Loneliness is a deeply human and universal experience. Lisa, Joseph and Deb examine it from multiple perspectives: as it may be experienced in young adulthood versus older years; as reflective of the need for attachment and relational security; as comparable to the alchemical metaphors of calcinatio and solutio; as a call to activation in outer and inner worlds; and as a psychologically toxic phenomenon.
Here’s the dream we discuss:
I dreamt I was haphazardly packing up my family’s things after a stay at a friend’s house. In the bathroom I find I have my period and have bled through all my cloth pads. My underwear in soaked and bright red. I am overwhelmed by the color and amount of blood. Could I use their washing machine, I wonder? After some thought I decide to make a pad with toilet paper. Then I head upstairs looking for my husband and kids.
Going up I remember that we considered buying this house once but decided it was too big and needed too much work. It’s beautiful now. I go upstairs to the attic. There are deep rich rugs and walls in browns and reds, quiet tables and chairs. It feels good. High ceilings, 30 feet, but the space is still warm and encompassing. My family is here. I see the kids’ bunk bed to the left. In front of me is a huge window with a view of an enormous maple tree in full red color. It is astonishing, such beauty, leaves rustling. Talking with my husband I recall how when we last saw this place it was derelict, holes in the roof, floor boards missing, pipes exposed. A real mess. The transformation is incredible. I think of the work and expense it was to bring those windows up! I love this place.
To the left there is another huge window split in three sections and shows a long view across plains to distant mountains. We are shockingly high. The view is beautiful but suddenly I fee dizzy. I am afraid of heights and need to sit down. My son is fooling around near the windows. I tell myself he’s fine but I am still afraid. Are the windows sound? I tell myself he’ll be fine, my husband is with him, but can’t tolerate the feeling. I head for the stairs down.
Often I think i am incapable of feeling pleasure, in anything but nature. It seems to be bound up with lack of trust in my self and others.I’d be interested in hearing a conversation about pleasure and how it is received.
In clinical terms that experience is called ‘anhedonia’. I’m sorry you’re struggling with it. It’s a deep topic to explore and I appreciate your suggestion.
Warmly ~ Joseph
The Red Pill is tricky because many different ideological groups claim their version as the one true red pill. Each group has a mix of: change others/environment vs change self, descrimination vs self-hatred and objectivity vs subjectivity. What these groups have in common is the red pill as initiation. Joseph, if you make a Red Pill episode, I hope the actions of any specific microgroup doesn’t dominate the entire episode but instead an overview of the general macrocosm of what causes people to form various red pill groups.
Excellent clarification Stan! We should indeed create an episode on various paradigms of ‘awakening’ to a greater reality vs staying ‘asleep’ and drifting through life. Thanks for taking the time to share your insights. ~ Joseph
Great Episode, Thank you for sharing on the topic of loneliness during this difficult season!!
You are most welcome Alicia.
All agreed thus far but I’ve heard nothing yet about how to alleviate the feeling of alone-ness. Maybe it’s nearer the end. There has been quite a lot of mention of ‘in the consulting room’ and personally, I’ve tried to find a Jungian Analyst. But, there aren’t any in my neck of the woods. I know the answer is within me. I am not finding it, despite knowing the territory.(I have a background in Psychology). It’s different being on this side of the track.
Resolving chronic loneliness requires a substantial inner journey – finding the ‘inner companion’ is the goal. I’d suggest a starting point – reading ‘Becoming: An Introduction to Jung’s Concept of Individuation’, by Deldon McNeely. Please keep in touch and let me know how that unfolds for you.
I am depressed, my children are grown, I’m out of love. I have no friends I was brought up very strictly and never allowed to socialize. I met my best friend at 24 she died 17 years later of breast cancer. I bury myself in work but I had an accident at work and I’m home. I have no desire to do anything, my children have their own lives and no time for me. I feel I have no one. I’m an orphan. I’ve thought of ending my life, I feel there is no purpose to my life.
