Saturday, 30 October 2010

The wisdom of Carl Jung

I might have mentioned - once or twice - my interest (obsession) with the teachings of Carl Jung - both his conscious and sub-conscious psychology. I have some of his quotes on the wall in the upstairs bathroom. (Einstein is downstairs giving a speech about humankind - it's good to toilet with great minds).

Anyway - here are some of my favourite snippets of Carl Jung.......

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves A very wise woman called Nuala Ronayne taught me this when I was about twenty six. I have grown to understand and explore its meaning more and more with age. Of course it's all about the sub-conscious rumbling and giving us clues to its existence. The same action can irritate one person and not another. That's a clue to our individuality. The irritated person therefore has an opportunity to learn something - if they choose the take it. It's also about knowing to own your own irritations rather than just blaming the person that irritated you. That could stop wars!
N.B. I have heard the subconscious described in many ways but the most accessible description I paraphrased in a post on: The subconscious

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed A good one to remember! There's learning everywhere if we are inclined to look for it.

The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases. Idealism sometimes searches for the single solution. The one glove that fits all is different for everyone!

We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. This is one of my favourites and something I have grown to appreciate after years of training people from a variety of viewpoints. e.g. rather than condemn the prejudice, accept it and then coax it along to a better place, otherwise it becomes hidden and then unable to address. There are many examples this quote can evoke...

Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other. or power corrupts! Those that hanker after power and attain it are often the worst people to be making decisions on behalf of others! Einstein says (in the downstairs toilet) "My political ideal is democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized. I am quite aware that for any organization to reach its goals, one man must do the thinking and directing and generally bear the responsibility. But the led must not be coerced, they must be able to choose their leader. In my opinion, an autocratic system of coercion soon degenerates; force attracts men of low morality...

Observance of customs and laws can very easily be a cloak for a lie so subtle that our fellow human beings are unable to detect it. It may help us to escape all criticism, we may even be able to deceive ourselves in the belief of our obvious righteousness. But deep down, below the surface of the average man's conscience, he hears a voice whispering, "There is something not right," no matter how much his rightness is supported by public opinion or by the moral code. Which is similar to 'just because everybody is doing something doesn't mean it's automatically right.'

It all depends on how we look at things, and not on how they are themselves. I know this is obvious but I think it is regularly forgotten. We can never assume others have received what we have -even when we are looking at the same thing. I have just paraphrased!

If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool. Evidence of this aplenty. We are not generally very good at appreciating differences in others. Our ego can hold onto our viewpoint and convince us that it's the correct and only one.

In studying the history of the human mind one is impressed again and again by the fact that the growth of the mind is the widening of the range of consciousness, and that each step forward has been a most painful and laborious achievement. One could almost say that nothing is more hateful to man than to give up even a particle of his unconsciousness. Ask those who have tried to introduce a new idea! The massive wheel of human consciousness moves under the power of the few cycling crazily at its edges - is my response to the last sentence of that quote. Our subconscious does appear to have an automated response of resistance and we go to great lengths to deny its contents.

It is a fact that cannot be denied: the wickedness of others becomes our own wickedness because it kindles something evil in our own hearts That's how Hitler could do what he did: mass sub-conscious projection!

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people. Bring the subconscious to the conscious and you become a more complete person. It's the task of the latter half of our lives according to Jung. Nice to have a task. Which brings us to....

Shrinking away from death is something unhealthy and abnormal which robs the second half of life of its purpose.

All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination. When my playfulness, fun, imagination, silliness, excited and enthusiastic slightly 'out there' explorations are's usually other people's fear (and safety through convention and what they already know) I'm coming up against. Creative, excited, silly and unusual 'play' appears to unsettle some! I think creative playfulness is therapeutic and about freeing up something deep inside! I play best with my 'deepest' and most 'open' friends and family members.

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves. Ha! I embrace my inner necessity. Do you?

Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent. Jung is referring to his mother. This provides me with an excuse to explore my passions and not feel guilty about not spending all my free time with my children!

Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism. I am addicted to idealism - I know that!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, 29 October 2010

More Evidence

It is a bit like I am addicted to making these silly characters for my home made top trump cards which now number well over 300. Perhaps I should just start wearing an anorak and playing dungeons and dragons.

Daosy was a magician’s assistant until the ‘cutting her in two’ act went terribly wrong. Daosy used to have a lower half and a jet engine.

Villomax has been claiming jobseekers’ allowance for some time as nobody appears to want to employ a nuclear-powered triple-way nipper.


Jianne fell in love with a carboretta called Candy Rose. They have had three offspring: a cork screw, and spanner and a fork lift truck.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Story Poem

When my lovely, talented, musical friend Ruth Gordan sent me a poem with the middle missing....this is the filling I provided.....

The Story Poem (Stome)

I know a cat,
A black cat,
Playing tunes on the kora
Or facing the crowd,
Double bass in paw,
Wowing them into applause

I know a cat,
A black cat,
Inventor of song
And full moon dance-along
With wet red tongue
World expert on Jung
But he doesn’t like me
Oh no
He doesn’t like me

Slink and stare Santor
Blink and don’t care Santor
Not about me

*********** THE FILLING************************


We interrupt this poem to debate the pros and cons of melodic rhyming.

 There’s not enough rhyming in the land
Typed up or written by hand
 Rhyming makes you look clevererererest
 It would continue the format that prompted all this
 Rhymes can easily be turned into songs
 Rhymes are nice.

 Ugly forced rhymes are bound to happen
 Creative flow might be stifled
 I left my word starts at home
 Rhymes take twice the time(s) of non-rhymes
 Nothing rhymes with orange – Santor’s favourite colour
 Rhymes rarely span the whole page and therefore use more paper than prose and are therefore less planet friendly
 Rhymes are soporific and I would need to have several naps periodically throughout the poetry construction.

CONCLUSION: no rhyming here

Santor was undoubtedly most happy when he was attached to his kora or bass surrounded by a flurry of notes of his making. That’s why Santor did not like me, I was not an instrument and I certainly could not be played.

However, his happiness was relative and Santor knew his deepest needs had not been satiated. His Jungian subconscious was rumbling and stumbling and churning inside and he was certain his musical climax was yet to be reached. He loved his kora and bass and the applause they could elicit made him glow with pride and achievement. But the kora’s randomly un-chromatic scales rattled with his finely tuned western ear and after a bout of playing, his psyche was so flustered he would have to go out ram-raiding. Even the toughest cats in the neighbourhood disapproved of this behaviour. Santor knew this had to stop and the kora had to be sent back to Mali via the Cat Hobby Equipment Catalogue (CHEC Ltd) that he had ordered it from.

And the double bass, huge and booming, made Santor feel quiet, unnoticeable and insignificant. This unsettled him greatly. He aspired to be loud, noticed and very significant. The bass would have to be sent to his giant aunt Maud in Skegness. She would play it like a violin.

And this is where I came in. For though I tried to pretend it did not matter that Santor did not care for me, it actually bothered me more than anything. Santor’s friendship was something I aspired to.


Santor later explained that I had been brought up by a cat called Frank for the first two years of my life. Frank looked remarkably like Santor. I did not know this until Santor’s extensive psycho-analysis explored the contents of my unconscious through regular session on the couch and intense dream analysis. Being abandoned by Frank at two had left me with a huge block: a void that needed filling and my attachment to a need for Santor’s friendship. That's what was going on subconsciously. All - of course - without my conscious understanding.

In sensing Santor’s dissatisfaction with the bass and the kora, I saw an opportunity to please him. This drove me to some slightly peculiar 'pleasing' behaviour over the next few weeks: several times I knocked upon Santor’s door and presented him with a brand new musical instrument in an attempt to help him arrive at the pinnacle of his musical experiences and therefore ultimately (and hopefully) curry his favour and friendship.

The first instrument was a trombone. He looked at me shiftily as I presented it to him across the threshold. I returned a week later, responding to a phone call from Santor in which he stated that such a comedy instrument should never be played. He said his ribs ached from the amount of laughter the sliding action of the trombone and its bizarre notes had caused.

