The word “psychology” comes from the Greek words “psyche” meaning soul and, “logia” meaning speech or word. Another root definition of the word is ‘the care of the soul’. The decision to begin the psychological work of self-inquiry is essentially, soul work.
A courageous undertaking indeed.
Carl Gustav Jung, the father of Analytical or Depth Psychology, reminds us of the vital necessity to do this work, to become archaeologists of our own mind and psyche. Jung reflected, “everything good is costly, and the development of personality is one of the most costly of all things. It’s a matter of saying yea to oneself, of taking oneself as the most serious of tasks, of being conscious of everything one does, and keeping it constantly before one’s eyes in all its dubious aspects –truly a task that taxes us to the outmost” (Vol. 13, p. 18).
It takes fortitude and courage to reflect, to wrestle, and to ‘sit with’ our emotions, with our patterns and ways of doing and being, with our symptoms. James Hillman, the father of Archetypal Psychology, tells us that symptom leads the way to psyche, to soul, that it is “the first herald of an awakening psyche which will not tolerate any more abuse. Through the symptom the psyche demands attention!”
In our work together we explore symptom and emotional disturbance (anxiety, depression, etc.) from this depth psychological lens where gradually, we learn to bring a deeper intentionality in the making meaning of symptom. We no longer seek to just categorize it, label it, measure it or quantify it. Instead, we consciously ‘sit with’ our symptom, with the intention to collaborate and make sense of what is being revealed.
We show up, week after week, take few steps forward and sometimes many steps backwards; we learn to stay in the ‘arena’ per se, to ‘sit with’ our emotions, with parts of our-self that we have forgotten or rejected and we tend to, nurture, and attend to. Just as we would a fertile soil. We make time and space for our self. We learn to observe, to notice, to come back to, to come close to. Again and again. And one day, we catch a glimpse of our-self showing empathy and tenderness to the parts we once detested or abandoned. And as such, we grow a particular tenderness and empathy towards others, recognizing that we all struggle, as part of the collective human-ness. We connect to our self and to the larger world.
There is beauty in this work of re-claiming our life, beautifully reflected in Mary Oliver poem’s “The Journey”:

“One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!” each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.”

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