Create the Life You Imagine~March 2018
“Detachment or withdrawal consists of a radical transfer of emphasis from the external to the internal world.” ~ Joseph Campbell
Once we answer the call and begin to take our leave from our old familiar patterns and constructs, we are swept out of the external world and pulled deep into the waters of our inner world. We begin whirling in our own unconscious, exploring through our inner dreams and images the seeds of our life that are waiting to be uncovered.
When Dorothy decides to leave the old patterns behind and take the next steps on her journey, she first meets the magician who she hopes will help her to escape her past and to see her future. Instead, like a good therapist, he cleverly directs her back to the place where her life began, that gray and quiet Kansas farm, where she must begin her journey into the inner world. But as she returns to her childhood home, she is confronted with the full force of the cyclone that very literally sweeps her out of her external world and into the Land of Oz. The cyclone turns her familiar world around and around, picking up her childhood house and dropping her in Oz. By the disorienting power and force of the cyclone, Dorothy’s home is metaphorically moved from her outer world to her inner world. As Dorothy emerges in the land of Oz, she discovers a magical place that is rich with color and images, as well as strange and fantastical characters and occurrences. As Dorothy peers out into this magical land, she intuitively knows that an important threshold has been crossed. Dorothy declares, “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more!”
When we venture outside the safety of our ordinary reality and take our first steps toward our true Self, the Universe shows up to meet us—sometimes in the form of a friendly magician who kindly guides us along our way, and sometimes with the full force of a cyclone that disorients us and turns our world upside down. We often begin our journey like Dorothy trying to escape from our past or to run from our troubles. If we are lucky, a friendly magician, a good friend or a wise therapist will remind us that we cannot outrun our inner life and that escape isn’t really an option. Our hero’s journey most often begins right in the middle of our ordinary life where eventually our intuition leads us to the threshold of our inner world, inviting us to sort through our troubles and traumas on our way to discovering the truth of who we are.
This inner world is filled not only with our secret longings and passions, however, but with parts of ourselves that we have ignored or pushed away. It is where we stuffed our feelings of grief, anger, disappointment, abandonment or betrayal. It is where we buried parts of ourselves that have not been honored by our families, friends, teachers or partners. It is where we stored the life crises, losses and traumas that separated us from our hopes and our dreams. This inner world is a memorial to the myriad ways we have been dis-membered by the events of our lives. When we enter this world, we must be prepared to re-member and reclaim our lost parts and to tease our hopes and dreams away from the terrors and traumas that seemingly interrupted our magnificent stories. We must make peace with our past and with the people who played a role in the drama of our life story.
As uncomfortable or frightening as it may seem to dive into the waters of the inner world, there is no path into our intended life story that can bypass the road through our past and through our own unconscious. Like Dorothy, we must be willing to wander through this strange and uncomfortable territory if we want to find our way home. Gratefully, the myths teach us that if we choose to move toward our deepest Self, the forces of the Universe will conspire to help us. If we will take the first steps in our inner world, we can depend on our intuition, our inner imagination and the inherent wisdom of the Universe to meet us at that threshold and to guide the way.
Wishing you courage, blessings and light as you continue this journey to create the life you imagine.