“The Privilege of a Life Time” by Peter Metzner


The privilege of a lifetime is being
who you are.
The goal of the hero trip
down to your jewel point
is to find those levels in the psyche
That open, open, open,
and finally open to the mystery
of your self
being Buddha consciousness,
the Christ.

That’s the journey
(Joseph Campbell) Reflections on the Art of Living – A Joseph Campbell Companion

“Find a place where there is joy and the joy will burn out the pain” .

According to Campbell, Satan is the epitome of the intractable ego. That part of ourselves needing to be right, to defend ourselves, feeling separate, better than or not as good as others depending on our beliefs, dogma and life’s situations. Hell is the concretization of your life experiences, a place where you’re stuck, the wasteland. In hell, we blame others for our condition and are so bound to ourselves that grace cannot enter. What is hellish is being stuck without hope, without relief.*

How we mature, depends on taking responsibility for our choices, no longer blaming others, or expecting rescue from them. And to acknowledge the pain of loneliness however much we are invested in social roles and relationships. (James Hollis) Swamplands of The Soul. The mature person i.e. one who is psychologically free : “is confident in his inner world, responsible for his strengths and weaknesses, consciously able to love himself, and thus, able to love others”…. Marion Woodman

In a simple and poignant description of the human condition, and of growth; Jolande Jacobi, a Jungian analyst writes: “Like a seed growing into a tree, life unfolds stage by stage. Triumphant ascent, collapse, crises, failures, and new beginnings strew the way. It is the path trodden by the great majority of people, as a rule unreflectingly, unconsciously, unsuspectingly, following its labyrinthine windings from birth to death in hope and longing. It is hedged about with struggle and suffering, joy and sorrow, guilt and error, and nowhere is there security from catastrophe. For as soon as a man tries to escape every risk and prefers to experience life only in his head, in the form of ideas and fantasies, as soon as he surrenders to opinions of ‘how it ought to be’ and, in order not to make a false step, imitates others when possible, he forfeits the chance of his own independent development. Only if he treads the path bravely and flings himself into life, fearing no struggle and no exertion and fighting shy of no experience, will he mature his personality more fully than the man who is ever trying to keep to the safe side of the road.”
J. Jacobe, The Way of Individuation

There are two gremlins we face every morning.

Fear: I am too tiny it is too hard… I can’t do it.

Lethargy: – chill out tomorrow is another day…

Each will eat us alive… Fear and lethargy are the enemy they are not out there they are inside
Carl Jung wrote: The spirit of evil is the negation of live force by fear… only boldness can overcome that fear.
If the risk is not taken, the meaning of life is violated”

Our task is to recover our personal authority and discern the meaning of our lives.
Who are we to stand in its way?

Stepping Into Your Vision by Peter Metzner


“I have lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to know reasons, knocking on a door. It opens.  I’ve knocked from the inside.” — Rumi

All of our trouble flows from being separated from our instincts.  C.G. Jung

Freud stated that “The price of civilization is neurosis”.   Neurosis meaning being someone you are not,  being split from your natural truth and being defined by an external definition of who you are.   Living a life that is authentically yours;  means being connected to your passion,  using and developing your gifts and natural abilities  in ways that are meaningful, useful and satisfying.   This is what vocational  integration is.    To get to this place requires some reflection and being  ‘real”  with your self.    Asking the larger and important questions can greatly help this process.

Below are powerful questions from James Hollis, PhD   that can help ease access to deeper insights.   Asking the “right”  questions;  stimulates our thinking  to seek to find answers.   We need   to ask and  be open and receptive to the messages we get.  Having solitude and quiet  allows us to hear and discern the answers that come.     Each may take some time so you may want to choose the one or ones that  resonate the most with you at this time.   