I exchanged the trombone for a pennywhistle. Santor rang the same day saying that he simply could not play something that had money in its name. It would make him seem greedy.

On subsequent visits I tried a variety of instruments but to no avail. The piccolo was too small, the xylophone made him fidget (and made him think of skeletons and that spooked him), the maracas were too simple and insulted his intelligence, the tuba reminded him of elephants and clumsiness, the bass drum made him angry, the guitar needed too many fingers (and hands), the violin was too melancholic and the clarinet too prone to squeaks.

It was at a point - close to giving up - that I presented Santor with a flute. I waited a week, then two, then three. I heard nothing from Santor. Eventually my intrigue got the better of me and I found myself stood in Santor’s porch, about to knock at his door. With my knuckles poised, I heard the sweetest sound: a cascade of notes trickling through the air. It was Santor and his flute. The notes came to me, pouring into my ears, on and on, a continuous flow.

I pushed open the door. There was Santor, looking frail and exhausted with a flute to his mouth. He was clearly mesmerised by his own playing and could not break free. The flute’s music had hypnotised him. I pulled the instrument from his mouth and he fell to the floor.

Santor looked up at me and grinned. He said,
‘I think I have had my fill of music for now. I want to try different things. Cat things.’

‘I want chase mice
And scratch lice

I want to pounce and creep
And lazily sleep

I want to lick my paws
A flash my claws

I want to purr and rub
An gobble my grub

I want to be a cat
It’s as simple as that!’

******************END OF FILLING*************************

I know a cat,
A black cat,

He sat and he gave me his paw
And rolled on his belly
And scratched on the floor.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Mind your Ps and Qs

When I was eleven I went to stay with a family in Paris for two weeks. It was a great holiday and they spoiled me rotten - took me to all the sights - although it might have been a bit wasted on an eleven year old. The father was a friend of my dad's (Gerard) - a fellow air traffic controller - that worked at Orly Airport. I travelled from Gatwick to Charles De Gaul as an unaccompanied child. I think this just meant I got to sit at the front and the staff checked up on me now and then - although I did get to go into the cockpit too - as my dad was 'air traffic contolling' the plane! Very 1980.

Prior to the trip I had been given really, really clear instructions from my parents about behaving well and being really polite and grateful at all times. I was NOT to disgrace myself.

Gerard and his family were waiting at the airport to pick me up when the plane landed and everything looked great. They had two sons (Arno and Antoine) and a daughter Alice. I was excited by the idea of two weeks with this family....... that was until I got into their car. From the moment Gerard turned the ignition key until we arrived at his lovely home in the Parisian suburbs, he was all 'fu*k you', 'wa*ker', and 'cu*t'. As an eleven year old I had never been exposed to quite so much aggressive swearing. My eyes were popping out with shock and I actually remember feeling quite scared, wondering what my parents had sent me to and thinking I wanted to go straight home.

It was only later that evening that it suddenly occurred to Gerard what he had done. He could not apologise enough.
'I always swear in English when my children are around...I am ever, ever so sorry!'

Saturday, 16 October 2010

My papier mache dragon

My husband fell in love with me at the point of me showing him my papier mache dragon's wire innards. What a selection process! I haven't read it in a fairy tale.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Nit comb

I have bought an amazing electronic nit comb. It buzzes until it finds a nit and then the buzz is interrupted until the nit has been zapped and falls out of the hair dead.

Hours of pleasure. I'd recommend one even if nits don't visit your house. You could chase ants with it, for example.

Sorry I needed an antidote after that last post!

After years of battling....this is my definitive answer to the nit problem: for complete nit blasting and prevention:

Hedrin Once to get rid of nits.

Then buy a water spray bottle (Superdrug sell them) and fill it with water plus a few drops of lavender essential oil. Spray your child's hair before they go to school. Nits hate lavender. Alternatively, tea tree oil shampoo also seem to prevent infestations!

