Friday, January 31, 2014

Love this story from Jung about his talk with Pueblo Indians


An Indian explained Sun worship and how the ceremonial dances helped the entire world.

Jung:

I then realized on what the “dignity,” the tranquil composure of the individual Indian, was founded. It springs from his being a son of the sun; his life is cosmologically meaningful, for he helps the father and preserver of all life in his daily rise and descent. If we set against this our own self-justifications, the meaning of our own lives as it is formulated by our reason, we cannot help but see our poverty. Out of sheer envy we are obliged to smile at the Indians’ naiveté and to plume ourselves on our cleverness; for otherwise we would discover how impoverished and down at the heels we are. Knowledge does not enrich us; it removes us more and more from the mythic world in which we were once at home by right of birth.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Where do we find God?



Watched a wonderful Nova program on PBS last night.   Scientists explained how the great Gothic cathedrals were designed and built.
The program proved more than fascinating.  The scientists helped me understand the effect these massive, light-filled structures had on medieval townspeople.  Instead of the familiar dark, dank stone structure of the period, they entered a miraculous building designed to evoke awe (Jung’s “the numinous”).  From the celestially high walls, to the exquisite mosaic glass, to the intricate floor tiles and carved statues, the Gothic churches tried to create a “heaven on earth.” (Even modern visitors can’t help but be touched by these structures, labored over for decades by local artisans who poured their hearts and souls into each detail.  Did their religious belief compel such exquisite creations?) 

Watching the program, I envied those parishioners who could not help but be moved by the powerful ritual elements.  The attendee not only gazed in wonder but smelled the incense, tasted the Host, and listened to strange chants (the Latin Mass) and angelic choirs. 

Contemplating these gravity defying Gothic miracles, I felt the power and relevance of the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages.  But our world is so different and the church’s rituals are the same!  Is it surprising that so many of us remain unmoved by rituals that have not evolved? 

What do we have in our own age that brings forth the numinous?  What brings us to God?  Movies?  Sports?  The drive to consume and obtain more?   Joseph Campbell was right:  we are living today without a shared mythology or a culturally relevant vehicle for seeking God.  If we had a potent myth, what selfless work could we achieve for the “Glory of God?” 

© 2013 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved No more to read on this post. Even though Blogger says Read more!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Modern Day Alchemy

Lasagna cooking in oven.
The mystery of ingredients cooking into something new.
My soul too.











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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A online discussion/workshop on Edinger's Ego and Archetype-- Feb 2014

A fascinating book.  Here's info on the upcoming discussion group.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Lights

Struggling to untangle Christmas lights I am struck by the metaphor --my labor to untangle the family trauma.  Both seem impossible.   Sitting in the twisted mess I'm tempted to take the scissors and cut the lights off the garland.  Instead of this glacial, confusing unending task.  It is an uncanny symbol  for my holiday temptation -- to cut away the knots that squeeze out joy. 

But I don't want to be wasteful (or do something I'd regret) so I pull and turn and untangle.  I'm separating the garland from the lights, the only way to get to the root of the problem.  But finally, after much time, I come to a tangle too challenging.  I move the lights away and cut the garland.  Or so I think.  The cord was there and now the lights are unusable.  Is this happening with my family now too?  Are we too late to save?  Are there too many jumbled wounds? 

Despite my best intentions, the cord is cut.  Or perhaps the cord needs to be cut so I can get on with my life and the community I seek.  © 2013 all rights reserved.   No more to read on this post. Even though Blogger says Read more!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A trickster story from West Africa...




I love the possible lessons from this story.

On the first day of the week, the trickster God Eshu walked down a country road wearing a strange hat -- red on one side and  white on the other.  He walked between two friendly neighbors who were plowing their fields.   

At lunch the neighbors talked about the stranger who passed their farms. 

"What a fine white hat that man wore."

"White?  No my friend, the sun must have been in your eyes.  It was a brilliant red."

"Are you calling me a liar? It was white as the milk from my cows."

"Do you think I’m an idiot?  It was red as the blood I will draw from your nose!"

"White!"

"Red!"

"White!"

"Red!"

Their argument soon escalated into a vicious brawl.  The neighbors gathered to try to stop them but both men screamed, insisting each was right and the other wrong.

Finally, Eshu the trickster returned.  He chastised them and showed them his hat.  How sad to lose their friendship in defense of the color of a hat! 


