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Managing Medusa: Embracing the Emotional Life, Part I posted Jan 5, 2018

“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” - Carl Jung

Pushing limits. In the last two decades I've had more people than I could possibly count either talk with me conversationally about this topic or in sessions my clients have been helped by taking up chaos as a way to reorient themselves personally and professionally. 

What does it mean to go beyond what is comfortable, what is ordered, what is predictable in our business encounters? I've found that it means disassembling the self. This is deep work and it is meant for the courageous. If everyone could do it our world would be filled with brilliance and heightened experiences. It is at this level of transcendence that most of us secretly aspire.  As a consultant to budding entrepreneurs, stuck writers, professionals in transition and the deeply traumatized I have found this: there is no difference at the level of essence to what keeps us from reaching those visions of our lives that tug at our pillowed heads at night, that nip our heels during the day trying to steer us around the corners we need to turn but don't.

With my Ph.D. research and my Limit Experience consultancy the theory I work with is based on contemporary French philosophy, (contact me if you'd like have my clients’ suggested reading list), the first session is based on identifying the edges of perception that are being lived on a daily basis in the client's life activities. Here's a bit of homework some of them undertake that proves success in clarifying the way emotions are being processed (or not) in the client's life. This assignment involves taking an emotionally loaded event and writing a couple pages about it. Simple, with the propensity for depth. They can write the pages as themselves or as a character. This approach involves having a made-up perspective about what took place and using this objectivity to work the emotional components of the event into a communicable shape. It lends itself to instant objectivity and cathartic imaginings. Here’s an example. Try this yourself. Feel free to share your success or challenges with me on my Managing Medusa blog, LimitExperienceJournal/blog.

April 23, 2016

I think it starts with watching.

I am near his face with my eyes at chin level. he’s reclined on the pillow with his head laying on his arm.  the braid of ink around his forearm is making a sort of dark pool of black under the corner of his eye. 

What i filter my seeing with is intensity. the edges of intimacy bite into me in a way that i can no longer contain. this is what i have to learn, how to contain it. it takes something extreme to open my eyes to what i’m really seeing. on the inside the real cause for the rumble makes itself known.

In his eyes he sees past my face and into his own mother. he wanted something from her she never gave him. could she if she knew how much it turned him against himself?

image

I need to get out of here. i need to escape my own blind spots. when we are in bed i see the second big one. i’ve done what i think is express affection. i’m doing it because i want to feel closer to him. midway i see his eyes shut and i’m hoping it’s because he’s really focusing on what i’’m doing but soon i hear the air catch slightly in a part of his nose between his eye sockets as he takes in a big stream of oxygen. i go stiff with dread. i’ve been condemned to Other. i start feeling the panic rise in my solar plexus i slowly begin to move away from him. the air in my lungs is now filling with the abandoned energy from decades ago and I carve it into sadness as i peel down its backside with my mind.

And yet i need him to push me further. we’re so in sync energetically that he wakes a few inches away feeling the pain circulating through me as i lay a few inches away with my back now turned to him. i freeze not sure if i should cover up the pain with feigned okay-ness or if i should be honest. i go for it speaking from the blob of discomfort and all hell breaks loose for about 4 hours. i get up to see if it’s time for the fireworks to be displayed up the coast of our Gozo beach at some little Maltese village I can’t remember the name of. we’re supposed to have come home from our afternoon laying in the sun and running around the island's eastern border to work for several hours. the sea winds have finally died down after a week of flying sand that stings your cheeks, goes up your nose so i couldn’t settle down inside the apartment at a computer today on the prettiest day on the island so far. therefore, i didn’t get to do the work on the business program that i was supposed to do when i set my alarm for 6am. i went in to the kitchen passed the table where we had a stony silent dinner of feta and pasta last night to take a few black olives out of the old fridge with the stale milk smell.

While he was still asleep and the big bed was warm next to me with his body creating a locus for aliveness next to me amidst all the cold marble floors and blank white walls still fresh with paint and gloss, i scooted over to the edge of the bed and listened to him breathe. snoring slightly. not too loud. then i slipped off the edge in one svelt move. the breathing stayed rhythmic and I don’t think the bed moved more than an iota. my heart did, though. 

- end -

After writing walk away from the piece for a couple days and then read it again. See what you discover about your way of processing your emotional life. Share it on my blog if you like and remember Albert Camus’ advice, “Always go too far, because that's where you'll find the truth.”

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