Freedom’s Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose

“Picasso said, “I don’t develop; I am.” And the puzzle in therapy is not how did I get this way, but what does my angel want with me?” James Hillman

Although continuing to meditate, I stopped attending Ananda after a brief conversation with one of their ministers. I asked him how he would know when he had reached the coveted state of self-realization. There was no answer to this that satisfied me. I think the Ananda devotees enjoy a lifestyle with like-minded friends and family and I do not begrudge them that, but for myself, there was something calling me away from them. I wanted words for, and some place to be with, the all consuming swell of emotions, and I needed someone to guide me through the dark place I now found myself in.

After years of somewhat smugly and very much intellectually carousing with the  ideas of Jung and Hillman, I called an Analyst and started going to therapy. It was hard to trust enough to get myself to take this step. My past experiences with therapists was filled with disappointments ranging from a marriage counselor that brought my parents struggling marriage to its final collapse in a very cruel and deceptive way, to a therapist that I saw a few times in my teens that was more interested in watching me walk across his office than listening to anything I had to say.

As much as I wanted desperately to open up to someone, I did not easily trust that anyone could possibly be motivated to guide me by anything more than their own selfish motives, whatever they might be. I feared that their motives would take me off the path I felt called to stay on.

When I first talked with Jim, the therapist, I hoped he would give me a clear sense of how his version of therapy works, what our work together would be like, and most importantly, a sense that he will not waste my time.

Seems simple now, but it took months to get over the first few hurdles and to settle into a place of trust with Jim. Then came the dreams. Although I have always had easy access to my dreams, the more time I spent talking with Jim, recounting everything from the day to day of living, to bits and pieces of the past, my dreams kicked into high gear. So, without really knowing what would become of it, I started to keep a dream diary. Useful…

Therapy with Jim was nothing like I thought it would be. It was work to attend to the day to day and to bring it all into the place of therapy where we would sort, sift and weave together the pieces of my past that were bleeding into the present. Jim would question my assumptions and prod me to more clearly articulate what was happening in my relationships and how I psychically digested the world.

After some time I reached a critical point, both inside and out. I desperately needed to find a strong voice to stand up to someone I worked with and yet was very much afraid to. Eventually I was able to see that my fear of confrontation in relationships with others was of my choosing; a way to protect myself  which placed a wall between me and the world. I began to feel a strong sense of self-betrayal. The anger was sometimes useful, but could still drive me back to feelings of hopelessness and just wanting to crawl in hole and die.

The moment I was able to see that the one thing I thought was useful (not stirring the pot), was the very same thing that kept me from being close, or even being in relationship to others (and in some ways even to myself as much as outside mirrors inside), was the moment a newfound sense of daring seemed to come to me.

As I practiced speaking more from the heart instead of safely trying to mirror others, a breakthrough happened. I began to experience a very freeing meta-sense of identity. News to me, I didn’t have to figure everyone out, least of all myself.

Now I was able to see both myself and others as unfathomable beings of complexity. Always a work in progress, we have ideas and fantasies about each other, some of which may have more to do with the powers that be, archetypal realities that have no beginning or end but are there none the less.

No need to harden anyone’s identity into a safe, secure and predictable statue. The identity I thought I was missing, was the identity I didn’t really need or want. The freedom in being is not to be compelled to know yourself or others with any hard and fast definitions, but to be okay with fluidity. Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose as far as identity is concerned.

Who we think people are is a mix of bits and pieces of perceptions, memories and influences that are not possible to be fully aware of and absolutely conclusive. The real you and me live in flux, and it might be convenient and yes, necessary to create and store files of information on ourselves and others, the files will always be subject to corruption and will remain terribly incomplete.

If we want our idea of who we are to equal who we are, we will suffer from a deficiency, a stagnation and failure of imagination, losing the ongoing flow of psychic existence or what Hillman calls our purpose in life; soul making.

Our imaginations create and sustain us, we are poetry in motion. We are meaning makers. That is not to say that there is no objective reality to who we are, but more that our access to that heavenly view is not for mortal consumption but perhaps for God and His angels only.

“If therapy imagines its task to be that of helping people cope (and not protest), to adapt (and not rebel), to normalize their oddity, and to accept themselves “and work within your situation; make it work for you” (rather than refuse the unacceptable), then therapy is collaborating with what the state wants: docile plebes. Coping simply equals compliance.” James Hillman

8 thoughts on “Freedom’s Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose

  1. Debra, you rock!!

    You talk about being under educated and having communication challenges, yet your writing seems effortless here and incredibly resonant. I guess I will have to embrace this paradox 🙂

    hugs, Linda


    1. Dear Linda,
      Wow, looks like you did a complete and thorough tour of my past posts!

      I did follow along and enjoyed your comments, especially about our similar tastes in music. I had forgotten some of those posts, and admittedly it seems like they were written ages ago, even if it was only a few years ago.

      I am honored that you would take the time and flattered that the writing is enjoyable.

      What a long, strange trip it’s been. 🙂

      In 2010, when I started the blog, I was hoping to retrace my journey into the Catholic church here, which Paul and I joined in 2005. Over the course of the last few years, we have both decided to move on from being “practicing catholics” to whatever it is we are now. 🙂

      At least there is a pattern in my life of not sticking to anything for too long. 🙂 Life’s too short and especially where religious beliefs are concerned, I always come back to the feeling, that underneath the terms and variations of practice and belief, there is a common thread and a common humanity that we all share.

      Thanks for reading here and for your kindness!



      1. At least there is a pattern in my life of not sticking to anything for too long.

        I am the same, think its a moon in Gemini trait! Astrology is among the few things in my life that have been a constant source of interest and commitment I also use song titles for blog posts, which may be why I am able to notice them in your blogs. You are a great writer and I hope you see that in yourself.

        xx Linda.


      2. I was wondering about the Gemini moon. At this point in my life I am at peace with all of the coming and going.

        And yes, I think we both share a similar love of carrying the music around with us, and being close enough in age to have the same musical references AND we were both exposed to similar music from parents.

        I always welcome your words of encouragement about my writing. It means a lot coming from you and other writers.

        My writing friendships here mean a lot to me. It’s a special kind of sharing that is not always available with family, people at work or friends that you get together to do things with.



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