The Questions:

  • How do you know what is true for you?   How did you lose your personal authority in the first place?   Did you lose it through adapting  to circumstances?
  • What core ideas – are the defining ideas of my life?
  • What has brought you to this point in your life?  Fate?  Family influences?
  • What parts of history have framed your world?  Are there repeating patterns that make us prisoners of our history?
  • Which pieces or parts of your life are working  for you?
  • What constricts you?
  • What messages did you internalize?  i.e.  We are here to make money;  I have to be perfect,  successful;  have children and make them successful…
  • Why does so much feel like a script that has been written for you?
  • Am I choosing  security over truth?
  • Am I doing  what my peers do?
  • Do I change and grow and how?
  • Why is so much a disappointment?
  • Why do I hide so much from others?
  • What gets pushed underground in my unconscious?
  • Where do I experience the transcendent?

According to Jung, the highest calling is an appointment with our “self”.  We have an appointment with ourselves and not all of us keep it.     We need to mindful and discern where spirit is working in all areas of our lives. If the life we have lived has been too small and it may be too small for most of us;   the task of recovering ourselves is opening to largeness of our journey.

There are two  gremlins we face every morning.

Fear: I am too tiny it is too hard…  I can’t  do it.

 Lethargy:  – chill out tomorrow is another day…

Each will eat us alive… Fear and lethargy are the enemy, they are not out there they are inside.  We awaken only to fall back into the  comfort of our past life.

Jung also wrote:  ” The Spirit of evil is the negation of live force by fear… only boldness can overcome that fear.

If the risk is not taken, the meaning of life is violated.”

We all have a task and it is;  the recovery of personal authority and discerning the meaning of our lives.  Who are we to stand in its way?  We are responsible for finding meaning in our lives.

We can look at symptoms like depression, anxiety, addictions and compulsions as ruptures in our false self.   James Hollis also writes this is the psyche or our “self” trying to break out of the confines of the acquired or false self.    So welcome a symptom.  The psyche which has been captive may have a different agenda than the one our ego or acquired identity is following.    Symptoms may be the psyche no longer able to cooperate in going along the path we are taking.  Similar to the reins of a horse correcting us when we stray.

Jung believed  that every patient knew at some all level what they needed to do.   We all need to become our own psychotherapists
and heal the bridge and split from our natural truth.   The self knows you have always known.   This is the knowledge of the head in service to the knowledge of the heart which gives insight and the courage to live our lives.

If you knew what you are truly capable of, would you move forward into your life with tremendous enthusiasm and very little self-doubt?
Find  your voice and a place in your life where your brilliance  can shine through.  There is  something we all can do to bring us a sense of satisfaction and meaning.   Find  what you love the most in life.  Search inside for that deep passion or restlessness, and allow  yourself  the quiet and peace to give it full expression.
There is genius in every one of us, as a natural part of our birthright.  Let it come out.  The German Poet Rilke wrote: “Our task is to be defeated by ever larger things” .
References and suggested reading:
Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally Really Grow up James Hollis PH.D, Gotham books New York, NY 2006
Why Good People Do Bad Things:  Understanding our Darker Selves.  James Hollis PH.D Gotham books New York, NY 2007
Memories Dreams , Reflections.  Carl Gustav Jung  Random House, Inc. 1963
 

 

Triggers and Stressors by Type by Peter Metzner


The last posting highlighted  core personality types and their characteristics. Most people are a combination of two.   While we are all unique and different from everyone else; we also share basic common themes in the way we work, relate to others, and react to life’s stresses.  Below is a summary of  the core types under stress.  Interestingly,  or ironically depending how you view it; when stressed each type can stress others resulting in a self reinforcing cycle of stress and negativity.   This is why we need to get out of our comfort zone and realize that each usually plays a role in the situation nobody wants!  When we overuse or misuse our strengths we push away the very things we want most in life.  Talk about irony!

Personality styles under stress or tension are as follows;

D – Drivers/ Dominant – have a tendency to Dominate, Attack, Push the envelope – (My way or highway)

I – Expressive – have a tendency to Blame, Criticize, Be sarcastic, Or even acquiesce

S – Amiable / Steadiness – have a tendency to withdraw, oblige or tolerate.

