Welcome to this end of 2018 newsletter.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we would all greet the new year by visualizing how we want our own lives to be in the context of also wanting the best for others—those around us and around the world—and then move into realizing these dreams? So, why don’t we start now?
I love the way the various celebrations—Hanukkah, Christmas, the Solstice—that include lights as symbols of hope, faith, love, and spirit prepare us for the sense of new beginnings as we move into a new year. It strikes me that the earth was the original text to guide human learning, way before we had written texts. The Solstice is a concrete reminder that even on the darkest day of the year, the light is being born anew. This is true of our physical reality and also of our psychological and spiritual realities.
I’ve never, though, been much for New Year’s Resolutions, as I have enough Revolutionary archetype that I would rebel even against implied rules I put in place myself. Instead, my friend JoAn and I have, for decades, taken time to clarify our intent for the year by visualizing how we want it to be and how we want to be in it. Then we do identify some goals, but in a no-blame way. At the end of the year, we review them. If we have not met them, we either put them on the list for the next year, or realize that we did not want them enough to do what they would require.
Ultimately, success in feeling as we want to feel depends on the quality of consciousness we have achieved. When my friend Pat moved into a very lovely active retirement community, I asked her how she thought it would be there. She answered: “I don’t know, but I do know that how it will be depends on me. The hero’s journey is never over.”
Since we cannot always control what happens, it can be smart to start with a sense of how we want to feel and to imagine the sensations we would have in our body, the emotions we would experience, and the thoughts going through our heads. Then, to stimulate the imagination, we could start daydreaming about how our lives would be, allowing us to tell ourselves many stories about how to achieve it, so that if one path is blocked to us, we do not have to grumble or despair but merely move on to others until we get to feeling the way we want to feel more and more of the time.
Former Dreams Being Realized
Over the past quarter, I’ve been realizing many prior visions. David and I had recognized that we could retire, but still were working as hard as ever. So, this fall, we spent some time in Colorado and then took a cruise with his men’s group and their wives. Since the revised Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator (PMAI) I’ve been working so hard and long on is in the home stretch, I got to teach an online course for the Houston Jung Center using this revision and helping those in the class to understand their scores and apply what they learned to being more fulfilled and successful.
At the same time, I’ve been working with the publisher (the Center for Applications of Psychological Type, CAPT) on reviewing the results of a large prototype test of the instrument with various populations, and using what we have learned to finalize the text on two different report forms—one basic and the other more advanced. The CAPT marketing staff has been designing a logo, considering a tag line, and clarifying a marketing approach designed to reach those who might benefit most from the instrument and supporting materials.
However, making one’s dreams come true often comes with a required sacrifice. Otherwise, I/we just keep adding on more until we are overwhelmed with so much going on. After following the news about Facebook and the national concern about the impact of social media on consciousness, I’ve cut back on posting and tweeting for my good and that of others. Also, I’m trying to spend less time anxiously checking my news feed to see what horrible thing has happened next in the U.S. or the larger world. To support this goal, I’m working to shift the stories I tell myself that feed fear and worry by quickly telling myself a different one and by committing to making my life a part of our collective answer. The results of the midterm elections also helped, as they were reassuring that checks and balances were being restored in my country.
A year or so ago, I wrote several hundred pages about archetypes alive in the U.S. and how we might heal the political divide. I recently condensed this manuscript into a very short brief, with a focus on our current political situation and how we can recover from it, as well as another that explores branding challenges facing the Democratic Party. I find that even conceptualizing an answer calms me. I believe that others will find what I’m saying useful, build on it, and perhaps our political parties will be inspired to shift their focus from their fight with each other to realizing this country’s potential as understood through their two complementary archetypal lenses. I’m now thinking about how to get it to those who might find it helpful.
I’ve just finished teaching the online course through the Houston Jung Center entitled “What Stories are Living You? Archetypal Awareness, Growth, and Fulfillment.” The course had 24 students—eight from Houston and another 16 from around the world. It was a dynamic, diverse, accomplished group, and their engagement led to many rich exchanges. The students took the revised Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator (PMAI), which will be available to the general public next spring, and received a report along with their scores that they could check against their knowledge of themselves. The process is designed to allow those who take the PMAI to make the final decision about what is true for them, and not give their power away to an instrument. Following is the outline for the course, in case you are interested in how it was structured:
Class Focus: Introductions and overview of archetypal and narrative theory and benefits.
Your Preparation: (1) Clarify your vision for what you intend (or hope) to gain from taking this class. A way to start is with any of these prompts: I know, I see, I feel, I can, I do, I have, and so on. You will have two minutes to introduce yourself, with your name and your vision. You can say it or enact it. (2) Go to the PMAI link and either take it or identify any questions that you have about it.
