the other girl's name again? Teenage life—teenage crisis—So complicated!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lifting the Veil: Revealing the Other Side

Fisher King Press to publish 
Lifting the Veil: Revealing the Other Side 
by Jane Kamerling & Fred Gustafson

Available May 2012 - Advance Orders Welcomed

Lifting the Veil: Revealing the Other Side brings awareness to the unconscious and underlying dynamics that are reflected in the history and present day conflicts between the Islamic and Western worlds. The devastation and shock of 9/11 reached every community in America. It raised questions never before considered. Inspired by that event, research became critical to organize our thinking and make sense out of nonsense and organization out of chaos. Political literature addressing the dynamics leading up to the catastrophe of the collapse of the Twin Towers has been prolific as the urgency to understand the Islamic world has increased. International relations theory offers a variety of concepts of why and how nations may respond to one another for expansion, defense or peace. These theories develop with objective quantifiable equations and leave no room for immeasurable, subjective variables. Perception is one of those variables that can not be left out of the equation when looking at what motivates nations and international diplomacy. As Jungian analysts, Gustafson and Kamerling analyze an underlying psychological dynamic that fuels the conflict between the west and the Islamic world. They have distilled information from a variety of readings, interviews, documentaries and personal experiences in the Islamic world.

Jane Kamerling, L.C.S.W. is a Diplomate Jungian Analyst and member of the Chicago Society of Jungian Analysts and Interregional Society of Jungian Analysts. She is a faculty member of the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago and has designed and co-directed the Clinical Training is a senior analyst who has lectured both nationally and internationality on the relationship of Jungian psychology to culture, mythology and religion. She has a full time analytical practice in Chicago.

Fred R. Gustafson, D. Min. is a Diplomate Jungian Analyst (Zurich) and member of the Chicago Society of Jungian Analysts. He is a senior training analyst with the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago and a clergy member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He has lectured both nationally and internationally on subjects related to Analytical Psychology and religion. He is the author of The Black Madonna of Einsiedeln: An Ancient Image for Our Present Time, Dancing Between Two Worlds; Jung and the Native American Soul and The Moonlit Path: Reflections on the Dark Feminine.

Product Details
* First Edition,160 pages, Paperback and eBook editions
* Publisher: Fisher King Press (May 2012)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 1926715756
* ISBN-13: 978-1926715759

Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Art Crawl

Art Crawl was something unfamiliar to me until a few months ago when I started hearing about it from my two sons Phil and Sean who are, in my opinion avid art crawl-ers. Sean would try and switch a day off work just to attend this every second Friday, monthly social event. Phil may have had skipped work a time or two just to be in the crowd of mostly young and a handful of not-so-young art crawler folks.

A little over two months ago, we moved into a small two bedroom apartment on the street that hosts Hamilton Art Crawl. Tonight was my first unplanned Art Crawl experience by accident when we went for dinner at Ola Bakery that became like a second home to us. Lo and behold! The place was packed with art crawlers and Friday evening regulars, and a table for one was not in sight let alone a table for three. The owner ushered us to sit with a nice looking young man—a regular and a friend of his—seated solo at a table for five, polishing off a sandwich. After a brief but not awkward moment of introduction, Alex proceeded to take smaller but still healthy bites of his sandwich while managing to fill us in on bits and pieces of his family history. He grew up in Hamilton and used to live in Stoney Creek with his mom and dad until his retired parents decided to split their time between Portugal and Canada, so he ended up moving to downtown core of Hamilton. When asked what part of Portugal he was from, he looked up at a map of Portugal that was posted on a wall next to him and conveniently got up from his seat and pointed his index finger to Aveiro.

As we visited while waiting for our BBQ chicken dinner, the front door to the bakery opened and closed while people piled in and the tray of the ever popular custard tarts was quickly thinning down. Across from our table, a group of loud regulars composed of a few men and a babe with half exposed chest, were far from having a 'nice' conversation the way they were throwing words at one another but I tell you, no eye contact was happening for the woman. Imagine this: A woman sitting among men and while she spoke with hand gestures, a group of synchronized heads bopped along. Additionally, the stronger the hand gestures, the higher the bouncing of the twin balls and the bopping heads. Thankfully, our dinner arrived and my partner was able to avert his attention from the pair of giant meatballs.

Alex finished his sandwich and got up to leave as more art crawlers came in for their evening sugar fix, and a full tray of fresh custard tarts was now placed in the showcase. Taking a break and leaving his wife and employees to manage the growing crowd, Mr. Victor came and sat with us to enjoy his chamomile tea and shared us some of his family history. Two hours later, we were on the street art crawling it too! Art stores, coffee houses, bars and more, are open to the public until midnight to fill the eyes and appetite of interested patrons. It was a beautiful crisp night and the slight pour of white flakes coming down made me imagine walking along the Central Park of New York. I could have kept walking until my ears and nose became numb and cheeks beet red but opted to walk slowly home.

