Who Am I? and What Am I?
Hello and welcome to this month’s blog. These blogs offer strategies and tools that you can use between counselling sessions, after counselling (like doing maintenance on a car), or simply to help you stay up to date with the latest developments in Story Image Therapy (SIT)®.
What does it mean to live our lives as Jungian inquiry? It means that every day we need to ask ourselves questions in consultation with ourselves, and the wisdom of our ancestors. That is, spending time becoming more conscious of what’s in our unconscious.
To help people to go deeper during SIT, I often refer to something my father taught me. He said that people need to know NOT JUST WHO THEY ARE, BUT ALSO WHAT THEY ARE.
The “Who Am I?” questions are fairly easy to answer. They are things we consciously know about ourselves—like our age, qualifications, or what we do for a living.
The “What Am I?” questions require deeper thinking. To answer these, we generally need time to “sit” and reflect (that is why I call my therapy “sit” for short… as in to sit and pause for reflection). For example, you might:
- Write a story about your life in the third person, asking yourself the Who Am I? and What Am I? questions.
- You might imagine yourself as an observer—like watching a movie about yourself as the main character. You then ask the character the following Who Am I? and What am I? questions.
- You might draw a picture of yourself, then write the story of what you observed based on:
|Who Am I? (Ego)||What Am I? (Personal Unconscious)|
|My name is…?||What do I stand for, represent or believe in?|
|I live in…?||What do I appreciate the most about my life?|
|I earn an income by…?||What is my passion and purpose?|
|My relationship status is…?||What am I willing to give to get my needs met?|
|In my spare time, I like to…?||What am I willing to take in order to help others?|
|The colour I love the most is…?||What did my ancestors do when they had difficulty in life?|
|My favourite food is…?||What do I value as important in life?|
|The music that makes me happy is…?||What situations, people, circumstances or events can I learn from in the past, to help me in the present?|
|When I feel stressed, I usually…?||What if I told myself a new story? What would it be?|
|My hobbies are….?||What do I see when I look in the mirror? Is this a reflection of my ancestors and in what ways?|
I have written more about this method in my soon-to-be published book entitled The Magic of Jung. The focus is on adolescent healing through SIT—how you can help young people to become more resilient, or how we as adults can heal our adolescent wounds. The Magic of Jung is due to be published later this year by Feather Knight Books. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, enjoy your everyday Mythic Moments. Like the ancient Greek and Roman Stoic philosophers would say, live each day as if it was your last. Your life will be so much the richer for it.
Cheers, Dr Toula
Hello and welcome to this month’s newsletter on peace, prosperity and reaching Sylvaheim.
It has been an exciting month! Not only have people purchased copies of Shadows of Sylvaheim for the young people that they live or work with, but they’re beginning to see its value as a teaching and counselling tool for all ages. If you still haven’t bought a copy, see www.featherknightbooks.com or Amazon: https://www.amazon.com.au/Shadows-Sylvaheim-Toula-Gordillo/dp/0648705447.
Sylvaheim (pronounced silver-heim) is the name I give to the place of inner knowing. According to Carl Jung, we reach this inner place when we become more conscious of what’s in our unconscious. How can we achieve this? There are a variety of ways we can reach Sylvaheim. For me, it begins with personal reflection.
For example, I recently celebrated a milestone birthday. A supportive family member had a beautiful cake made up as my book and had to travel a long way to pick it up. As I reflected upon the magnificent cake, and the actions of the person who travelled far to get it, I realised several things:
- I am loved. What a precious thing it is to have people who know us so well, yet still love us.
- I am fortunate. Surrounded by family and friends on my birthday weekend, I realised how fortunate it is to have these special people in our lives — people who take time out of their busy life to support us during a special time in ours.
- I can still be surprised. I had never seen a cake like this before. I was delighted to find that you could get a printer that spits out edible ink in a pattern just like a normal printer. It is nice to know that at any age, we can still get surprised!
Take time to reflect upon and enjoy the mythic moments in your life. And may you reach your version of Sylvaheim… whatever that is for you.
Carl Jung had a difficult life. His mother had a breakdown when he was three, his father lost his faith as a minister and became an irritable hypochondriac, and Jung was badly bullied at school. He was introverted, aloof and had no friends. As an adult, Jung broke with Freud and suffered a breakdown that lasted five years. During this time, he almost lost his grip on reality completely.
Emerging from these difficulties, Jung went on to become one of history’s most influential scholars in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, art, literature and religious studies. How did he do it?
Here are some lessons Jung leaned in his journey to wholeness—what he calls “Individuation”. These lessons can help you to find inner happiness and realise your true potential. They also form the basis of Story Image Therapy (SIT)®:
- “Don’t Let Others Define You.” Recognise that you are your own therapist. Use symbolic stories and images to ‘tap into’ your unconscious and find the answers within.
- “Understand Your Passions.” Question yourself. What are you passionate about and why? Do that thing over and over in your individuation journey.
- “Focus on Who You Want to Be.” Jung reminds us that we are not what happens to us, but rather, who we choose to become.
- “Give up Your Addictions.” Jung said any addiction can be harmful. Try to reduce/remove addictive behaviour from your life as much as possible.
- “Be Honest About Your Capabilities.” Embrace the positives of who you are, rather than focusing on who you are not.
- “Make Strengths from Your Weaknesses.” When you are honest about your inadequacies, you can draw upon internal strength to overcome your difficulties.
- “Find a Connection to the Infinite.” See yourself as part of something greater to help you gain perspective and insight. This can mean seeing yourself as part of the natural world, the cosmos, history, a religion, or something else limitless.
- “Make Time for Deep Reflections.” Meditate through regular reflective practice. Draw a picture, sit on the beach, listen to quiet music. Take regular time-out to connect to Self, Spirit and Nature.
Remember to savour the mythic moments in your life.
When was the last time you sat alone outside your home, looked up at the stars, and contemplated your place in the universe? Or sat beside a river or stream, reading or observing the ripple of the waves or the leaves swaying in the breeze?
If you have ever sat to watch the mesmerizing movement of fish swimming in a tank, or sat in front of a fire, staring into its flickering flames, then you likely will know the enormous benefit of taking the time to sit, ponder and reflect on life. To do this effectively, must do it alone and often.
I have deliberately called my therapy SIT (as in to ‘sit’ and read a story or ‘sit’ and ponder an image). This is because taking time out to sit and reflect is something that we are not doing enough in our modern world. We are all too busy rushing around, overthinking and stressing over the smallest things, that we forget that we are part of something greater than ourselves and our immediate problem or problems.
When we connect to nature, just as our ancestors have always done, we are reminded of our own true nature and the world doesn’t seem so bad.
Take the time to ‘sit’ in solitude, like Jung, as often as possible. It will help you to restore your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
May all your mythic moments be magical!
Best wishes, Toula
For more information, please see Toula’s website: www.drtoulagordillo.com
To purchase a copy of Toula’s latest book, a mythic heroic fantasy fiction for all ages entitled Shadows of Sylvaheim, please go to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com.au/Shadows-Sylvaheim-Toula-Gordillo/dp/0648705447
We had a successful book signing at Caloundra Book Shop on Sunday. Thank you to all who stopped for a chat about our new book ‘Shadows of Sylvaheim’ . The Caloundra Book Shop has copies for sales in store.