© 2013 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved No more to read on this post. Even though Blogger says Read more!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

You are invited

Embodied Myth:  Exploring  “The Girl Without Hands” Experiential Workshop

Saturday, February 23
1-4 p.m. at the Burning Bush Gallery
216 North Main Street, Wheaton IL
630-668-3100


Embodied Myth is a group process that uses world literature to explore our inner landscape.  Through this process we gain a greater understanding of what is moving in us -- under the surface of life.   Using the myth as a tool, a guide, and a safe structure, we reconnect with unrecognized parts of ourselves.   We also encounter the healing wisdom hidden in myths and fairy tales.  This month’s story: “The Girl Without Hands” by the Brothers Grimm.
Using storytelling, meditation, role-playing, and discussion, we “enter” the story and explore its deepest meanings.   Within the storytelling circle, we encounter not only the ancient story, but our own inner hero, villain, and quest.  No experience is necessary.  Just bring your curiosity.  

Laura was a graduate student in clinical psychology but she eventually switched majors and earned her M.A in theatre.  She is an award winning playwright, theatre director, and teacher. 
$15 per person.  For more information or to register,
contact Tony Asta at tonyasta@ameritech.net or 708-705-8669.
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Event in Wheaton, IL. You're invited.

 
 
Saturday, November 3
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at the Burning Bush Gallery
 
 
Embodied Myth is a depth group process that uses world literature to explore our inner world and our connection to the world around us.Through Embodied Myth, we gain a greater understanding of what is moving in us--under the surface of life.   Using the myth as a tool, a guide, and a safe structure we reconnect with unrecognized parts of ourselves.   We also encounter the healing wisdom hidden in myths and fairytales.
 
            The German fairy tale The Three Languages explores the hero’s journey, our connection to animals, and our own instincts. Using storytelling, meditation, role-playing, and discussion, we enter the story on a deep and personal level, and at the same time realize our connection to another time and place. Come join us in a storytelling circle.  We’ll explore our own mythic journeys and meet archetypes within the story and within ourselves. 
 
            Laura Lewis-Barr is an award winning playwright, theatre director, and teacher. Before getting her MA in Drama, Laura pursued a Masters in Psychology. She was the Artistic Director/Professor of Theatre at Sauk Valley College in Dixon, and Artistic Director of Inspirare Theatre in Glen Ellyn.  During the day, Laura combines her love of theatre, psychology, and education in her work as a corporate trainer (training4breakthroughs.com).  
 
$10 per person, please register by October 27
 
For more information or to register,
contact Tony Asta at tonyasta@ameritech.net or 708-705-8669.
 
 
 
216 North Main Street, Wheaton IL
630-668-3100
 

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

The hardest part of having a vision is seeing what others don't see.

The film is almost complete!

The hardest part of having a vision is seeing what others don't see. Don't despair when they say it can't be done.  Work hard, wait, imagine.
© 2012 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved No more to read on this post. Even though Blogger says


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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Have you seen our movie clip yet?

Click link below to watch our clip.   Help spread the word, donate $1? We'd love your support!
Our movie dream



"Steve, Brian, and I, "on set."
 
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tweet to savor

Tweet from this morning

Been struggling w/ hurt/anger but ths morning, released.  Feeling love for all . Bliss! Compassion is it's own reward.  Answers 2 prayer. 

I'll try to remember this!  Compassion isn't just great for other people, it's a blissful state to live in.  A goal for life.

© 2011 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved No more to read on this post. Even though Blogger says Read more!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Embodied Myth: Exploring “The Three Languages”


Join us this Sunday at the Life Force Arts Center!    More info.

Embodied Myth:  Exploring “The Three Languages”
Embodied Myth is a depth group process that uses the great body of world literature to gain a better understanding of ourselves and our connection to the world around us.  Through Embodied Myth, we gain a greater understanding of what is going on under the surface of life, using the myth as a tool, a guide, and a safe structure. We reconnect with unrecognized parts of ourselves, the archetypal forces tugging inside and outside us. We also encounter the healing wisdom hidden in myths and fairytales. The archetypal themes in these old stories hold true across cultures and time.

The German fairy tale The Three Languages explores the hero’s journey, our connection to animals, and our own instincts. Using storytelling, meditation, role-playing, and discussion, we enter the story on a deep and personal level, and at the same time realize our connection to another time and place. Come join us in a storytelling circle.  We’ll explore our own mythic journeys and meet archetypes within the story and within ourselves.  No acting experience necessary, participants can choose to act or be part of the audience. 
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Wherever a story comes from, whether it is a familiar myth or a private memory, the retelling exemplifies the making of a connection from one pattern to another: a potential translation in which narrative becomes parable and the once upon a time comes to stand for some renascent truth. This approach applies to all the incidents of everyday life: the phrase in the newspaper, the endearing or infuriating game of a toddler, the misunderstand-
ing at the office. Our species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories."
-Mary Catherine Bateson, Anthropologist Read more!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Are you haunted?


