Becoming Fully Human
Socrates’s “Know Thyself”
These are anchors of Integrity.
Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
Throw my journals in the lake!
Everybody brave enough tells me my handwriting is not as pretty as it should be for a girl. I say, so? I’ve got 26 journals.
It’s true, I have 26 journals written over 24 years. That’s enough I can’t hide them between the mattresses anymore. It’s also enough that I figure it’s too daunting for my family members to read, anyway. I did buy a big treasure chest to store them in. You might want to consider what you will eventually do with your journals as you fill them up and they won’t fit between the mattresses anymore.
To gain reward for journaling, you have to journal everyday for 24 years. (I lie. I had long stretches of journaling silence.) But keep this in mind. Many biographies have been written because descendants treasured their ancestors’ diaries. I think of Lord Byron who lived in the 1700s, and I just recently read his biography.
If I tell you it’s completely up to you what journaling tools you pick, this blog is over. So here is my experience. Mine and mine alone.
Tool #1: The Journal
If you’re new to journaling, go ahead, for inspiration, and buy a leather journal, a pretty journal, a journal with a lock. But be aware, if you intend to be prolific, you will probably settle on ruled composition notebooks. Ruled composition journals cost about $3. Pretty journals might start at $30. Ruled composition notebooks organize neatly in the treasure chest. Ornamental diaries are unruly.
Tool #2: The Pen
I do find the choice of pen to be important because you want to be comfortable while you’re writing.
WARNING: DO NOT USE PENCIL. I cry everytime I tell this story. Georgia Tuxbury who leads the Alamo Country Club’s “Telling Your Life Story” writing group, kept diaries as a teenager during WW II. Priceless, yes? I urged her to transcribe them. She said, “I would love to transcribe them, but I wrote them in pencil, they faded, and no one can read them anymore.”
Personally, I like Bic medium point pens the best. Fine point feels ‘scratchy.’ And I make more mistakes when writing with gel. I’ve tried expensive pens, thinking my words would come out more flowery, but often the body of the pen is too fat or too skinny for comfortable writing. So I’ve become habituated to cheap medium point Bic in packs of twelve. I say habituated because it’s like my writing mind clicks on when I pick up a Bic.
But the color is a thing to play with. When we took essay tests in anthropology classes, we had to use black ink only!!! I don’t know why the professors made such a big deal out of black ink only!!!, but it’s the reason my journals are written in blue ink during that time. However, when I want to pull off serious adult journaling, I do use black ink. Red ink? I don’t know why, but it shouts “nah” when I see it filling up one of my journals.
Tool #3: Your Handwriting 3 points.
Remember, the soul is the earthly up-welling of The Source. This implies we’re in the realm of Water. So, we might think of journaling as priming the pump between The Source and your soul.
I’m going to tell you this: your journaling tools will pick you. You may think you pick them, but when you look back, you will be surprised that the soul was active all along. So go ahead and Follow Your Heart when you’re selecting your tools of the Journaling trade. And I’ll love to know what you discover along the way.
(excerpted from The WASP and El Curandero)
“I prayed for a fight with the devil, once,” I tell Alberto with as much humility as I can muster.
“At the time I felt courageous and strong. Morally superior. Self-righteous.”
“I understand that.” Alberto sets the repaired cross on the arm of his white, homemade, wooden throne. It’s obvious he doesn’t think that praying for a fight with the devil is so unusual. “And what happened?” he asks.
“Nothing. Well…” I hesitate because I’m embarrassed. “I was surprised the other women at the altar rail seemed horrified. I thought they would cheer for my heroism. And Father Bob asked God to grant me humility. Then he signed the cross on my forehead with his thumb like he was hitting a bull’s eye.”
As we walk back toward the house, I weigh the odds of Alberto understanding Jungian concepts about The Shadow. I decide it is worth a shot because it’s important information when defending my thesis, theoretically.
“I study Jung, Alberto. Jung was a psychoanalyst from Zurich who says that evil is not really evil, but those contents of the psyche which have to erupt, unbidden, into consciousness, because of too much pressure built up under psychological repressions. Jung symbolizes the repressions as “The Shadow.” In real life, the repressed feelings can come out distorted in the form of a neurosis, maybe even a psychosis. Ideally, if you can channel your emotions appropriately into the light of day, you can become fully human. Otherwise you might end up acting like a demon.” I listen carefully for Alberto’s response.
