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EPISODE 215 – POISON: Toxic or Transformative?

EPISODE 215 – POISON: Toxic or Transformative?

Pharmakon, the ancient Greek word for drug, can mean both “remedy” and “poison.” There is a close connection between poison and cure. Poison is stealthy, and takes us by surprise, whether through an unseen snake’s venomous bite or a ripe apple’s alluring disguise. Psychological poison glides past our defenses, pervades our being, and wounds us where we are most vulnerable. We participate in our poisoning through our own unknowing, from toxic cognitions and rigid fixations to self-doubt and self-sabotage. Poison can transform us by stinging us into building the immunity of increased consciousness and insight. Reason and objectivity can act as antidotes, allowing old attitudes to dissolve and new awareness to arise. Whether a poison is injected or ingested, we can use it for cure.

EPISODE 214 – HOMESICKNESS: Longing & Belonging

EPISODE 214 – HOMESICKNESS: Longing & Belonging

Homesickness asks that we bear leave-taking and loneliness in service to belonging to a wider world, building new relationships, and the eventual realization that the soul’s true home is a transcendent source of personal being.

EPISODE 213 – VOCATION: Answering the Call

EPISODE 213 – VOCATION: Answering the Call

Vocation, once associated with serving God through service to others, is now most strongly associated with a career having personal worth. Vocation spans a range of needs and values:  commitment to making ends meet, striving for material rewards and social status, or the more internal satisfaction of research, helping others, and artistic expression. Freud considered love and work the cornerstones of our humanness, and Jung said, “In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.” A discernment process is essential to determining the difference between a true calling and ego ambitions, what we want versus what we can have, and distinguishing dream from dedication. Ultimately, however, vocation is a state of being—so perhaps we can invest the work we have with a sense of call.

Episode 210 – CAUSAL OR CREATIVE: Is History Destiny?

Episode 210 – CAUSAL OR CREATIVE: Is History Destiny?

The Roman god Janus had two faces. They looked in opposite directions, representing dualities, especially beginnings and endings, past and future. Psychotherapy often begins by facing the past and understanding its influence on the present. Belief in the past as unalterably determinative, however, can imply that personal history is a single, all-powerful god—as if Janus fixed on yesterday. Jung took special interest in psyche’s purposive and creative energy—the face Janus turned toward the future. Incarnating our innate potential, which Jung termed the individuation process, is the process of engaging our capacity for growth and wholeness. Life’s road ahead has new possibilities, which is why we launch the new year in honor of Janus, for it is he who presides over all new beginnings. 

EPISODE 209 – THE GETHSEMANE ENCOUNTER

EPISODE 209 – THE GETHSEMANE ENCOUNTER

The Garden of Gethsemane is the place of life crisis; it permits no escape or compromise. There, we suffer the agony of choosing between personal will or willing submission to something greater.

Episode 208 – MORAL INJURY: Violation of Meaning

Episode 208 – MORAL INJURY: Violation of Meaning

Moral injury violates our sense of justice, loyalty, and meaning—and creates a storm in the soul. Those who directly affect others’ lives are most at risk of suffering irreconcilable conflicts between behavior and belief: military, police, medical, educational, and other human service providers. The purported “cost of doing business” also calls us to confront institutional shadow–moral injury does not belong to the individual alone. The integrity of organizational and community values plays an important part in condoning morally distressing situations—and should play a role in healing the injured. Conflicts between actions and values are inevitable in life, and the core of being human is our unique capacity for choice. There is no way to escape shadow, and we are more than our mistakes. They are neither our totality nor our destiny.