Posted on 12 November 2004

It’s been a week since I’ve posted a blog. I have been consumed by store and self. I’ve been reading Helen Luke and thinking and cursing a lot. I haven’t danced on a table since the beginning of October.

I find myself angry these days and when an Irish woman becomes angry, one best watch out. Since the intensive in England, I have been trying to integrate all that I heard and saw, experienced. I cling to quotes by such as Adrienne Rich and T.S. Eliot. Today – a lovely surprise – I received an email from my English room mate at the intensive. I am reminded of the openness and laughter we shared. The acceptance. It was such a sheltered enviroment where each woman was allowed to withdraw or be social. The only demands were internal ones.

Here, the outside world keeps throwing challenges my way.

I find myself writing deeper and deeper, pushing myself. I keep thinking of my friend Maria, who was with me in France fifteen years ago and how we would whine and complain and say “Life is hell and then you die.” I don’t know why I’m thinking this because I don’t believe it.

Wednesday I met my plum group at the Grind and we wrote for over two hours straight amid interruptions from a loud table across from us and then a more pleasant interlude from the “animal man” who left his pet parrot outside and came in to play the piano. He reminded me of my mother who has a musical ear, unlike me, and plays superbly.

The idea of this mid-week meeting was to get together for support and write about what scares us, what we are afraid to write about. And it worked well. I filled pages and then went down to Jericho Beach where I wrote more. In the evening, I went to Marlene’s and wrote again.

I love these “Jungian Circle of Women Writers” evenings at Marlene’s. In my self-centred way of looking at the world, it’s as if the texts Marlene chooses and discusses each evening, each session, are chosen to answer questions, to show me a way, to what I need to know at this minute in time. For instance, this week we discussed two chapters – “The Sense of Humor” and “The Cat Archetype.”

Interesting that I discussed the cat as being more spirit than animal in my last blog and how this feline has represented in corporeal form, at different periods of time, the witch, fairy, spirit, and goddess.

Luke uses the cat to show how we can catch our shadow side or the mice and rats that feed on our souls. She explains so beautifully that when “we feel invaded by vague depressions or tensions… if we will then be very still and allow ourselves to be flooded by whatever emotional reaction is uppermost at that moment – whether of fear, resentment, desire, jealousy, love or hate – plunging right into it without the censorship of guilt or shame, we will very often find that… [w]e have set free our emotion (our cat) to be what it is and immediately we are able to see it in its true perspective, to relate it to all our other conscious values, and our energy will flow out into life again. It should be emphasized that such an experience must be given form – written or painted, exactly as it came to us-so it is contained, and we relate to it and are freed from its domination.”

In other words, if I expose my shadow side, my so called negative emotion or reaction, without censorship, in my journal, I can see it clearly and it will stop eating at me, and best, being contained on the page, it will not play itself out unconsciously in my day to day life.

This astonishes me. It’s so simple. Instead of trying to be fair and just, kind and understanding, I am given permission to go to the opposite extreme. I can tear all out of proportion so I can gain proportion. When I read over my writing of the day and night, I laughed at my extravagant emotion.

And miracle of miracles, Luke mentions laughter in the former chapter: “For very little consideration will show us clearly that the sense of humor is always born of a sense of proportion.”

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