September 10, 2011, a portion of James Street was closed off to accommodate Supercrawl, an annual event that celebrates the diversity of Hamilton’s James Street North district, our multi-disciplinary arts community, and the incredible spark that results with our unique mix of cultures, businesses and creative people. It's a free afternoon and evening of art, dance,  music, or anything one's little heart desire, from 1 PM till Midnight.

The Art Crawl last December that we had planned to experience didn't pan out. We were grumpy and exhausted from the move, we had fallen asleep before 7 pm—slept through the loud music that was playing downstairs at the Bakery.

January Art Crawl didn't appeal from the quiet street that appeared down below. March promises a new beginning for the Art Crawl year. We have been told today that a Columbian musician will be performing at the Bakery. I look forward to art crawling on the eve of Friday March 9. I'd like to reserve the best table on the house for this event, please!

Below is a short list of what's available on James St. N:

This Ain’t Hollywood
Artword Artbar
Blue Angel Gallery
Books & Beats
The Brain
The Factory Media Arts Centre
Hamilton HIStory + HERitage
Hamilton Artists Inc.
James North Studio
Loose Canon Gallery,
Mixed Media
Tribal Gallery
Ola Bakery

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Red Book and a Word from the Sister

Stories of the Jungian Way

"This life is the way, the long sought after way to the unfathomable which we call divine"
—C.G. Jung, The Red Book
Marked by Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way is a soulful collection of essays that illuminate the inner life.

When Soul appeared to C.G. Jung and demanded he change his life, he opened himself to the powerful forces of the unconscious. He recorded his inner journey, his conversations with figures that appeared to him in vision and in dream in The Red Book. Although it would be years before The Red Book was published, much of what we now know as Jungian psychology began in those pages, when Jung allowed the irrational to assault him. That was a century ago.

How do those of us who dedicate ourselves to Jung’s psychology as analysts, teachers, writers respond to Soul’s demands in our own lives? If we believe, with Jung, in “the reality of the psyche,” how does that shape us? The articles in Marked By Fire portray direct experiences of the unconscious; they tell life stories about the fiery process of becoming ourselves.

A Word from the Sister
The publication of “Marked by Fire” is exciting. I want to share a portion of Naomi's essay in the collection, especially the part where I show up and play a pivotal role. I hope you’ll want to read more....
Drunk with Fire
How The Red Book Transformed My Jung

Support me for I stagger, drunk with fire. . . . I climbed down through the centuries and plunged into the sun far at the bottom. And I rose up drunk from the sun . . . The Red Book
There has been a breach between C. G. Jung and me. How could that happen? I had no idea who I was until I met Jung, nor had I had a decent conversation with my soul. Jungian analysis showed me my way into the world, and into my inner life—it opened the door to the poet I'd left behind in my childhood. But when I encountered Jung's suspicious attitude toward artists—so like a Swiss burgher—the poet in me was offended.

Enter The Red Book. When I sat down with that enormous tome on my lap and leafed through its gloriously illuminated pages, its visionary poetry, its astounding paintings and mandalas, my heart opened to my illustrious ancestor—all was forgiven. I felt vindicated. Jung, as I'd always suspected, was a closeted poet.

What is this Red Book? During a difficult time in his life, after his break with Freud, Jung was deluged with powerful images and visions. He wrote them down and painted them. He created a strange and beautiful book—bound in red leather—to hold them. It looks like a medieval illuminated manuscript. The Red Book was not published, even after his death, because of concerns that its wild, prophetic tone would cause people to dismiss Jung as a mystic or a madman. When it finally came out in 2009, it surprised the Jungian world by creating a media sensation and selling out its first printing

With the publication of The Red Book my Jung has been transformed. He is "outed" as a poet and a painter. He writes directly out of his vulnerability, working out his relationship with his soul in the depths of the mythopoetic imagination, just as I do. InThe Red Book Jung reclaims his soul—or rather she reclaims him. She appears to him and becomes his guide. She is an inner figure with a mind of her own. This honoring of the voice from within, which Jung would later call active imagination, is one of his greatest gifts to me. Instead of ignoring or dismissing voices that speak to me from within, Jung taught me to listen and to engage in dialogue with them. When "The Sister from Below" began speaking to me, telling me she was my muse, my soul, my writing life took off....

