Friday, April 06, 2012


Wow, it's been a month or longer since I've posted. March has been characterized by unusually warm weather, illness, and general insanity. I don't mind the occasional illness, I just mind a whole string of things that have no reasonable explanation, and should. I suppose I should be grateful that I'm not dead yet. But some days were pretty bad. In any event, I am starting to feel like a human again, and should play catch-up with those of you who read faithfully (or not).

We left off at the end of February, when I visited the Jung Institute about becoming an analyst. I've decided to start more traditionally because a. I can't become an analyst without having done supervised counseling, and b. it's what I can afford (free at my place of work). Nonetheless, it was an interesting evening. I had a train ride home where I got to hear the voice of a man who sounded like a cross between Animal from the Muppets and Fat Albert. I should have made a wish, or something. That doesn't happen every day, and may never happen again.

In the middle of March, I attended the Mid-Atlantic/New England Regional American Academy of Religion conference, and presented a paper on afterlife mythologies and religious conflict for the Psychology of Religion section. It was pretty well received, and I'm now looking to turn the idea into a book. Usually I do a full write-up on each session, but I will pass this year. I heard some interesting arguments for the existence of God, a discussion by my favorite professor (and now colleague) Stephen Johnson about Richard Niebuhr's theology, and a summary of a working group on pluralistic religious teaching, which was quite interesting. Much of that takes place from a Christian perspective looking at "other" religions, and this is problematic. I started to listen to a paper discussing Calvin's view that "God" and the "human soul" as separate substances actually glorified the human soul, but I ended up leaving early. I can't warm up to Calvin. (The theologian, not the cartoon character) and I think the notion that the soul is separate from God is BS, with no offense to the woman giving the paper. The other papers in my section were on the psychology of early Korean Christian converts, and secular ideas of attaining happiness, both of which were fascinating. I may write on the latter at some point. I met some great new people, and some old classmates from seminary, which was a surprise and a delight. One friend was a minister who I had 3 classes with in graduate school--I didn't recognize him at first, but I was very happy to see him once I remembered. We had some great class discussions.

Last month was Fred Rogers's birthday. Well, it would have been if he was alive, anyway. I have started doing some sketching, and while I was sketching one day, I listened to this clip of Mr. Rogers getting a lifetime achievement award at the Emmy's. It always makes me cry. It's weird, because I had mixed feelings about Mr. Rogers growing up. I kind of liked the parts of his show where he took you to see how crayons were made or something like that, but that "Land of Make Believe" always creeped me out. On the whole, he was obviously a good guy trying to do a good thing for children, and was very humble. Now that I am more involved with the study of psychology, what he was doing makes more sense to me. But as a kid, he seemed kind of nerdy and goofy. Of course, I'm pretty nerdy now, so I'm not one to talk.

I wish I could say I've made huge progress on my stories or academic writing, but this month has really been rather blah. We are opening a pharmacy school where I work, and we're acquiring these standard 4,000 page manuals that doctors use for our library collection. I found myself paging through them, looking to diagnose myself, as it's cheaper than going to the doctor. I think I did figure out what my problem is, not that it's all that easy to solve. In short, I don't think I'm managing stress as well as I'd like to believe.

I've had two whole months now of not being in love with anyone, and grieving my last loss, if you can call it that. I came to the realization that the reason we fall in and out of love is because we project our Anima/Animus image onto someone, and naturally they can never live up to that actual image--they resemble it, but they're not it. I also realized that marriages fail because when we get married, our spouse is no longer the Anima/Animus, but rather the Mother/Father. The archetype suddenly shifts, and now your partner looks like someone you've never met. They don't properly "fit" your parental image, and you resent them for it. This is why people can live together for a long time, but if they get married, everything suddenly changes. The only answer is to integrate those images, and not let them take over--we become "possessed" by them, as Jung indicates in this clip.

And true to form--I was thinking about relationships the other day, around the same time I was looking for some empty journals on my bookshelves. (I acquire lots of blank writing journals). I found one that had diary entries from the month just before I got married. It was very sad to read, and once again reminded me why I prefer to be alone and not to settle for something that isn't right. The universe has a habit of reminding me of this whenever I'm melancholy.

I started April by seeing Wild Flag. I wrote about them last April, when I saw them opening at Radio City for another band. They were as spectacular as ever--I just wish I could have stayed for the whole gig. It was a miserable night in New York, and I wasn't feeling that great. I knew I couldn't catch a train later than the 11:11, so I cut out early. I did see my friends Richard and Ray, which was awesome. I also discovered that McSorley's gives you doubles of their ale for only $5. And I'm still looking forward to Ray's photos. I was in the back for the show, but had a good view of the band. Seeing Carrie Brownstein always makes me happy. I have to say, I like them much better live than on record--their album didn't really grab me, not that I think it's bad. But I may be unfairly comparing them to Sleater Kinney in my mind. The L.A. Times had a review of an earlier show, before their album came out. They mentioned that neither Mary Timony nor Carrie Brownstein had quite the vocal range of Corin Tucker, which is a fact. That might be the difference, but I'm not sure. They're a great live band, and absolutely worth seeing. I always go home inspired.

Next week I head to New Orleans, for a much needed vacation. I've not been there, so in true Brigid's Blog fashion, I'm sure I will provide a travelogue when I get home. I am not bringing a computer to the Big Easy. But I am bringing a camera, and need to update my Flickr subscription. I hope to visit a few haunted sites and cemeteries. And the Old Absinthe Bar.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for obeying Socrates' observation that "the unexamined life is not worth living." I go with the the thought that the closest we get to having free will (maugre Calvin) is to understand the forces that shape our behavior. Onward!

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