1.  Are you haunted?  Does a strange quest, question, compulsion follow you?    

These cards emerge from an unrelenting inner compulsion.  Finally, after months (years) of ignoring, arguing, avoiding, I will finally give up and write.  I can give an hour in the morning to this strange pull.  My critic rages that this is crap.  Yes, ok, perhaps.  But I make space for this obsession—to record lessons learned in my own dark woods.  These cards are like hunks of bread I’ve torn and smashed together in my hand, and then tossed to the ground.  Can I understand my long strange trip?  Can I create a path of meaning, if not for others, at least for myself? 

What idea pursues you?  It lurks beneath ipads, tv, and tweets.  It sits like a Loch Ness in your own deep waters.  Will you sit quiet and watch your waters and learn what stirs within? 

Are you called to some strange quest?  Is the work too large?  How can you hope to finish it in one (not even one) lifetime? 

Still.  Isn’t it time to start? 

Give in to the idea that haunts you and watch your stress recede. 

Write, paint, dream.  Walk, play, watch.  Where, how can you serve?   

What is more moral:  following your true nature or doing what others expect?

Cheating, lying (to myself or others)  is not moral.  But following my heart?  If it will not hurt another, I must follow my own path to discover my true gifts. 

I WILL make mistakes (that is the only way to learn).  But I will find my way. 

Deep in your heart, you know what you are being call to do.

Do it.   

© 2011 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved No more to read on this post. Even though Blogger says Read more!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Another Quote to Cling To

You need only claim the events
of your life to make yourself yours.
When you truly possess all you
have been and done, which may
take some time, you are fierce
with reality.

Florida Scott Maxwell 
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Quote to Keep us Going When we Doubt our Abilities or Calling

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching…….…Whether you choose to take an art class, keep a journal, record your dreams, dance your story or live each day from your own creative source.     Above all else, keep the channel open!
Martha Graham
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Bending in a Storm

Found this essay from a year ago.  Seemed apt for this April weather.

A tornado passed near our town yesterday. We were blessed. Although we’ve been without electricity for over 24 hours now; our home, garage, and cars are intact. Some of our neighbors haven’t been so lucky. Many of their towering old trees broke in half or cracked along an enormous limb. These came crashing down on cars, homes, streets and sidewalks.


I was home when the violent storm started. The power shut off and I debated whether I should go into the basement--but it was hard to leave my view at the window. My three-story-tall Black Walnut trees were bending and swaying ferociously. The 80mph winds shook my lovely, old giants—but they did not break.

How did my stately trees survive? Despite their great size, they somehow were able to bend in that murderous wind. I’m not a tree expert; perhaps Black Walnuts are a heartier species. Still, the three in our yard must be internally healthy to have weathered that incredible force.

The storm battered our psyches too.

My husband, Rick, doesn’t feel confident with household maintenance. And since he is “the man of the house,” and I know much less than he does, the burden falls to him. When something goes wrong in our home, he often panics.

When we lost electricity in the storm, I assumed it would be restored quickly, as usual. But as the hours passed and the sump pump filled, Rick began to feverishly bail water. We didn’t have a backup generator. Without electricity our pump wouldn’t work and our basement would flood. I pitched in bailing as Rick carried buckets away. But the storm continued and after several hours we had only kept pace with the incoming water. We couldn’t bail all night. Now it was late, stores were closing and we had few options.

Rick was in a downpour of panic now. I recognized the symptoms. When overwhelmed with fear, in a situation I detest, I too make poor decisions, creating more work and more stress.

Luckily, at the last moment, a neighbor offered an outlet on his generator.

The next morning, I joined a crowd of neighbors to view the devastation. While the wind had only raged for 10 minutes, the cleanup would take weeks. I thought of the psychological storms that rage inside us and how these too cause damage that requires lengthy clean-up. When confronted with the situations we detest, both Rick and I can be overwhelmed by an emotion, or battered by an alter-ego. The storm takes over, devastating our thinking or our plans.

Why did some trees break? Were they brittle inside? Or diseased? From the outside they appeared healthy (at least to me).

The storms come, both inside and outside ourselves. Either way, we clean up the damage. Today we move tree limbs and clean warm refrigerators, hoping the electricity comes soon. Likewise, Rick and I try to learn from our emotions. We strive to keep ourselves from getting brittle. Then, when the storms come, we can bend.  
 © 2011 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved No more to read on this post. Even though Blogger says Read more!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Trusting God or Another Bad Move?