“Who is this Jung? What spirit does he channel?” he asks with what is apparently first time, lively interest. “He sounds very smart. Is he still alive?”
“No. He died in the 1960s. But I guess you could say he helped his patients channel their own spirits.”
Alberto stops under a mesquite tree and looks at me with inquisitive, long-lashed brown eyes. “You know, I think I could channel Jung’s spirit. What was his first name? Do you have any books with pictures of Jung?”
It would be a momentous occasion to see Alberto channel Carl Gustav Jung’s spirit. So I agree to bring him some books with pictures of Jung, just to see what he can do with it. Alberto continues walking and talking, with me behind him, trying to keep a straight face.
“Emotions are one thing, but The Devil is another.” Alberto swivels to put a hand on my back to catch me up with him. “Some ailments, like desesperación and angusto, can be healed with psychology—I do it all the time—but not demon possession. The Devil and his army of demons are real, whether you believe in him or not. He’s not a myth like Santa Claus. I know. I have fought the demons in person. Several times. I’m known as the Exorcist of Edinburg! Me, Alberto!” Alberto sticks out his chest.
Now tell me: who do you think has the most Integrity?
Fr. Bob for dousing my hubris?
Alberto for exorcising demons?
Me, for pushing Jung on the Exorcist?
It depends on the situation. Alberto probably has more integrity in the consultorio than at my kitchen table. I probably have more integrity in church with Fr. Bob than in Espinazo with the el viejos. Because we usually know ourselves best in our own world. The more integrity we have, the less surprises.
But, bottom line: the one who knows himself the best is the one searching and integrating fragments of himself along the way, broadening his functional integrity with the ultimate result he is comfortable in any situation.
You understand, this all happens above the rim? Tools are called for.
The study of religion is engaging, and studying the “Christ” figure of Fidencismo even more so, for, although bifurcated off Catholocism, Fidencismo is a nascent religion in process.
The dissemination of “Nino’s gospel” (my thesis), earned me respect, for there were those who doubted a middle aged, non-Spanish speaking, WASP woman could pull off such indigenous Mexican research. I didn’t tell anybody that my tireless dedication was because I suffered from secret Deseo under the spell of one of Fidencismo’s priests. That would be Alberto Salinas, the curandero. He didn’t mind a bit translating for me.
Just call me Luke(a) when I blog José Fidencio de Jesús Sintora Constantino (1898-1938), his photographs, and the Fiesta rituals that are more eye-popping than Sunday services in a Protestant church.
Have you departed through your mists back to your Island? I didn’t ask you if the Princesses lived there with you, but I get a feeling you’re all alone. I know I should ask permission to use your Internet words (do they at least have Internet on your island?), but I have attributed them to you, see? And I don’t know if I’ll ever hear your writing again. You left me with the vision of “grains of golden sand sifting through your fingers to the deep. While you weep. (Poe)
Your self-image of tragic despair and your defensive archaic manipulations must crack up and flake off like your proverbial eggshell. I know you are pure light inside.
You are a tricky magician. (Aren’t all magicians?) I love to be magically manipulated (doesn’t everyone?) But it’s your turn. You should enjoy the delight, also. But I think maybe you are too attached to your tragic image. Not once did your words sound like laughter.
You will not escape the literary world if I can help it. I’m going to talk to you here–I’m sure you’ll hear it there for water carries sound–and at the same time take care of my blog that nobody reads hahaha. I think this will be a reverse transcendence, for you need to come back to earth and find a different launching pad.
It’s okay, your feelings are safe with me. I tend to trudge the straight and narrow. (There are those who would laugh I said that.) Maybe I’ll gather a few obscure stories from you for my grandchildren? They should be so lucky.
You have lived as a leather eggshell for so long, it won’t take much for you to find your solutio. Life may be your solutio!
I need to tell you, I changed my mind about my wish. I desire to integrate compassion, not power. I leave the power in your hands, individuated power of integrity, wielded with wise authority. Albedo? You’re incubating. Oh! and it’s your novel that will hatch!
And! Since you’re The Magician, you can call upon the powers-that-be to influence the literary agents to actually open, and even read, your query letter. I’m so delighted! Can you tell?
From one who has been magically manipulated,
P.S. Here’s one for the grandkids. This is how you opened our conversation. But I have to cite Fowles.
It’s all about the story. We both know that.