Oh Dina! Your pain and loss roll right off the page. It sounds like your soul is in a deep winter. Now is the time to dive deep into your soul: record every dream and seek out its meaning, focus on your feelings and draw the images that rise up, seek out the slumbering life deep in the earth of your psyche and blow your warm breath upon each rhizome you find. Tend them and be patient, they’re preparing for the spring. ~ Joseph
I listened to this podcast as it was a theme that I have been exploring in my own life presently. I listened to the dream at the end, and I had some thoughts about it.
I saw the blood, and the amount of it being overwhelming, as suggesting that her feeling was strong and was difficult for her to cope with. It was starting to seep out into her clothes/persona in such a way that she was mindful that she was going to suffer some embarrassment. She had a makeshift way of dealing with the problem with the pad. I was interested in how this seemed similar to the haphazard way of packing her things. Her ego doesn’t seem to have a very directed way of attending to things.
She is also still in another persons home. Somewhere she is not quite comfortable with. However, it is not hostile, but a friends house. The home of a positive shadow. There she wonders whether she will be able to use the washing machine. Whether she can access some shadow energy to clean up the evidence of her feeling which has soiled her persona.
I agreed with the assessment of the smaller and dilapidated home in the past reflecting some trauma and a suffering psyche. She now finds that it has been transformed, and time and energy has clearly gone into making this a more hospitable home. It is not yet her home though.
She rises up the stairs to the attic. Does she not climb up to spirituality? It is not down, but up she goes. It is here she finds animus figures.
She attends the window. The tree is red. Again the color of feeling: but also the color of autumn and symbolic of the turn to later stage of life. I note that she is, despite us all living much longer these days, entering into middle age. I saw the tree also symbolizing individuation, and the stage she was at in her transitioning through life. When she gets up high into the the realms of the spirit she has a vantage point in which she is able to see her individuation and where it is at.
Windows are objects which are capable of being seen through: but they are also a place of separation from outside and in. Inside this new, roomy, warm, house she has the ability to look out to the unconscious and see the majesty of it. But it is also frightening. It is a warning to her ego about being up too high, with her ascent into the spirit. She has anxiety about being up so high. Perhaps rightly so.
I agree that the two males are animus figures. The older one her husband, one that she was familiar with and having had a longer standing relationship. He is also the animus figure that she has both struggled with in the past, as in relationship to him she had not been able to put in the time and effort to obtain this house, and to renovate it. She is ambivalent still in her relationship to him that she still doesn’t quite trust him with the child.
She fears for the child at the window. Her new animus energy, youthful and not completely to be trusted. He might fall through this place into the unconscious, at the point of the window and be lost. Again, the window being a place which can separate outside and in. The younger animus energy hovers around this point. Not yet fully living in the house but only being found at the highest point of the house and at a point of where the outside meets the in. Up in the realm of the spirit not quite integrated within the house.
She does not yet feel fully comfortable in the realm of the spirit. She has to descend out of anxiety. She also has not yet taken full responsibility toward her new animus energy: she fears what will occur to him at the window but does not take steps to assuage her concern over the son. Again, I go back to the beginning of the dream where her ego doesn’t always seem directed.
Should it all be indicative of her new option to regain her creative life, and how this has been challenged by her role as a mother then she will likely find some wonderful new vistas to inspire her up in the attic of the house. But she should also take notice of the fact that if she is to go up there she will have to address the danger that this might present to her children, or the animus energy that she is not quite in solid relationship to when she gets up there.
Admiring the dedication you put into your website and detailed information you offer. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Fantastic read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.
I can’t see the comments here for some reason. I just discovered your podcast. Loneliness is a topic close to my heart. You described it as a first half of life task. But i am 54, long divorced from an abusive marriage, seemingly unable to find friends or love despite my best efforts. I appreciated your discussion of the telos of loneliness but sometimes feel like it’s hopeless, that i am not equipped for relationship or that i am cursed. Thanks for your podcast.
Aloneness is an opportunity for the Soul to occupy ones life, to blossom in the spaces once occupied by outward busyness. Loneliness is a longing that carries us into relationship with life in all its forms. The searing question is, what is blocking your path into life? The answer initially and always feels worse than the loneliness but once accepted becomes the key to leave the prison.