 C – Analytic / Compliant – have a tendency to avoid, justify, criticize  or complain.

 

As a reference for the closest comparisons to Peoplemap personality types (Lillibridge, Mathis 1992):

Leader = D / Driver / Director

Free Spirit = I / Expressive / Socializer

People = S / Amiable / Relater

Task = C / Analytical / Thinker

 Under stress each type tends to overuse their strengths –  potentially triggering defensive behaviors of the other types around them.  This in turn escalates conflict and tension in working relationships thus adversely impacting productivity and morale.  Note: each type can trigger the others also by staying in their relative comfort zones.

When triggered into their fight or flight response (real or imagined threat) individuals naturally react to the other according to their type: this is how the very thing we want most is pushed away.    The likelihood of each moving to their stress or danger zone is increased, further raising the likelihood for non productive behaviors, negativity and outcomes.

Leader type triggers (Perceived) —

  • Non-productive workers
  • Non-efficiency
  • Repeated mistakes
  • Loss of control
    • Incompetence
    • Passive aggressive behaviors.
    • Irrationality (Emotional response.)
    • Lack of logical basis for decisions
    • Failure to address competence after it has been identified
    • Not working hard

When angry regarding those aspects above, Leader types can have a no holds barred approach to conflict. Tempers may flare in either soft or loud tones.  Either way, others know of their displeasure and may retreat or cower from their anger or irritation.

People type triggers (Perceived) —

  • Not feeling valued or respected
  • Being taken advantage of
  • Not being listened to
  • Feeling unjustly criticized
  • Failure to respond to personal inquiry
  • Lack of attention to personal needs
  • Perceived condescension, insensitivity.
  • Focus on “it” or “task” rather than on the individual’s needs
  • Failure to acknowledge efforts
  • Judgmental

When angry…..People types often become passive aggressive (The power of the powerless) turn inward, so communication they crave becomes beyond their reach.  They are not good at expressing their emotions when under “assault” so their tendency is to shut down.  Their brain ceases to “exist” as it normally does and it almost is if they retreat and become numb to what is being said. This can be especially vexing to leader types.

Task type triggers (Perceived) —

  • Work, work, work, and work some more…
  • Feeling dumped on continuously as others know they will do what it takes to get the job done
    • Lack of attention to detail
    • Not given enough direction
    • Lack of verification of information
    • Failure to follow through as specifically described
    • Inefficiency
    • Laziness

When angry….Task types also tend to shut down and throw themselves even more into their work – sometimes losing track of the big picture.  They can be perceived as being critical, inflexible and judgmental; which can be especially difficult for People types as well as Free Spirits not to mention frustrating to Leader types!

Free Spirit type triggers (Perceived) —

  • Feeling ridiculed for their contributions
  • Not appreciated
  • Not having ideas listened to.
  • Demeaned if not part of status quo
  • Being micromanaged and questioned
  • Not having room or enough freedom to innovate
  • Over emphasis on rules
  • Others not being able to see the “big picture”

Free Spirits will likely rebel or leave a situation…they may simply walk away. What may be worse; they stay and remain unhappy: not feeling valued or appreciated. The more they feel controlled, micromanaged or not listened too the more rebellious they can become.

To transform negative emotions to constructive use can be as simple as ABC :

  • AAffect Acknowledge the anger or emotion your are feeling  e.g. I feel misunderstood, frustrated, hurt,  etc
  • B: Behavior. When you… showed up late, didn’t meet the deadline, etc..
  • C: Call for action (Choice).  I need you to:.  Be at work on time, honor your commitment etc.

By understanding the message of our emotions and using an assertive approach like this; we can create healthier, more productive relationships, get our needs met and live a more successful and empowered life.  Regardless of type, we all need to be able to state our needs in a calm straightforward and specific way.    If each is willing to listen and cultivate empathy for the other, the resulting positive shift in interpersonal  dynamics can immediate and profound!   Try it out!!