I wanted the T shirt that said, “A Story is the shortest distance between two people” but they were out of my color at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough TN.
Instead, I have a lovely blue one that reads “Stories are our native language.” Which is just as true, and completes the thought: “Stories are how we relate to each other. Tell a story and expect to connect.”
Right now, if you’ve got a story that connects people, that gives us alI a wider, more generous, more lifegiving perspective, please get out there and tell it.
Here’s one of mine: a story that involves a dream which explains why I keep showing up in your inbox.
This dream came nearly two decades ago, a few years after I’d finished my dreamwork training. While most of my time was spent in the delight and disorder of raising young children, I tended my dreams, ran a dream group and – in every minute I could wrangle – devoured all the Jungian dream books I could get my hands on. It was a formidable intellectual diet.
In the dream, I’m walking down a sandy road in a pine forest when I come to a little cottage. Inside, it’s dim. At the stove, I see a man with his back toward me, whom I recognize as a professor, a former colleague. He’s older now, with disheveled hair and a rumpled flannel shirt. As I come closer I see he’s boiling turnips in a big black pot. I look up to remark about the turnips, and then I see – he is blind.
He knows I’ve realized this, and explains, simply and almost cheerfully,
“I was given blindness so I could see past my books.”
I woke up flooded with that deep shock of an Aha – knowing I’ve received a direct hit from the unconscious. Grateful, yet staggered by the impact.
This dream spoke exactly to my situation: I’d been living too much in the intellectual realm. The dream shows me both the consequences (blindness) and offered another perspective through the image of the professor, who in waking life had left academia to become a priest. The whole cabin is a crucible dedicated to psychospiritual alchemical transformation. Contents of my unconscious – the turnips – have been dug up. They’re now being cooked so that they can be shared and eaten – integrated, in Jungian language.
Dream wisdom showed me the limits of unbalanced learning about dreams. Study was blinding me to the living, transformative relationship with the dreams, with others, and ultimately with the Dreamgiver. As I worked with the image of the blind wise man/alchemist/cook, I began to embody and teach dreams more.
It seemed right to grow the work into Fire by Night, so here I am, in your inbox, your Zoom screen, your telephone; your classroom and your small group, your retreat; your school, your church, your circle.
These days, as the tough roots from unconscious push their way up - in your life and in the life of the collective - I want to offer you a place to cook your turnips. Bring those raw gritty weird-looking beautiful nightmarish "emergences" and let’s make them edible, with heat and water and time, with a grain of salt and lots of butter. Those dreams are soul roots that can make us wise. And when share them, we grow strong together.
Please join me at the table, where we can tell each other, in our native language of story, in awe and laughter and terror and always with hope, the divine human story, dream by dream.
Lenten Dream Circles: Hearing deep truth is an excellent Lenten discipline, and nothing tells the truth like a dream. There’s still time to join a Lenten Dream Circle. Plan it for your group or join one now: we begin the week of Ash Wednesday. Contact me for details and scheduling; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individual Sessions: Bring your dreams for deep listening. Come for a session or a season to catch the accents of your personal dream language, and hear a wider meaning.
whatever you have to say, leave
the roots on, let them
and the dirt
just to make clear
where they come from
Nashville Jung Circle
January 24 2:30-4:30 “2020 as an Alchemical Year ”presented by Dr. Karen Harper, LCSW
February 28, 2:30-4:30 “Soul Collage” led LeAnne Nesbitt
Join us on Zoom. Learn more at www.nashvillejungcircle.com.
Or contact me and I'll forward the link: email@example.com
The Jung Platform is offering a free Summit on Dreams from Jan 14-17th.
There will be sessions with 12 world class experts on dreams from different traditions: Jungian, Native American, Tibetan and Shamanic.
You can enroll for free here: https://jungplatform.com/summit/dreams-and-your-personal-journey