When Jung implores, "Support me for I stagger drunk with fire," I feel a tug and am deeply moved. Why is this? They are wildly poetic words—in the Dionysian mode. They take me down to that primal level of religious feeling—worship of the sun, our source. I know the states he describes. To be drunk with fire tells it all—the creative ecstasy—at once wildly enlivening and demonic—fire as Dionysus, fire as Shiva, fire as Pele. Certainly being a poet can mean being drunk with the sun from the bottom of time. One finds oneself climbing "down through the centuries" pursuing a word, an image, a phrase of goat song.

It has been essential for me to write directly out of the experience of being in other realities, rather than describing such states from a safe distance. In The Red Book Jung contains his intense and overwhelming experiences by writing them down, by painting them. I recognize that urge. I have shelves and shelves of journals in which I've worked to contain my own fire, to follow inner figures, to work with poems and with dreams, to dive below the surface of the times to what is moving in the depths. And I always feel better, more grounded, more real to myself after I do.

Enter, the Sister from Below. She's got an idea:

Why don't you take your own advice? Do an active imagination with Jung, now that you feel this warm glow of kinships libido for him? Imagine you two are sitting by the primordial fire, as he puts it in The Red Book:
An old secret fire burns between us. . . . The words uttered at the fire are ambiguous and deep and show life the right way. . . .
[We] will respect the holy fire again, as well as the shades sitting at the hearth, and the words that encircle the flames.
This makes me nervous. Jung is the master of active imagination. Is it hubris to invoke him? But I have learned to listen to the Sister. So I sit down, with my notebook. Jung, I discover, is reluctant. He is not at all sure he wants to engage in this exercise...

Marked By Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way

Volume 1 - Inaugural Edition, Edited by Patricia Damery and Naomi Ruth Lowinsky. Available Spring 2012

Contributors to Marked by Fire: Jerome Bernstein, Claire Douglas, Gilda Frantz, Jacqueline Gerson, Jean Kirsch, Chie Lee, Karlyn Ward, Henry Abramovitch, Sharon Heath, Dennis Patrick Slattery, Robert Romanyshyn, Patricia Damery, and Naomi Ruth Lowinsky.

Paperback & eBook editions - Advance Orders Welcomed

Product Details
Paperback & eBook editions: 150 pages (estimate)
Large Page Size Format 9.25" x 7.5"
Publisher: Fisher King Press; 1st edition (April 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1-926715-68-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-926715-68-1

Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Art of Love: The Craft of Relationship

Millions of books on relationships have been printed in the last ten years. Why do we need another one? We need The Art of Love: The Craft of Relationship for the same reasons that over four and a half million readers wanted Spencer Johnson's Who Moved My Cheese in a market that already had over 12,000 titles in print on the subject of change. Following Johnson's methods of teaching to a broad, modern audience, our book presents the profound principles that form a loving relationship in an easily accessible manner. Using a deceptively simple approach, it will help people shift their attitudes and give them the skills to create a loving, long-lasting partnership.

There are so many titles in print on change because it is an ongoing challenge for most of us. So are relationships. With more than six decades of experience working with couples, we knew we had vital information, lessons, and insights to share, but we insisted that the book be short, engaging, and easy to read. A helpful book does not have to be dense to be packed with wisdom, skills, and ideas that can open the door to a new era of fulfilling relationships.

We have brought complex material and common sense into a format that is carefully constructed to achieve results by being communicative and consistent, enjoyable and hopeful. Unlike the textbook appearance of most self-help books that include psychological jargon, case examples and exercises, The Art of Love: The Craft of Relationship uses stories and dialogue to teach profound insights and valuable skills. It sticks to people talking in a way the reader can identify with and understand. It brings hope because the reader who is experiencing stress in a relationship can see that other people, like them, are, too. And, that learning a few basic skills can bring lasting change and renew love.

The best news is that our book will be useful to many people because it will give them a new way to look at their relationship and the skills to handle problem after problem in a way that builds love and trust. Our mission is to appeal strongly to those who are considering a relationship, seeking to renew one, or are looking for a way to understand a partner and a process for dealing with problems in love, romance, sex, intimacy and living together.

About the Author
Massimilla and Bud Harris are diplomates of the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. They are practicing Jungian analysts in Asheville, NC., and lecture extensively. Bud Harris is also the author of several publications including Resurrecting the Unicorn: Masculinity in the 21st Century, The Father Quest: Rediscovering an Elemental Force, Sacred Selfishness: A Guide to Living a Life of Substance, and The Fire and the Rose: The Wedding of Spirituality and Sexuality.

Product Details
Paperback: 140 pages
Publisher: Fisher King Press; First edition (May 15, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1926715020
ISBN-13: 978-1926715025

also available as an eBook