This used to be a blog dedicated to one of my interests, dream interpretation. I have decided to expand it to include thoughts about pretty much Everything.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Psychoanalysis of the "Max & Ruby" series

You probably know already, I interpret dreams. Dreams are gateways to the unconscious. But they aren't the only possible ways to discern the fascinating realm of the unconscious.  Art, language, intuitive flashes, and story--even children's story--are all possible expressions of the that great force within us. Just for kicks and giggles, here's a symbolic interpretation I did recently on the children's book series, "Max & Ruby." 

So... this may be a little precious, but I had fun doing it.

The writer of these works of literature seems to have an obsession with youth and being young. The fact that the characters in the books never age, remaining persistently in their childhood years indicates the tendency towards a kind of "Peter Pan" complex. Even the choice of animal is significant--rabbits are known for being prolific breeders, which underlines the obsession with youth. And yet, the Ruby character shows signs of longing for maturity, in how she is always trying to do adult-like things, such as wear makeup, host parties, and follow the "rules" of the home. 

The entire series could be seen as the archetypal struggle within each of us between the inner child, and the push for evolution and maturity. A healthy balance between these two forces can be achieved through the individuation process-- accepting each of these forces as separate poles of a single, healthy spectrum within the complex human condition. It is healthy to accept the aging and maturity process as a source of wisdom and structure, and it is also important to nourish one's inner child as a source of innocence and hope. 

When these poles are out of balance with each other, though, problems can arise. Too much "maturity" can lead to rigidity and domineering attitudes, while too much "youth" can lead to irresponsibility and getting taken advantage of. The Max and Ruby stories indicate that the author has not yet learned to resolve this tension and individuate these opposing forces. We do, in fact, see an over-domineering figure who strives for maturity, and an irresponsible figure who remains youthful. Every Max & Ruby story, though different in details, has the same archetypal plot--the maturity figure tries to force an agenda of conformity, and the youthful figure silently subverts it. 

Notice that the youthful figure is mute and must resort to subterfuge to accomplish his goals in the push-and-pull game. This indicates that even though the author of the book identifies CONSCIOUSLY with her mature responsible side, it is really the UNCONSCIOUS youthful side of herself that is running the show and causing her to self-sabotage. However, neither side ends up fully happy. The youth figure, even though he "wins," is effectively mute, doomed to remain lurking in the shadows of the unconscious, never able to achieve full expression, while the maturity figure is frustrated. No progress is made, individuation is not achieved, and the cycle continues. 
It is also significant that the "maturity" figure is female, while the "youth" figure is male. This indicates that the author feels her feminine side is the one driving the urges for maturity, while her masculine side is driving the urges for youth. (Masculine energies in symbolism represent our outer world, our outwardly-focused energies--career, society, and such. While feminine energies represent our inner world, our inwardly-focused energies--emotions, receptivity, and such.) When the masculine/feminine polarity is out of balance, it can lead to problems as well. I would venture a guess that the author often feels that her inner emotions regarding her outer life feel out of control, and she finds herself in situations of self-sabotage, again and again throughout her life.

An exercise I would have the author (and anyone else who feels deeply drawn to this literature) engage in would be such:

Close your eyes, and imagine Max and Ruby standing before you. Envision a magic wand in your hand, and wave it over Max, which loosens his tongue and allows him to speak. Let him pour out his heart... whatever comes out is OK, do not block the flow. You may be surprised by what comes out, but it is all in the service of healing. (Take note of any childhood memories that may arise, or beliefs instilled in you at a young age. These may need to be worked through in future sessions.) Then imagine Max and Ruby holding hands, looking each other in the eyes, and saying to each other, "Let's work together as a team." 

Visualize this every day for at least two weeks; you will notice subtle but powerful changes in your life. Keep track of your progress, feelings, and any synchronicities that occur.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

To be continued

Just a quick FYI.
I've been sick, and my energy levels have plummeted the past couple weeks. Finally it was distressing enough to actually go to the doctor... after a few tests, we found out I'm "almost" anemic. My hemoglobin (I didn't know what that was either until after this diagnosis) was just barely over the threshold for official anemia, but my ferritin (yay, another new term to learn!) levels were extremely low.

You probably already know that being anemic makes you unearthly tired. Another problem (of several) with this condition is an awful brain fog.  It has been SO difficult to concentrate and just make it through my normal daily responsibilities.  So I haven't posted in a few days; I've just been too tired and unable to THINK.

This really really sucks, but I'm getting better. Believe me, there are lots of things I want to write about when I'm myself again.

Meanwhile, I've done some research, and here's what I'm doing to heal myself:
  • According to what I read, the body can only absorb a certain amount of iron per day, because of the limitations of certain enzymes that make it possible to absorb iron. That's why they say it will take me two months to get my iron up to normal.  But I don't have two months! I am putting my hands on my abdomen and consciously asking my body to produce more of the enzymes that can absorb iron, so I can absorb more, faster. (Wikipedia says these enzymes are "Dcytb, DMT1, and ferroportin." Got that, body? With extra pickles, please.)
  • Heme iron is the easiest for the body to absorb and the presence of heme iron also makes it easier to absorb non-heme iron. So I'm taking dessicated liver tablets (heme iron) along with my ferrous sulfate (non-heme) prescription.
  • I'm taking it 3 times a day instead of 2 times.
  • Of course, I'm following the prescription's advice to take the iron pills with vitamin C (I love orange juice anyway!) and to avoid dairy/high calcium before or after taking the pills.
  • I'm increasing my fiber (e.g. drinking OJ with pulp, etc.) to avoid constipation. But that hasn't been a problem so far, thankfully.
TMI? Oh yes, that's me.