You might enjoy this:
The Prince and the Magician ~Reprinted from The Magus, by John Fowles
Once upon a time there was a young prince, who believed in all things but three. He did not believe in princesses, he did not believe in islands, and he did not believe in God. His father, the king, told him that such things did not exist. As there were no princesses or islands in his father’s domains, and no sign of God, the young man believed his father.
But then, one day, the prince ran away from his palace. He came to the next land. There, to his astonishment, from every coast he saw islands, and on these islands, strange and troubling creatures whom he dared not name. As he was searching for a boat, a man in full evening dress approached him along the shore.
“Are those real islands?” asked the young prince.
“Of course they are real islands,” said the man in evening dress.
“And those strange and troubling creatures?”
“They are all genuine and authentic princesses.”
“Then God also must exist!” cried the prince.
“I am God,” replied the man in full evening dress, with a bow.
The young prince returned home as quickly as he could.
“So you are back,” said his father, the king.
“I have seen islands, I have seen princesses, I have seen God,” said the prince reproachfully.
The king was unmoved.
“Neither real islands, nor real princesses, nor a real God, exist.”
“I saw them!”
“Tell me how God was dressed.”
“God was in full evening dress.”
“Were the sleeves of his coat rolled back?”
The prince remembered that they had been. The king smiled.
“That is the uniform of a magician. You have been deceived.”
At this, the prince returned to the next land, and went to the same shore, where once again he came upon the man in full evening dress.
“My father the king has told me who you are,” said the young prince indignantly.
“You deceived me last time, but not again. Now I know that those are not real islands and real princesses, because you are a magician.”
The man on the shore smiled.
“It is you who are deceived, my boy. In your father’s kingdom there are many islands and many princesses. But you are under your father’s spell, so you cannot see them.”
The prince returned pensively home. When he saw his father, he looked him in the eyes.
“Father, is it true that you are not a real king, but only a magician?”
The king smiled, and rolled back his sleeves.
“Yes, my son, I am only a magician.”
“Then the man on the shore was God.”
“The man on the shore was another magician.”
“I must know the real truth, the truth beyond magic.”
“There is no truth beyond magic,” said the king.
The prince was full of sadness.
He said, “I will kill myself.”
The king by magic caused death to appear. Death stood in the door and beckoned to the prince. The prince shuddered. He remembered the beautiful but unreal islands and the unreal but beautiful princesses.
“Very well,” he said. “I can bear it.”
“You see, my son,” said the king, “you too now begin to be a magician.”
Take the test
I thought this illustration was interesting, but I should introduce it with the note that an Introvert site presented it.
Jung developed the theory of introvert and extrovert as personality traits, and then expanded his insights into “personality typology.” This typology considers:
extrovert vs. introvert
sensing vs. intuition
thinking vs. feeling
judging vs. perceiving
The practical result for today is the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator which is used by many businesses and organizations for pre-employment screening, leadership development, team building, and career counseling. Oh! And marriage compatability!
There are several sites on which you can take different renditions of the Meyers Briggs. And there are also many books you can read for more information. Many books.
Jung devoted one volume of his Collected Works to Personality Types. Personality Types Vol. 6
Don’t let the Latin name frighten you, though it is, happily, a little mysterious. Journaling is a template that can bring up buried, or forgotten thoughts, thus lightening the load for transcendence above the rim.
By putting fingers to pen to paper, you prepare the conditions for coaxing consciousness out of the numinous. Numinous what, you ask? I’m not sure, but it’s like fishing in the dark–something mysterious is taking the bait.
But you can’t think about it or you’ll scare it away with the brightness of your mind.
“Trying to unweave, unwind, unravel
and piece together
the past and the future,
Between midnight and dawn,
when the past is all deception,
The future futureless,
before the morning watch
When time stops
and time is never ending.”
T.S. Eliot, ‘The Dry Salvages’
Let me say one thing first: If you are younger than midlife, and you’re reading this, I warned you! You must first ground yourself with firm feet, and devote yourself completely to life so that you are a vitally living member of society. You must situate and strengthen your ego in the outer world, before you take on the tugs of the second half of life when your soul will grow legitimately curious about the other worlds hidden within. If you find it almost impossible to do this, you might check out a recovery program.
Let me say another thing second: If you’re happy in your fishbowl, you do not have to leave it. You do not have to quite your job, leave your spouse, or drown the kids. Anyway the kids already live in your fishbowl. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
But, some say Individuation is a calling.