My mother

My mother visited last weekend. I do love my mum deep down (!) but on the surface our extreme differences cause us some difficulties. Our conversations can sometimes sound like the Guardian fighting with the Daily Mail. I try to steer her away from social and political comment but she nearly always brings them up - seemingly every time genuinely oblivious to the fact I might have a different viewpoint and then surprised at just how different and then a bit cross about my alternative view (I should agree - yes?). And sometimes it gets a bit heated because I am terrible at letting prejudice and negative evaluative judgements aimed at random minorities - just pass by.

Because the relationship with my mother is tumultuous and I prefer harmony, I am always looking for things that help me be more accommodating of her and her ways (even if she's not trying the same with me).

and then I came across this in the novel I was reading.....

What fabrications they are: mothers. Scarecrows, wax dolls for us to stick pins into, crude diagrams. We deny them an existence of their own, we make them up to suit ourselves - our own hungers, our own wishes, our deficiencies. Now that I've been one myself I know.
from Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

It did make me stop and think. What is it about the parent-child relationship that can sometimes be so strained? Does it boil simply down to some parents never accepting their child can be a free thinking individual that can disagree with them? (Always the young child in their head?) But this quote did make me think about the responsibility I have over any views and patterns of behaviour towards my mother that I have not challenged in myself. Like Margaret says (she's so wise) perhaps the child cannot expand their view of the parent beyond the one they made in their heads in early adulthood or teenagehood - the one that a child can blame for all their shortcomings and dissatisfactions with childhood/life/anything. As the child, it's certainly easy to see a parent first and foremost as just a parent and overly focus on their impact on you in that role - rather than ever affording them any individuality beyond that role.

But how much of what we think about our parents is fabrication? Is it fabrication because it is uniquely just the viewpoint of a child of their parent and so affected by this distinct relationship as to be unrecogniseable if you shared it with a non-family member? Nobody else would probably hold the same view - being a person's child is bound to give a unique viewpoint of that person! However, I think we know our parents more than they ever think we do - as they are so much part of our forming (and therefore 'inside' us). Because of this they do also seem to have the direct line to any hang ups we might have. Is this though because they put that hang up directly there or is it because we shunned their views (and them as a person to some extent) as part of growing up? For example an acquaintance can say exactly the same thing about me as my mother but only my mother will get my heckles up by saying it- is that proof that my difficult relationship with my mother and the reactions I have towards her are based on my part on a stagnant (shunned at teenagehood) view of her, rather than it being about genuine hang ups put there by her? I don't know! Perhaps when it comes to parents our reactions can be too conditioned - as theirs can towards us. How do we move on together and get over that?

As we grow up, most of us need to shun our parents to some extent, to broaden our horizons. This requires us to rebel to some extent - or at least form some independet opinions. Perhaps it is this process that makes the view of our parents stagnate so much (and stagnate at a point of persistent rebellion for some of us!)- as much as their view of us can stagnate! Either way, it's not helpful.

Perhaps the parenting books could focus beyond the toddler stage to help the likes of me form a brand new relationship between adult child and adult parent. Please!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Fruits of blogging

There are many 'fruits' of blogging (nougats of information, foods for thought, feedback etc) but when one arrives in a large envelope and turns out to be a highly personalised housewarming gift that I's really quite something......

(This photo does not do it justice)

Thank you so, so much Carol at:
Not only in Thailand: (my link thing never uploads - any advice?)

It is going into a frame and onto my wall. I am truly touched.

Sunday, 3 October 2010


And as a CD....

I love a good social...

Yesterday was chap's birthday. He's a quiet introverted person so his idea of how to celebrate is different from mine (which I appreciate). Where I fill my house, a pub or a field up with as many people as I know (and then get a little frustrated that I cannot get round them all to give them 'quality' attention - that's my idea of quality - there might not be consensus), Andy prefers a select few for food and drinks and chats. So that's what happened. And we had a sweet time.

