Unique and Sorrow
My first week of trying to deepen my spiritual practice by using the cards I made during Lent has been a really interesting and surprising one, but I’m not quite sure how to try and summarise the week in this post.
I had pulled out the cards Unique and Sorrow and – to be honest – felt disappointed that they were so un-Eastery in theme and so strongly focused on my own personal challenges as a type 4 on the Enneagram; I had hoped to explore the themes in a more universal way, but have instead (as usual!) gone in a very self-focused direction. The week has been fascinating for me, but I feel in a bit of a dilemma about how much I share on here what has come up for me through it.
There are times when I find it very uncomfortable to have a blog: much of the time it is really exciting to be able to share ideas and feelings with other like-minded people, including those I haven’t met before, but at other times it can be terrifying as I never know who in my ‘real’ life might stumble across it. I worry about revealing things that are really personal, or that would seem odd to a colleague who’s not that interested in spirituality, or that might persuade a prospective employer that I am a bit of an odd-ball.
So today I am going to attempt the difficult task of trying to talk meaningfully about the last week, without going into any specifics that would make it awkward for me in the unlikely event that the ‘wrong’ people stumbled across this page. Apologies to all the people who actually do read this page and would have got more out of it if I’d been even more specific…!
Early on in the week I had a dream that I couldn’t remember in any detail, but as I lay in bed half awake afterwards I was left with the impression that it was about a person and situation from years ago which I had never fully dealt with at the time. Whilst still half asleep, I made the decision to do an active imagination dialogue with this person when I got up, aware that this situation had felt like a ‘unique sorrow’ for me in my life and that it was relevant to this project. I was lying there, trying to remember more of the dream, feeling a little frustrated that I couldn’t remember anything clearly, when my focus kept shifting to an image of a tiny baby octopus I had seen the day before on a Facebook video. I kept trying to focus on the dream and the aspects of the situation I wanted to focus on in the active imagination, but this image of the baby octopus kept flittering in and out.
When I sat down at my computer a little later to start the active imagination exercise, I was feeling a bit silly and uncomfortable. It no longer felt like a really good idea as I couldn’t see the point of trying to write an imaginary dialogue with a real person from my past, rather than the previous active imaginations I had done which focused on an aspect of my own shadow. It seemed so silly and pointless to just sit there and make up a conversation with someone when both sides were coming from my own head. The first few sentences of written dialogue felt awkward and ridiculous, and then suddenly the ‘other person’ in the dialogue made a comment which was a real ‘A-ha!’ moment for me. The comment they had made, and the image of the baby octopus from the video, came together in a way that made sudden and complete sense to me; it was like a penny had dropped somewhere deep inside me and I was able to view this ‘unique sorrow’ from a completely different angle. It was a really powerful and helpful experience which feels like it has shifted something inside me.
Sorry not to go into that in a deeper way, but it has really strengthened my resolve to carry on with active imagination exercises as they can be so incredibly powerful. If you haven’t tried them before, I really recommend reading the book Living your Unlived Life and giving it a go!
Sit and Fluid
The two cards I have randomly selected for this week are Sit and Fluid. Rather than guessing now how I am going to use these themes in the coming week, I am just going to see what happens. That sounds like a fluid way of approaching the week’s project!
Do leave a comment if you have any thoughts, and play along in the week if you’d like. I hope you all have a great week (and if some colleague or prospective employer has read this post, please believe that I am neither uniquely sorrowful nor uniquely weird…).