Monday, July 16, 2012

Gnashing of Teeth

I couldn't help by be impressed by this chapter. The analysis and exposition on a simple story was very adept and insightful. Its amazing to me that so many symbols with so much meaning could be woven into what I was familiar with as a childhood tale. On my children's bookshelf even, we have a beautifully illustrated version of the story of Vasalisa. Without Dr. Estes and this book, I doubt I ever would have been able to find that much meaning on my own.

The story once understood as a type of parable illucidates nine essential tasks in developing one's intuition or inner guide.

They are as follows:
  1. Allowing the Too-Good Mother to Die
  2. Exposing the Crude Shadow
  3. Navigating in the Dark
  4. Facing the Wild Hag
  5. Serving the Non-rational
  6. Separating This from That
  7. Asking the Mysteries
  8. Standing on All Fours
  9. Recasting the Shadows
In my personal life, I am currently facing a situation where like Vasalisa I am trying to break free from whatever is holding me back and bringing a degree of unhappiness and damnation (as in feeling dammed, unable to progress, stuck in patterns I want to escape). Already, on my own, I find that I am somewhere between stage 4 and 5 of the above outline.

To me, serving the non-rational is one way to say what I find myself having to go through in order to find freedom and peace.  No matter how hard I try or may wish, emotions are not rational or logical. The best I can come up with is appealing once again to my left brain which constantly asks, "What does the research say?" Well, the research says that its perfectly normal and understandable for various emotions to manifest after various life experiences. Therefore, if my emotions are following a rather well established pattern, then its obviously okay to feel completely irrational in that moment of need. This line of reasoning has actually helped me to accept and embrace my emotional needs, to connect with whatever action that I would typically consider non-essential for its lack of logic. As I am able to embrace those needs, I find that can ride the wave of whatever is needed at the time. Just going with it helps me now that I won't always be in that place and that something better is on the other side. Like the experience of giving birth, there's a paradox of "relax into the pain and the pain will go away." On the surface that makes no sense. But it works. So I go with it.

I say that there is a big part of my in stage 4 here because it was many lines from that stage in the chapter that I found myself receiving insights into my own pysche. This one in particular did that for me:

"Many women are in recovery from their Nice-Nice complexes wherein no matter how they felt, no matter what assailed them, they responded so sweetly as to be positively fattening." [My thoughts inserted here, I was never very good at that though I may have tried....] Though they may have smiled kindly during the day, at night they gnashed their teeth like brutes--the Yaga in their psyches were fighting for expression."

That could explain one of the my last trips to the dentist. He asked me when I ground my teeth. I told that I didn't or didn't know that I did. He explained that he saw evidence on my teeth that I frequently clamped my jaw. It was after that point that I realized that at night, when I'm unaware, I tend to tightly clamp my jaw so that my teeth press against each other all night. I'm hoping that I as go on a year and day quest to find freedom from what is plaguing me that the jaw clamping will improve as well. Its a simple wish that would speak volumes to me if it were to happen.

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