Class Focus: The 12 heroic archetype system and the archetypes that energize you and help you act in ways that are authentic to you and ideally reflect the will of your soul.
Your Preparation:(1) Take the PMAI and read the report sent to you through the discussion of your highest scores, including the descriptions of these archetypes. (2) Put stars by elements of the descriptions that are right on for you and cross out anything that is not like you at all. Remember that these are generic descriptions, and your expression of these archetypes will be specific to you and your individuality.
Class Focus: Exploring your most active archetypes as allies and your partnership with them.
Your Preparation: (1) Determine whether your highest scoring archetypes are truly those most active in you now. (The scores are based on how you rated the items at the time you took the instrument.) Clarify for yourself what you see as your three or four most active ones. (2) Notice how you feel and what you do when you are living their stories.
Class Focus: Clarifying archetypal capabilities that provide you with situational and cultural flexibility and expand your worldview as well as those available to you when you need them.
Your Preparation: (1) Read the section of your PMAI report on your treasure chest of midrange scoring archetypes, read their descriptions, and reflect on the abilities they foster. (2) Consider what situations are easy for you to handle, utilizing archetypal narratives and strategies beyond those that are most natural to you. (3) Notice also any recurring dreams that have images and a narrative pattern that either reflect one or more of these archetypes or reflect their lack.
Class Focus: Recognizing archetypes that are semi-conscious or unconscious in your psyche to protect against your being blindsided by what you do not see and to help you become more whole through shadow work. As this is the final class, we will also spend some time integrating the big picture flow of archetypes in your psyche as it relates to achieving the vision you articulated in the first class or that has emerged during it.
Your Preparation: (1) Read the section of the report that explores your lowest score, checking back on the archetypal chart to see if there are any others that score similarly. (2) Think about any situations that are very difficult for you, people that you either judge harshly or where you cannot even figure out how they could be the way they are. These could be those you know or public figures that get under your skin. (3) Notice any recurring dreams you currently have or have had that contain images and actions that reflect these archetypes or their absence.
The PMAI is now being used as part of a Social Impact Storytelling Certificate offered by Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies, an online program that teaches students how to apply the power of storytelling to bring about change and accomplish goals. The program is broken into six segments of two or three weeks each. The final segment, “Becoming a Story Changemaker,” requires students to complete the PMAI and then post a video on a discussion board in reaction to their assessment. A “voice thread” allows them to reply to a professor’s inquiries or another student’s comments by video message.
As part of this segment, the students also watch a lengthly interview with me about the PMAI and its applications conducted by John D. Trybus, the managing director and an adjunct professor at Georgetown’s Center for Social Impact Communication, which developed the curriculum for the program.
The first offering of the certificate program drew such a strong response that those admitted—mainly from major social impact organizations—were split into two cohorts. The program will be offered again beginning in March.
My colleague Dori Koehler is a fanatical follower of the Starz series Outlander, which is not surprising given the show’s mythic qualities and, as she puts it in a recent guest blog on my blogsite, “its empowered portrayal of female sexuality and… the way it takes on issues of gender, power, committed romantic partnership, and sexual violation.” Her blog, “Eleusis in Scotland? Persephone Rises in Outlander,” examines the arc of Outlander’s plot through the lens of the story of Demeter and Persephone, which culminated in the founding of the Eleusinian Mysteries, an initiation ritual begun in ancient Greece that lasted for more than a thousand years.
Dori draws on my most recent book, Persephone Rising: Awakening the Heroine Within, to explore the symbolic connections between the Eleusinian myth and Outlander. “Perhaps most central to this series,” she argues, “is the relationship between Eros (desire, life, or Persephone) and Thanatos (death, transformation, or Hades). Eleusis’ resonance in Outlander is present through a series of descents and ascents in and out of the underworld. Each time Persephone symbolically returns to the land of the living, her rebirth brings a deeper level of intimacy and a stronger presence of joy.”
I will be posting a new blog of my own sometime in the next couple of weeks. I welcome and encourage your comments on any of the blogs posted on my blogsite, several of which have inspired a rich exchange of ideas. Also, if you have an idea for a blog that you might like to submit, please send me an email with a brief summary and I will let you know whether it is suitable for my website and, if so, what guidelines you should follow in preparing it.
In addition to my blogsite, you can find many of my blogs on those of Psychology Today and the Depth Psychology Alliance, and you are invited to make comments on the former and on the latter if you are a member. The easiest way to learn when a new blog goes up on my website or any of the others on which I post is to follow me on Facebook at Carol S. Pearson, PhD and Twitter @carolspearson. Posts and tweets will inform you of the topic and how to access it. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram at carolspearsonphd. Just click on one of the buttons on the right to connect, and let me know what is going on with you.
As always, please feel free to forward this newsletter to others who might be interested.
Carol S. Pearson