Palace at Tiryns, 13th century BC. Archaeological Museum of Nafplio.

“The spiral in psychology means that when you make a spiral you always come over the same point where you have been before, but never really the same, it is above or below, inside, outside, so it means growth. “

(C.G. Jung: Dream Analysis, Parts II & III. 1929)

“The thing about all complexes, splinter personalities, and fractal assignments is that they have no imagination. They can only replay the old events, scripts, and moribund outcome of their origin. But we do have an imagination, the power to image something new, or at least alternative.”
― James Hollis, Hauntings: Dispelling the Ghosts Who Run Our Lives

Imposter syndrom

Last week, during my monthly spiritual direction with the amazing Marci Madary, I revisited a recurrent theme – my sudden resistance to a plan in progress. I always plunge into projects and then, like the amnesiac hero of Memento, I wake up to find myself swimming in the deep end of a new theatre company, my first feature film, my first stop motion, my first film festival.  Whose idea was this? How did I get here? Then panic sets in and I think of ways to escape. I’ve had this approach/avoidance pattern much of my life. It’s embarrassing. Why does this keep happening? What can I do about it?

It had been a long time since this pattern erupted but here it was again.

Marci and I talked about the current iteration of this disruption — my applying to be on podcasts. In the past few years I’ve had lots of momentum but now I was procrastinating and ignoring emails about opportunities to speak. The emails piled up. As I shared the story I heard an inner voice claiming that I had no right to talk on podcasts about my ideas of Jung’s work. Who did I think I was? I’m not an analyst. I don’t have advanced degrees in psychology. Imposter syndrome arguments.

We explored further into these two different parts of me. One is an eager Child who rushes headlong, trusting in intuition and wanting to be of service. Then a Scaredy-Cat part, afraid of risk and rejection, suddenly takes over consciousness.  This complex obliterates the former consciousness and I’m left confused, ashamed, and lost. The Scaredy-Cat part refuses to go further and all inner and outer movement stops.

I’ve worked with the Scaredy-Cat for many years. But I guess I forgot about her – again! Worse, during my session with Marci, I realized that I bully Scaredy-Cat to move more quickly than she wants.  I don’t sense the buildup of frustration and fears until a huge inner resistance erupts in me. 

Still from Making a Monster. Another scaredy-cat!!

The spiraling inner life is filled with so many layers, symbols, and paradoxes!  It wasn’t until writing this blog post that I realized that my most recent film, “Making a Monster” is not only about bullying, but about a Scaredy-Cat!  The story is different than my story, and I only used a cat because that was the best doll I found but – wow!  I am always astounded when I suddenly become conscious of personal symbols and inner parts of me hidden in plain sight in these films. My ego is not fully conscious when making art. I’m happy about that and also a bit in awe.

I have my agendas and I get impatient with the need to revisit old patterns. I’ve wasted enough time! But Ilia Delio reminds me that all is process. I’m a process. I’m in process. Spiraling toward wholeness.

“Evolution means that nature does not operate according to fixed laws but by the dynamic interplay of law, chance, and deep time….The interaction of forces creates a dynamic process of unfolding life, pointing to the fact that nature is incomplete; there are no fixed essences. Instead, nature is consistently oriented toward new and complex life.”
– podcast segments has lessened. I feel more patient with the process that continues outside and inside me.

The majestic spiral galaxy NGC 3147