“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
I love the wisdom of Carl Jung and dream work has played an influential role in helping me to understand myself so I can live a more conscious and awake life.
Along with keeping track of my dreams, there are other ways I’ve learned to listen more deeply to my inner voice and this week, in an excerpt from, Waking Up in Winter, I share one with you.
This is what happens when you pay attention to (and explore) the objects of affection in your life that might be reflecting unconscious needs and desires. It’s an interesting exercise you might want to try. Watch what happens…
This morning, as I made tea and fed Poupon, I pulled out a small jar of lavender honey given to me by a gentleman in Hamburg, Germany. Having read a Facebook post I wrote about appreciating the multiple kinds of honey served with tea while in his country, he left a gift for me with someone who stood in my book-signing line. When I got to my room later that day and opened it up, I found five jars of honey—most of which had names I couldn’t decipher, except that one was lavender. As I wrapped them in paper to pack in my bag, I could feel the love that inspired his gift. People can be so incredibly kind.
What is it about honey? I wonder. I’ve rarely considered it in the past, but for some reason honey has become a thing for me this year. Just as a dream invites the unconscious mind to lay its gifts at our feet, a new object of affection can hold clues to what’s brewing beneath the surface. So with that in mind, I want to explore what honey represents:
Cycles of life
The power of community
As I look at this list, I’m stunned by how relevant these terms are to my life right now: my desire to just be for a while; my need to be around nature as a vital source of energy and joy, pondering the cycles of the seasons, and of life in general; my longing to create a community of like-minded friends near home; and my new, emerging priority of pleasure. No wonder honey keeps showing up in my life. It’s a messenger, a sweet reflection of what’s becoming increasingly important to me now.
Today I notice a part of me settling into winter. My body had been so out of rhythm with all the traveling, and I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye to fall. But as the nights get colder, I can feel myself slipping into acceptance. Time moves on. Now in my fifties, I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I’m closer to the finish line than the starting gate. I find myself measuring time more by the seasons than by years. To say I’m at midlife sounds less urgent than to say I may have thirty or forty summers left. Snowshoeing around the reservoir in winter, walking the beach during a summer sunset, planting the garden in spring, and feasting on the abundance of autumn color, all give new meaning to the preciousness of time here. I want to be present for as many of these experiences as I can.
When we’re young, we assume we’ll live forever. Youth keeps the finish line at bay. Then a significant birthday comes along, or a New Year’s celebration that marks the passing of another year, or a frightening experience like the need for a biopsy or the unexpected loss of a loved one, and we’re suddenly forced to face the reality that our time here is so exquisitely limited.
Am I doing what I really want to do?
Do I like who I’m becoming?
Are the activities I engage in nourishing to my soul?
Yes, at midlife we’ve earned the right to question everything…
P.S. – You can learn more about “Waking Up in Winter,” here.
P.P.S. – There will be no Facebook Live this week. You can watch past sessions on my YouTube channel at CherylRichardsonTV here.
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