UPCOMING EVENT: Jung Society, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

I’m traveling to Chapel Hill, NC, to do a lecture and Saturday workshop on February 24-25, 2017, on the subject of Narrative Intelligence: The Power of Story to Transform Our Lives. Click to Register. I’d love to see you there! Here are descriptions of the lecture and workshop:

Friday Night Presentation: Narrative Intelligence and the Power of Story

It seems everyone today is talking about the power of story; it is a theme in neuroscience, narrative therapy, and medicine, personal growth workshops, leadership, and politics. Stories can guide, heal, or mislead; formulate meaning that helps people survive or even thrive; and give shape to our lives, as the narratives we tell ourselves may influence what we do. And, of course, Jungian and Archetypal psychologies move us into understanding the particular power of archetypal characters, images, and narrative patterns.

Neuroscience teaches us that what we see as reality is filtered through patterns in our minds; as a result, what we too often take to be objectively real is in fact only partially true. Archetypal psychology shows us that we can recognize such patterns in imagery and narratives. To change what actually happens in our lives—as individuals and as a society—it is important that we recognize what universal stories we play parts in, correct the biases in what we perceive through learning from what others are noticing, and revise narratives we are thinking and telling. Shifting our stories helps us to achieve more generative sharing and find win/win solutions to what can appear to be intractable problems. When these new, empowering images and stories are archetypal and expressed in that archetype’s emerging edge, the result is energy for moving forward in more effective ways.

In this presentation, I will be sharing how gaining deep and cognitively complex narrative intelligence can make all the difference between a life in shambles, one boringly routine—or one authentically well-lived. To illustrate, I will introduce a set of transformational mythological stories that influenced in major ways not only ancient Greek culture, but also, through it, our own. The major archetypal characters embody energies present in each one of us today, and their mythic narratives provide guidance for expressing their positive potentials in the stories we think, tell, and live.

Saturday Workshop: Using Narrative Intelligence to Transform Your Experience

Based on Persephone Rising: Awakening the Heroine Within, the workshop will focus on archetypal stories from ancient Greece at a time when many things that significantly influence contemporary society were being invented, including drama, philosophy, and science. Such narratives, from the most revered of ancient Greek rites (the Eleusinian Mysteries), furthered deep learning then and can again today. Specifically, its promise was that initiates would be happier, more prosperous, and relatively free of fear.

The goal of this workshop is to help participants find each of the four essential archetypes within themselves and notice parallels between their mythic narratives and their lives today, so that they can develop visions for expressing each in an optimal way given the realities of their individual lives.

The major characters of the Eleusinian Mysteries—Demeter, Persephone, Zeus, and Dionysus—are personifications of archetypal energies that help us develop healthy egos and caring hearts, become guided by our souls, and experience joy. Each of these mythological characters comes from some kind of dysfunctional family, and their childhood experiences give rise to coping narratives they initially live out. Yet each of these scripts is inadequate to face the painful challenges they face. It is only when a shift in their inner narratives occurs that a satisfactory resolution is achieved. Each of them ends up happy, and community is restored.

In this way, each character’s story demonstrates an archetypal process, available to us today, of utilizing narrative intelligence to transform our lives through shifting our stories. The workshop builds narrative intelligence capacities through storytelling, presentations on the archetypes, guided self-reflection, small and large group sharing, and an ongoing consideration of narrative intelligence as an important capacity for thriving in today’s world.