Now for the story…
…Once upon a time, there was a little fishy who was born and raised in a (name your own fishbowl). He learned his lessons, and his manners, and did everything the grownups told him to do, for he was a good little fishy and he wanted to remain in the fishbowl–not go to hell. When he was thus prepared he was ready to step out of his fishbowl castle home. He went to college, got a job, got married, bought his own castle home, and had kids. He worked very hard, for he was a (name your brand) fish now. And (name your brand) fishes’ lives require the exact accoutrements to decorate the house, the wife, and the kids.
Then the day came when being successful didn’t consider into the fact the 1-ton weights on his feet made it difficult to step into the circuit of his normal routine. He felt stuck in his job, stuck in his marriage, and stuck with responsibility for everybody. He felt like he was stuck in hell.
“How can this be? I’ve lived my life so perfectly,” he puzzled.
Here’s the deal: His entire life has been prearranged by prescriptions and proscriptions.
Anthropologists focus on one particular definition of prescription, in opposition to proscription. Behaviors prescribed by a society are expected to be enacted; proscribed behaviors must be avoided.
He started drinking too much. He became distant, disinterested, and disintegrated. He started wailing inside his head while trying desperately to walk the straight and narrow of pre- and pro-scriptions with the 1-ton weights on his inebriated feet: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “Where am I going?”
“What is the meaning of life?” Here we have a good example of mid-life crisis.
This is where the story starts getting good.
I’m not sharing this post to any social media. I’m just getting frustration off my chest. Next year, I won’t joke about being a Techie because I will really be one.
I was so surprised to be a Techie after making my website, I decided to ride the crest of success and launch a marketing blitz on all social media.
This is a usage report.
Not one “follow” in 7 days.
**My Facebook friends: no “follows,” but thoughtful advice: instead of using, for my website, my yellow cartoon WASP logo, I should use the same fb profile picture of me and my grandchildren. I do love to show off my grandchildren, but I paid $40 for the right to use that cute cartoon WASP logo.
**One of my subreddits said the WASP idea was aggressive. And that’s before I even knew what an OP is. During the 4-person in-depth discussion that followed, I almost decided to delete the website. No “follows,” but I did get 139 views on that thread. You can’t even get “follows” on Reddit–only up-votes. <a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/katherinethewasp/
**My other subreddit removed my only post, which was a picture of a real handwritten journal page. It’s against their rules to post real handwritten journal pages. You might need to know that. When you’re new to Redddit it’s embarrassing to get a “you broke the rules like a 5-year old” message.
**My tweeter friends. Well, I don’t have any. And Noreen and I are trying to learn to tweet in time to get in on the Twitter @pitmad (pitch your book to agents day) @kaybrittain
**LinkedIn: Contacts haven’t said much. They all speak Italian, Turkish, or Spanish. They were my suppliers of marble from when I owned a construction stone import company. So these transAtlantic businessmen who don’t speak English are at least 7 year old contacts. I was wishing they might enjoy looking at the pictures of my blog as they go by on the feed. Linkedin
**Skype: I upgraded and lost all my contacts (they were all transAtlantic, so no big deal). Remind me to take Skype off my automatic share menu. Also remind me how to do that.
**And on Google +. I hope you can find me because no way can I find you. I subscribed to so many collections and communities (I have varied interests) that I have shut the door on the bulging feed, and dare not open it again. It’s a little more calm in here:
Google+/Community/Journaling for Numinosity
I’ll make another report next year.
A process of psychological differentiation, having for its goal the development of the individual personality. No one is ever completely individuated. While the goal is wholeness and a healthy working relationship with the self, the true value of individuation lies in what happens along the way.
-Daryl Sharp (1991). C.G. Jung Lexicon. Inner City Books.
We might want to say individuation is transformation, but transformation acts upon the material things in the world. We might want to say individuation is spiritualization, but that takes you straight across the border of the earthly realm into a strange land, albeit a land where divinity is waiting to be discovered. What Individuation is, is the creation of consciousness by continuously integrating unconscious contents, both personal and collective into our human reality.
How does it happen? You can intuit when you’ve snagged something while using the tools of cultural anthropology, journaling, and Jungian theory. It’s an “aha” moment, a glowing knowing, a realization–bringing the numinous into reality.