The Stories We Don’t Tell
Gratitude for the mystery
We show our beauty and hide our ugly. We are whole people with vast experiences — good, bad and indifferent. And each day, consciously and unconsciously, we choose who we want to be and what parts of ourselves we want to show. Our persona/conscious ego personality is the public face and voice we present to the world. It’s the part of ourselves we’re most proud of. Yet there are unseen worlds lying dormant within each of us.
To Psychologist Carl Jung, these hidden places are a part of our psyche known as our shadow nature. It’s the ‘dark side’ of our personality — that part of us that we repress, perhaps even deny. The shadow is our most unenlightened self; here you might find anger, rage, envy, greed, selfishness, etc. It’s the counterpoint of the persona/conscious ego personality that we show to the world.
Shadow work is an integral practice for developing a healthy overall psyche. Light and dark are necessary. In our world of duality, both exist.
The psyche is a self-regulating system, and healthy systems seek balance between conscious and unconscious. One of the ways the psyche balances itself is through dreams, but also in waking life. We rarely pay attention to the mundane, but life is happening in the ordinary and extraordinary.
Life continually moves, yet we are only conscious of parts of it. By paying attention to the seemingly insignificant things in life, we begin to make sense of things.
“The ego is just one small portion of the self, however; Jung believed that consciousness is selective, and the ego is the part of the self that selects the most relevant information from the environment and chooses a direction to take based on it, while the rest of the information sinks into the unconscious. It may, therefore, show up later in the form of dreams or visions, thus entering into the conscious mind.”
The personal unconscious arises from the interaction between the collective unconscious and one’s personal growth, and was defined by Jung as follows:
“Everything of which I know, but of which I am not at the moment thinking; everything of which I was once conscious but have now forgotten; everything perceived by my senses, but not noted by my conscious mind; everything which, involuntarily and without paying attention to it, I feel, think, remember, want, and do; all the future things which are taking shape in me and will sometime come to consciousness; all this is the content of the unconscious… Besides these we must include all more or less intentional repressions of painful thought and feelings. I call the sum of these contents the ‘personal unconscious’.” JournalPsyche.org
I’m amazed at conversations with people who are astounded by ‘coincidence.’ “Can you believe it?” they say. “I was just thinking of you and here you are.”
Synchronicity: the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.
Everything is connected.
I’ve had many in-my-face moments and situations since beginning my work with a Synchronicity Coach. The Universe is literally saying, “you want to know, well here you go, now do with it what you will ….”
The unconscious presents itself and it’s up to me to supress or integrate. Yesterday was one such instance. My seventeen year old daughter, Em, started a ‘random’ conversation with me:
Em: Mom, do you know Matt Will?
Me: Yes, why?
Em: Did you date him?
Em: Were you married to him?
Em: What? For how long? Why didn’t you tell me? What happened? Have you been married any other time? Do you have other kids? Wow.
The conversation continued, but the point is that my being married many years before she existed wasn’t a story I felt I needed to disclose. It’s part of my hiSTORY, part of me, in my psyche, but not part of my everyday narrative. It was so long ago, I can barely remember the details.
And it got me thinking about all of the stories we don’t tell. Perhaps there are more of those than the ones we do. They are part of us that lie hidden in the unconscious, until a situation like this arises that brings it into the light.
My not telling wasn’t a conscious thing. It wasn’t a deep dark secret that needed to lie buried within me. It simply wasn’t an important detail to disclose. It affects her life in no way, except to know more about me. (And usually she’s not that interested in my stories. She’s seventeen …. )
This story could take many shapes from here — why I got married (and divorced) so young, who I was, what I was seeking, who I’ve become since then, why I parented her the way I did, why I’d never want her to go down so many of the paths I went down, the fact that I am who I am today because of all of the experiences I’ve had in life ….
I am one person — in one place — at one time in history.
All of us are living our lives in such a manner.
The universe is a big fucking place with lots of mystery.
More will be revealed as life continues to move through. For now, I simply feel grateful.
I live in awe of it all.