However I couldn't leave it alone entirely and we ended up getting out the

box and much interesting, humorous, enlightening, self disclosing conversation was had. Questions vary considerably and include things like:

• What personality trait do you admire most in other people? (quite varied answers - resilience, sense of humour, generosity, honesty (some debate), being true to yourself)
• What would you call your autobiography? (Mine was, 'I meant well')
• Can you list three things you do every day? (people got clever with their answers!)
• How many South American capital cities can you name? (surprisingly few)
• Can you describe something you were told off for doing as a child?
• What is the nicest compliment somebody could pay you?
•If you had to be a fruit, which one would you choose to be? Don't give a reason.
•What is your porn star name (First pet's name followed by name of the first road you lived in)?
•Put the following in order from like the most to like the least: spiders, slugs, flowers, rats, stones.
•If you had to eat only one of the following food for an entire day, which would you choose? mashed potato, banana, pizza, pasta
• What do you think of London?
•What do you think of middle names as a concept? (caused quite a bit of debate that one)
• Do you know Ruby? (It's an illustration of what my friends are like that they all just answered - nobody said 'Who?')
• What would be your ideal view from your bedroom window? (I'm adding ones we did not discuss - just getting carried away)
• Have you ever been to Wales?
•What is the name of one of your school teachers that you remember well and what made you remember them?
•Do you know the meaning of your last name and if so, what does it mean?
•What do hairy monsters eat?
•Do you prefer swimming in the sea or in a swimming pool?
•What is photosynthesis. Answer using as much detail as you can muster.
•How would you describe your hair?
•Do you have any stories about the paranormal?
•Which fairytale character would you most like to be?
•Which insect can you draw best?
•Are you silly?
•Do you have brand loyalty to any particular product?
I think I'll stop listing the questions...if you want the full set - just ask and I'll send them to you!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Conflict again

Mike Fleetham, ex-engineer, ex assistant headteacher, trainer, inspirer and author sends me thought provocations every now and then. I think it's always accidental. Yesterday he sent me this.....

“A court in India has said that a disputed holy site in Ayodhya should be split between Hindus and Muslims, but both sides plan to appeal”

Therein lies humanity's total problems

I blogged ages ago about a story Mike has in one of his books about a frog eating a snake that was eating the same frog (in a loop) as a metaphor for conflict. It reminded me of that. One eating the other eating the other in a futile exercise of destruction, unable to grasp the concept of its futility and so carrying on with dogged determination.

From afar, when you are not embroiled in the intense emotion, this kind of situation can send one into a despondent marvelling at the ridiculousness of conflict. Obviously it’s easy to rise above these things when one is not directly involved and its impacts potentially felt daily - when you are completely impartial. But it did provoke thought – like Mike is in the habit of doing - but it won't necessarily be jump ship now if you like concrete things that make absolute's see....

In my opinion we are, generally, a bit rubbish at truly respectfully agreeing to disagree (a slightly tenuous way of describing the above situation I know - as this disagreement has culminated in a territorial argument - but it originated from difference and disagreement) We are not great at accepting that someone else just thinks differently, holds different values, opinions or beliefs or tunes into situations in a different way. Why is that? What bothers us when someone else does not agree with us - especially if it's someone we respect? (Obviously if they are holding us at gunpoint and demanding that we agree with them - that might bother us.)

We are encouraged to make up our own minds and form our own opinions. I’m all for that. But then you get lots of different opinions and rarely find consensus.

But lots of viewpoints is good isn't it? A big thinking pot mulling ideas about - enjoying ideas, thinking, challenging, tempering extreme views (that might one day not seem extreme) and making ideas more likely to be fully formed and well considered - yes?. (Actually it's a wonder we do ever move in any direction! It's not just scientifically proven facts that we act on to change societal views - is it?)

There was a time in history when religion made lots of people think and believe the same (or similar) thing. Religion did an effective job of making the majority believe the same thing. Within one community, when there is consensus there appears to be harmony - doesn't there? Is that proof that we are just so uneasy with having different views?

So now I ask. Are we aiming for easy harmony through agreement (which might, ironically, be what drives us to strive sometimes aggressively for agreement) or more tolerance with conflict? Surely the latter if we are to accommodate lots of different viewpoints comfortably.

So how do we do that?

Would the Muslims and Hindus be more willing to make the suggested compromise if they had not arrived at a point of hating each other through centuries of refusing to agree to disagree respectfully?

Now I am just annoying myself. I think Mike should wait a while before sending me any more things to think about. Might one of you rescue me from myself?