All my life I’ve been stuck halfway between faith and doubt.  When others talk about trust in God, what does that mean?  Do I passively wait for my Destiny to arrive?  How will I recognize Destiny vs. My Own Stupidity? 

Rick has been trying to trust God more--especially regarding money.  Now God is graciously giving us many opportunities to practice that trust.  Financially, we feel like Job--every day brings a new savings account hemorrhage.  Car needs new brakes (3K), our insurance didn’t fully cover Rick’s colonoscopy (1K), little Sophie needed 8 teeth pulled by vet (3K), and last week’s big item-- sewer pipe busted ($12K).  Rick is convinced that God is “testing us.”  Do we pass when the bank account is empty? 

Meanwhile, my freelance gigs have dried up.  Does “trusting in God” mean looking for other work or should I enjoy this time and write?  The question is moot to me—I can’t wait without feeling like a big irresponsible jerk.  I’ve been actively seeking other work.  But questions of “trusting God vs. being responsible” never end.  Should I just take whatever job that I can get?  (I’m getting too old for that!)  We still have some savings so I can wait and “trust.”  But is that simply laziness?  Or is waiting more responsible than grabbing the wrong job—one I’ll want to immediately jettison?    As expenses increase and time passes I feel the pressure of “just taking anything.” 

Ironically, waiting for good things (is that what trusting God means?) feels immoral.  I’ve never been able to do it.  When I produced theatre, I’d get frantic over late props or costumes.  Others would trust that “everything will work out.”   I judged them as simply having low standards.  Even though I believe in God and try to live with a spiritual focus, I couldn’t (wouldn’t?) “trust” God to help me with costuming.  God isn’t following me like some assistant, taking notes of all the things I need and promising to deliver—often at the last, dramatic moment-- when all seems lost. 

I don’t want to depend on God to bail me out if I don’t manage my projects well.

On the other hand, I’ve too often aborted jobs and projects when I encountered colossal barriers.  When problems came, I felt overwhelmed and confused.  I didn’t know that obstacles always come—especially when we’re creative.  Mythically, they’re the ferocious gatekeepers we must overcome on the way to our dreams.  Why must they block our way?  Because--as we overcome the dragon or evil stepmother, we discover our strength and power.  Without the obstacle, the hero is still undeveloped.  Seen this way, I understand the great gift of my impediments — the nitpicking bureaucrat, or the lazy costume designer forces me to learn leadership. 
 
Last year we put our home on the market.  Our plan was simple—reduce our mortgage.  My fantasy was to move somewhere cheaper so I could pursue my dreams.  I wouldn’t have the struggle between being responsible and following an inner calling.  But, in the dismal market, our house sat--ignored.  In the past I might have pushed my agenda, lowering and lowering the price.  But this time, I tried to watch the flow of Life.  Instead of forcing my will, I surrendered to the frustrating reality:  we couldn’t sell at a reasonable price.   Since we could still afford our mortgage we decided to accept the unknown.  We “un-staged” the house and reclaimed our space.  

Months later, I saw the blessing in our failure.  If we had sold and bought a cheaper home, it would have been much smaller, and in poorer condition.  We would have found more financial freedom, but Rick would have hated the tradeoff.  How much money and time would we have spent, trying to improve the space?   Would we, unhappy again, want to move—continuing our dysfunctional cycle of impulsiveness?  By trusting in God (not forcing my own will), we may have avoided more pain. 

I believe in a Higher Power that is somehow involved in my life. I’ve learned that it is far wiser to go with Life’s flow (Destiny, God’s Plan?) than to fight for my own agenda.  I’ve seen the difference.  Sometimes opportunities move rapidly toward me, and sometimes a relentless parade of barriers block my path.  Being responsible is learning to respond (be response-able) to Life’s changing circumstances, moment by moment. 

Instead of letting my emotions dictate my actions, I’ll become aware of them.  I’ll uncover my deepest fears (“What if I don’t get what I want?  How will I handle that?” or “What if I screw up again?  What will everyone think?”).  I trust in God to help me tolerate these feelings and move through them.  Then, when watching our bank account dwindle, I can admit these fears to myself and to God.  “I’m afraid regarding money.  I don’t want to be irresponsible but I want a vocation that is meaningful.  What should I do?”  Then I can listen and wait.  In the quicksand of strong emotions and distorted thinking, I’ll need to discern what is true.  At this time, in this place, what is the responsible action?  What have my past mistakes taught me about my reactions now?  My mistakes are my greatest teacher, helping me recognize my faulty thinking.   With practice I’m learning how to balance between waiting on Grace and taking responsibility for my life.  It is a high wire act. 


© 2011 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved No more to read on this post. Even though Blogger says Read more!