Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dreams, Living Your "Unlived" Life

In the culturing process, the many decisions of our parents and childhood caretakers become habits, and they become our own when adults. The mind has a terrific repertoire of past behavior accrued over time and stored until the precise moment when needed. These actions, memories or past, form a bulk of our coping skills in adult life.
For many they are trusty and reliable responses to ordinary life events, things like dealing with annoying people, completing tasks, organizing our schedules and taking advantage of "down time." We often think of them as "manners."

All these activities give the adult satisfaction
and a sense of mastery over everyday events. one often gains a sense of security from these interactions; as a person matures, more experiences accrue and more strategies are learned, stored and used as needed.
For many if not most, there comes a point in time when we are no longer marking time as "from when I was born until the present," but rather time is more as "from the present moment to my death." This shift in perception is gradual, usually occurring in the 40's and becoming louder as the 50th decade and beyond approaches.

Those trusty old solutions, those experiences of the past may no longer suit. What once was a brilliant maneuver at age 25 is not so now. Life is more lived, and the past while possibly remembered fondly now is more nuanced, more characterized. Something new is often in order.
The goal is not the elimination of patterned views and responses; growing maturity may call for a re-examination of previously disregarded choices or pathways.

Yet this can lead to major disruption or even financial ruin of a lifetime of gain. So many busy themselves with other things, staving off the gnawing thought in the back of the mind, that a path once contemplated, such as travel, further study or a career move might, still, make sense.
Writing partly from personal experience and partly from a professional perspective authors R. Johnson and J. Ruhl write in their book, Living Your Unlived Life that loosening up on the reins of life, "give us more freedom of choice, to regain access to lost resources that are essential to a fulfilling life."
The paradox of identity is that identity is fluid over a lifetime, more than something rigid or habitual. Even so, we rely on the patterns of the previous to make our current experiences coherent.

And while these patterns and structures are necessary and in a large degree helpful, they are also, "over time becoming boundaries, restricting our freedom and narrowing our experience." Relying then on the familiar, we do feel often worn out, tired or stressed. As the saying, 'same old thing' kicks in, "by mid-life your identity is the institutionalization of your past," writes Johnson.
The antidote Johnson says may lie in several places, but one thing he assures the reader is that by this time in life whatever the solution, it indeed lies within.
Carl Jung, Johnson's mentor, wrote that it is "a mistake to fear that the truths and values of earlier adulthood are no longer relevant; they have just become relative-- they aren't universally true."

Becoming re-acquainted with your inner life, the who, how and whys of your existence may make you feel a bit of a teen again, but it will also give you new awareness and updated solutions to events in your life. The authors give much, much more detail and introduce the concept of "active imagination" as a real and effective tool for growth.
Johnson insists that it may effectively quell moods, mental stresses and other psychic disorders if practiced effectively and consistently. This technique as explained incorporates ones' dreams, imaginings and conscious thoughts as part of its method.

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