Today I didn't have a headache or brain fog until evening, even though I was still tired. So that's already an improvement, considering I just started on the prescription 5 days ago.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I'll be back in action soon. Like I said, I have several things buzzing around in my head that I want to write about.

Meanwhile, please enjoy this picture of the lovely comfrey growing in my front yard. Aren't the flowers beautiful!?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Homeschool freedoms

Sign the Romeike petition!
Here is an article I only found recently:
The Romeike Homeschool Case

If you don't want to read the article, the upshot of it is: there is a German family who is seeking asylum in the United States, because they are being persecuted in Germany for choosing to homeschool their children.  Persecuted, as in, the government is fining them, threatening to take their children away, and threatening them with jail.  And the United States is on the verge of deporting this family back to Germany, except there is now a lawsuit underway. There are two disturbing things about this case I want to comment on.

The first is that Germany outlaws homeschooling in most cases because it wants to "counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies.”
I knew that Germany did not allow homeschooling, but I did not know the official reason until reading this article.  And I think their reason sucks! Basically, they are trying to ensure a religious and philosophical monoculture.  They want to prevent people who do not agree with the script the elites in the government have decided is the "right one" from gaining a voice in society. But we know in every other field of life that diversity is healthy. In an ecosystem, in a garden, in a diet, and... in society. Having people who believe different things from each other is a GOOD THING!  Having quirky people is a sign of a healthy society.  Having political and philosophical arguments is a sign of a robust, engaged community. A balance of powers is the only way to ensure freedom from tyranny.

I do not agree with this couple's religious beliefs, and I think they are a bit paranoid when they say that they want to homeschool because the German public schools teach witchcraft and devil-worship. Right. Pretty sure that's not happening. But still. If they want to homeschool, they should be able to.

The second disturbing point is that the United States Attorney General actually argues that homeschooling is not "a right" for parents.  I find this appalling. Extenuating circumstances forbidding, parents are biologically wired to want to care for their children.  Parents are in-touch with the personalities, needs, and conditions of their children, and they care more than anyone else could. (Again, there are exceptions, due to some people being sadly messed up by the traumas of this life, but biologically speaking, it is pretty hard-wired into parents to connect with their children.) Who better to understand the child than the parent, who (in most families) shares the child's very DNA? It is in the best interest of the child to protect the parents' rights to raise the child as they feel is best. (Keeping with some minimum standards, of course.)

I don't worry about public schools on a religious and philosophical level so much. Myself, I'm considering homeschooling my kids, not because of the CONTENT of the public school curriculum so much as the METHODS and the ENVIRONMENT of public schools. I disagree with the commonly used punitive approach to discipline. I disagree with the ugly aesthetics. I want to limit my child's screen time until he's older. I am concerned about my impressionable 5-year-old being exposed to a slew of cultural messages from his peers that I disagree with. (Patriarchy, narcissism, consumerism, xenophobia, and so on.) If I lived in Germany, I would tell the government (not that they would listen), "I will teach my child close to the same religious and philosophical content you use in your schools. But I will do it in a way that makes sense emotionally for my child. Butt out."

Please sign this petition if you believe that the US government should not set a precedent of aligning against parental rights to educate their children as they see fit.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Parable of the Woman Who Cried

A mother of 3 was making supper for her family. While chopping the onions, the knife slipped, and she sliced her finger open, creating a large and painful wound.

Her youngest child walked into the room and asked, "Why is Mommy crying?"

The eldest, Consor, answered, "She is crying because she was cutting onions. The vapors irritated her eyes. Clearly, our sense of entitlement for food is a drain on our dear mother. What we need to do is feed ourselves instead of lazily relying on Mommy to be our nanny."

The middle child, Libby, retorted, "How can you be so backward? How would we be a family if we didn't eat together? Mommy is crying because the knife slipped and cut her finger. What we need is better regulations of knife design and manufacturing, making accidents like this less frequent."

Who was right?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Not sure what I think about this

I made this with the intention of having it be something that made me feel happy, strong, independent, unique.  Well, I used it today... and it didn't do those things.  It made me feel angry. 
It reminded me that I'm not good at visual art.  The design was dumb, even if the glaze had turned out right. We all have our moments of poor taste. I have more of them than others, especially when it comes to visuals.
And it reminded me of how dumb I can be. Why can't I do things in normal, time-tested ways? Sometimes creativity and resourcefulness lead to seeing paths where there are none.  Occasionally that magical mindset works, and a secret highway opens up to lost treasures; a lot of times that mindset leads to getting your limbs bloodied in brambles or your forehead bruised against a brick wall.
It reminded me that sometimes I trust people and they let me down.
That sometimes I work really hard on something, and it fails spectacularly.
That most people don't care about things as intensely as I do.

So, the mug just wasn't working for me...

Maybe I'm being melodramatic. Forgive me this moment of emotional ridiculousness.